Title-Page & Title

A title page, either identifying the text or giving a title for a group of texts, can either be a separate folio or written on the recto side of the first folio. A title folio can be inside or outside the covers.

Title pages in Tamil manuscripts

Title-page folios from manuscripts of Edouard Ariel

Edouard Ariel (1818-1854), who was a colonial administrator in Pondicherry1, bequested by will his collection of manuscripts to the Société Asiatique in Paris. This collection was transferred in 1866 to the Bibliothèque Nationale (today BnF).

Most of these manuscripts contain a title-page folio indicating the contents of the bundles. These were written by the same hand, seemingly at the request of Ariel, and were added to the bundles. A shelf-mark was indicated in black ink. Today the title-page folios are found either on the front wood-cover or right after it. Some of these title-page folios are by another hand than the one most often met with. This seems to be the case for the bundles acquired by Ariel, which originally had already a title-page folio.

Below are some examples of title-page folios of manuscripts in Tamil language from the Ariel collection. For an example from a Sanskrit manuscript in Grantha see BnF Sanscrit 614 below2.

BnF Indien 1. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 2. Courtesy of BnF3

BnF Indien 3. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 4. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 5. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 6. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 95. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 96. Courtesy of BnF

Title-page folios from manuscripts of Philippe Etienne Ducler

Philippe Etienne Ducler (1778-1840), colonial French administrator of Karaikal4, hired as a copyist a jailed learned Hindu, most probably a Brahmin5. His collection of manuscripts was acquired in 1833 by the Bibliothèque Nationale (today BnF). Many of them contain title-page folios. The title is often given in Roman transcription and with an approximate translation or explanation of the original Tamil title in French.

BnF Indien 239. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 295. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 299. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 333. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 386. Courtesy of BnF

BnF Indien 412. Courtesy of BnF

Title pages in Sanskrit manuscripts

BnF Sanscrit 614. Amarapadavivṛti

Grantha. Title folio on the front wood cover, reads liṃgābhaṭṭīyyaṃ or liṃgābhaṭṭīyamṃ.

BnF Sanscrit 614, title folio

BnF Sanscrit 614, title folio. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Sanscrit 1146. Brahmasūtra

Nandināgarī. Guard folios used as covers. Recto of initial guard folio used as title page.

BnF Sanscrit 1146, title folio, recto

BnF Sanscrit 1146, title folio, recto. Courtesy of the BnF.

Title in the center reads sūtrabhāṣya, although the manuscript does not contain a commentary. Invocation on the left and right reads hayagrīvāya namaḥ.

 

BnF Sanscrit 805. Prāyaścittatattva

Bengali. Covers made from multiple leaves stitched together. Title on the verso of the front cover.

BnF Sanscrit 805, front cover, verso

BnF Sanscrit 805, front cover, verso. Courtesy of the BnF.

 

BnF Sanscrit 1145. Pāṇinīyaśikṣā

Devanāgarī. Sanskrit title page with ornamental horizontal rule.

Sanskrit title page, MS Sanscrit 1145

BnF Sanscrit 1145, Sanskrit title page. Courtesy of the BnF.

English title page.

Sanscrit 1145, English title page

BnF Sanscrit 1145, English title page. Courtesy of the BnF.

See “A glimpse of Umraosingh Sher-Gil in Sanscrit 1145.”

 

BnF Sanscrit 1229. Bālacikitsā

Telugu. Collection of four medical texts. Title page, which seems to refer to the collection, reads bālacikitsā vararucīyaṃ.

BnF Sanscrit 1229, title page.

BnF Sanscrit 1229, title page. Courtesy of the BnF.

 

BnF Sanscrit 1409. Mitākṣarā

Manuscript in Devanāgarī. Title page in English, Bengali, Devanāgarī, and Perso-Arabic.

BnF Sanscrit 1409, title page.

BnF Sanscrit 1409, title page. Courtesy of the BnF.

 

BnF Sanscrit 785. Kālamādhava

Manuscript in Devanāgarī. Title page in Devanāgarī and Perso-Arabic.

BnF Sanscrit 785, Sanskrit title page

BnF Sanscrit 785, Sanskrit title page. Courtesy of the BnF.

 

  1. See https://data.bnf.fr/fr/14351314/edouard_ariel []
  2. Although the provenance of this manuscript is unknown, its title-page folio seems to indicate that it is the sole Sanskrit manuscript from Ariel transferred to the BnF in 1866, according to the “Registre B” of the manuscript department. See item 1192 []
  3. Provenance unknown in Cabaton’s catalogue, but possibly a manuscript from the Ariel collection []
  4. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karaikal []
  5. See Eyriès et Burnouf, Rapport fait au Conseil, dans la séance du 2 juillet 1832, sur les collections de manuscrits et de dessins rapportées de l’Inde par M. Ducler, administrateur de Carical, membre de la Société asiatiqueJournal asiatique 10 (1832), p. 84‑87). []
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