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The Jarring Collection

Unique manuscripts from Eastern Turkestan
The Jarring Collection consists of 560 manuscripts from Eastern Turkestan, today's Chinese province of Xinjiang. The books date from the 16th to the 20th centuries. The collection not only mirrors Eastern Turkestan society and culture with its classic and folk literature, Islamic religious manuscripts, judicial and historic documents, manuals of medicine, trades and mysticism etc., but also contains documents from the Mission Covenant Church of Sweden in Eastern Turkestan.

The manuscripts were donated to the library by the Swedish diplomat and philologist Dr. Gunnar Jarring (1907-2002), who also supplied a summary catalogue of the collection in English. His handwritten catalogue has now been digitised as well as some of the unique manuscripts.

About the collection

It is an extremely rich collection of Eastern Turkestan manuscripts, the third largest in the world. The manuscripts come from the periphery of the Islamic world in Central Asia, nowadays the Chinese province of Xinjiang, from cities like Kashghar and Yarkand, situated along the old Silk Road. The Jarring Collection consists of 560 manuscripts. Many are miscellanies; there are about 1100 titles in all. The collection includes everything from single leafs and long rolls to thick bound volumes. The manuscripts date from the 16th to the 20th century. Many are written on local paper from Khotan. Around 75 % are in Uighur or Eastern Turki, 15 % in Arabic and 10 % in Persian. There are also a few Mongolian, Tibetan, Urdu and Uzbek manuscripts.

The last 150 years of wars, revolutions and modernizations have been hard on the written cultural heritage of Eastern Turkestan. Thanks to Jarring and the Swedish missionaries a great part has been saved in Lund.

The collection contains a representative selection of many genres. Besides reflecting the Eastern Turkestan society and culture with classic and folk literature, Islamic religious manuscripts, judicial and historic documents, manuals of medicine, trades and mysticism etc., the collection also includes many items from the activities of the Swedish Mission in Eastern Turkestan.

Literature

Törnvall, Gunilla, From Khotan and Kashghar (pdf)

 

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