Category: French

Sascrit 1442.6 Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā. Courtesy of the BnF.

Kathmandu, Calcutta, Paris: the life of a Tantric manuscript

Scholars have long sought to classify people and things based on their geographic origin. In the Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun insisted that climate shapes both the appearance and temperament of different human races; Vātsyāyana imagined an entire geography of desire in his Kāmasūtra. Space, as well as time, seem to be...

BnF Indien 743, Castes et professions de l'Inde. 73r. Courtesy of the BnF.

The ébéniste inconnu of the palm leaf manuscript collection

The grand siècle of the 17th century was — and still is — widely romanticized as a period of history in which art and literature reached their pinnacle in France. French painters, poets, composers, and gardeners from this era were celebrated across Europe and are still remembered today. The art...

Plaque en hommage à Ph. Ed. Foucaux. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Philippe-Édouard Foucaux in the margins

Philippe-Édouard Foucaux had a habit of coming in second place. Although he is described as the “first teacher of Tibetan in the Western world”, the way in which that “first” is qualified belies the fact that he was not the first Westerner to master the Tibetan language. That achievement is...

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