Mural, Wat Cedi Luang Worawihan

© 2015 David Wharton, Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts (CC BY-NC 4.0).

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Digital Library of Northern Thai Manuscripts

Northern Thailand possesses distinct cultural and literary traditions, which have made an essential contribution to the development of related cultures throughout the region, but its rich manuscript collections have remained severely under-researched due to a lack of accessibility, despite an abundance of primary sources. In addition to local texts from the Theravada Buddhist tradition, there is a wealth of indigenous literature and historical writings, as well as works pertaining to social relations, customary law, astrology, magic, mythology and rituals, grammar and lexicography, as well as poetry and epic stories, folk tales and romances. A large number are extra-canonical works consisting of narrative literature, especially Jataka stories, many of which are thought to originate from local Southeast Asian traditions. Texts are found in the Northern Thai (Lan Na), Tai Khuen, Tai Lue, Lao, Shan, Burmese, and Pali languages, and are written in a variety of scripts.

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