SPL Hand Coloured Rare Book Collection Featuring Norman R Bobins

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The Bhagavata Purana. [Sanskrit Manuscript]

n.p. ca.1840.
n.p. ca.1840.

Small 8vo. pp. 258 leaves; 21 full page miniatures illustrating episodes from the book. Each page with 6 manuscript lines written in black and red with multi-coloured borders. some wording outside the borders. MS signature to first page 'C.F. Gwatkim (?), Madras'. Bound in contemporary ribbon edged silk fold over case. The Bhagavata Purana is one of the greatest texts of Hinduism, and was one of the first to be translated into a European language, and became the introduction of Hindu culture to many colonials in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. It provides the basis for a fully developed teaching of Bhakti, presented as the path of Yoga, or 'union with the divine'. It is likely that attractively produced manuscript copies of this and other Hindu holy texts were produced for the colonial market in the early nineteenth century. This version came from the library of the Lord Raglan at Cefntilla and a small paper label on the rear board reads 'Sanskrit Book from Benares' [Varanesi]. Richard Henry Fitzroy Somerset [1817-84], 2nd Baron Raglan (from 1855), served in the Ceylonese Civil Service in the 1840's, and he possibly visited India during his time there and brought this book back as a souvenir. Coloured plates in order: 1. Horse and carriage. 2. Half god, half fish in a river. 3. God in a river, people and animals sit on the riverbank. A large serpent is held. 4. A god walking over a man lying on the ground. 5. God sitting astride a man, looks to be performing surgery. 6. A royal couple sitting on a table. 7. A pair of gods in combat with each other. 8. A multi-armed god, and two others by a river. 9. A royal about to have his long dark hair cut off. 10. A god with two attendants. 11. A god and his white horse. 12. A god sits with a warrior / king. 13-16. [As above]. 17. A god speaks with a royal. 18. A god speaks with another warrior / king. 19. A musical scene. 20. A man with many arrows in his back, spews white liquid from his mouth. 21. A god sits and talks with a warrior / king. 22. A god touches a white elephant.