Among the archives: the seal of Ernst Stein

Ursula Sims-Williams Stories from the Collection Leave a Comment

One of the more surprising items in Sir Harold Bailey’s collection at the AIIT is a small sealstone made of a dark bluish green bloodstone, streaked with red specks (as its name suggests!). This was given to Sir Harold by Jeanette Mirsky (1903-1987), author of the biography of the Central Asian explorer and archaeologist Sir Marc Aurel Stein (1862-1943). Perhaps Jeanette Mirsky visited Sir Harold while she was researching her book Sir Aurel Stein, archaeological explorer (Chicago & London, 1977), for in March 1982 he received a belated birthday present, …

Echoes of the past: pre-partition postcards from India

Ursula Sims-Williams Stories from the Collection 3 Comments

A delightful item which we have recently catalogued is a collection of 58 postcards dating from pre-partition India which was given to us by Cyrus Pherozeshah Mehta (1917-2011)[1]. The collection includes mostly black-and-white views from Baluchistan, Benares, Calcutta and the holiday resorts of Simla and Matheran in Maharashtra. The Sir Stuart Hogg Market, Calcutta. Designed by Richard Roskell Bayne, an architect of the East Indian Railway Company, this Victorian Gothic market complex was begun in 1873. It was officially named after one of its greatest advocates, Sir Stuart Hogg, the …

Mixed blessings for those born in the Year of the Rooster

Ursula Sims-Williams Stories from the Collection 2 Comments

The Year of the Rooster begins on 28th January 2017. What better excuse could there be for writing about an early 9th century description of the animal cycle written in the Eastern Iranian language Khotanese. Descriptions of the years of the monkey, cock, dog and pig, the last four years of the 12 year animal cycle. Photo: International Dunhuang Project (British Library Or.11252/1) This document is one of a group of forty one documents presented to the then British Museum in 1930 by Frederick Williamson who was Consul-General for the …

Christmas and New Year Greetings

Ursula Sims-Williams Stories from the Collection 1 Comment

The Ancient India and Iran Trust will be closed for Christmas and New Year from 23 December until 2 January 2017. It will re-open again on Tuesday 3rd January. We wish you all a very happy Christmas and New Year with a reproduction of this Christmas card sent to Sir Harold Bailey in 1946 by the Norwegian Indologist Sten Konow (1867-1948). Konow had worked with the Central Asian explorer Sir Aurel Stein and the Sanskritist Rudolf Hoernle to decipher the newly discovered Central Asian texts in Khotanese, work which Bailey …

Charles Bawden, Mongolia 1958. Reproduced with the kind permission of Richard Bawden

Charles Bawden and his Gift to the Trust

Jo Salisbury Stories from the Collection Leave a Comment

It was with great sadness that the Trust learned of the death of distinguished Mongolian scholar Professor Charles Bawden on the 11th August. Charles Bawden was Professor of Mongolian at SOAS from 1955 to 1984 and his published works on Mongolian literature and history include a Mongolian-English dictionary, published in 1997, which is considered by many to be the most comprehensive ever written. In 1955, he also translated and annotated the Mongol chronicle Altan tobči or ‘Golden Summary’ from old Mongolian script; a 17th century text of the history of …