Pearls of the Orient: Asian Treasures from the Wellcome Library. Nigel Allan.

Pearls of the Orient: Asian Treasures from the Wellcome Library

Serindia Publications. Hardcover. 8.9 x 12.2", 215 pp., over 150 color illustrations, cloth, d.j., London and Chicago, 2003. Item #27263
ISBN: 0906026601

The Wellcome Library in London preserves one of the major collections in Europe of manuscripts, printed books and pictorial material relating to Asia. This is largely due to the enthusiasm and vision of the American-born pharmacist and philanthropist, Sir Henry Wellcome. Although celebrated as a library devoted to medical history and related topics, the Asian Collections document in text and illustration practically every area of human endeavour found among the many peoples and cultures of the East. The Wellcome Trust, an independent research-funding charity originating from Wellcome's will, supports the Library and its work today as an international resource for the history and understanding of the medicine.

Lavishly illustrated, this volume presents for the first time the Librarys collections of manuscripts, printed books and illustrated materials from the Middle East, India, Tibet, China, Japan, Burma and Thailand. They are accompanied by a series of studies by experts from the UK, Germany and Russia, all of whom have worked on the Wellcome Asian Collections over the last 25 years.

Each chapter reflects a different region of Asia, its peoples and culture, in which something of the variety of the Asian Collections preserved in the Wellcome Library can be appreciated. The different languages and their scripts, the various materials used for writing, the multiplicity of cultural and religious backgrounds and their antiquity are exemplified in the Asian Collections. Today they constitute a major resource for study and research of Asia's cultural and social history so beautifully illustrated in this publication.

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