SAALG members are invited to the Royal Asiatic Society (14 Stephenson Way, London NW1 2HD) for an introduction to its collections and a talk on its most recent major acquisition, the Thomas Manning Archive. The afternoon will consist of a presentation in the Society’s lecture theatre, followed by an exhibition of highlights from the Manning Archive, as well as selected treasures from the Society’s South Asian Collections.
The event will run from 2pm – 4pm on Thursday 16 February. If you would like to attend, please email RAS Librarian Ed Weech at firstname.lastname@example.org to confirm your place. Lunch is not provided but tea and coffee will be available on arrival. Attendees are invited to make a contribution of £3 on the day to help cover the costs of the event.
Thomas Manning (1772-1840) was one of Britain’s first scholars of China, and in 1810 became the first British person to visit Lhasa, capital of Tibet, where he met the Dalai Lama. Originally a mathematician, as a young man Thomas Manning conceived a desire to study China and learn what Chinese literature and philosophy could teach European societies, a project to which he dedicated most of his adult life.
Until recently, relatively little was known about the content of Manning’s studies, due both to his aversion to publishing and an absence of primary sources. However, a few years ago his archive was re-discovered, and in 2015 it was acquired by the RAS, with support from the National Heritage Memorial Fund, Arts Council England/Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, Friends of the National Libraries, and private donations. Cataloguing of the archive was recently completed and the collection is available to scholars.
Founded in 1823, the Royal Asiatic Society provides a forum for those who are interested in the languages, cultures and history of Asia to meet and exchange ideas. Its charitable mission is to promote both scholarly study and general interest in Asian histories and cultures, a goal it achieves through public lectures, publications, and through providing free access to its historic collections.