Sanskrit Manuscripts and Photographs of Sanskrit Manuscripts in Giuseppe Tucci’s Collection
During his scientific expeditions to India, Nepal, Tibet and Pakistan in the nineteen thirties, forties and fifties, Giuseppe Tucci (1894-1984) had the opportunity of photographing, and in many cases of having someone copy, several important Buddhist works. Subsequently, most of the manuscripts that he photographed or copied entered the collections in Nepalese, Chinese and Pakistani libraries, but others were lost. At present Tucci’s reproductions of some of these manuscripts are the only documentation at our disposal.
The study and cataloguing of the photographs and manuscripts now held in Rome in the Library of the Istituto Italiano per l’Africa e l’Oriente (IsIAO) was begun in 1997 (officially on 12th June 1998) by Claudio Cicuzza and myself. The first results of our work have been published as an appendix to the first version of this paper published in Warsaw in 2000. At that time the scanning of the negatives was still underway, so our list was highly provisional, based mainly on the short titles written on the envelopes of the negatives and on the photographs already printed.
During the last few years, not only it has been possible to correct this list here and there, sometimes with the help of other scholars, as we shall see below, but also to find further manuscripts and photographs of Sanskrit manuscripts that belonged to the Italian scholar –in the IsIAO Library, in the Museo Nazionale d’Arte Orientale ‘Giuseppe Tucci’ (MNAOr) and in a small but important private collection near Rome–and eventually to gather more information regarding the history of Tucci’s expeditions and of the formation of his collection. (Sferra, introduction, 15)
1. Certainly Tucci did not photograph the MSS personally, for he declares his complete unfamiliarity with any kind of device, including the camera (“[F]ra me e quale che sia macchina, anche la macchina fotografica, resta un’assoluta incapacità di intesa”, 1996b: 17). Among his companions on the expeditions there was always a person responsible for the photographic