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    Jan 6

    Written by: Michael Dalby 1/6/2010 12:10 PM 

    Bhagavad-GitaSeveral Special Collections items recently cataloged by members of the Cleveland Public Library Catalog Department include materials of unique format and content.  Featured are a miniature version of the Bhagavad-Gita, which is revered as a sacred scripture of Hinduism.  This illuminated manuscript includes ten full pages of illustrations and is written in Sanskrit (Devanagari); and the [Queen Esther scroll], which is a complete 30-page manuscript with color ornamentation on sheepskin in a scroll form within a cracked olive wood cylinder.  It is attributed to Elijah Ben Aaron, from the Persian city of Shushan (Susa), and is dated to approximately 1824.  The scroll is decorated with columns, filagree, and floral designs and at the center includes the drawing of a fair-haired figure. Book of Esther The Book of Esther tells the story of the Queen of Persia and wife of Assuerus, who is identified with Xerxes (485-465 B.C.) and details her role in saving the Jews from massacre.  Her story is read during the festival of Purim.  Also uncovered was an 18th century version of the Life of the Buddha from Cambodia written in Khmer.  This manuscript on paper, is made up of leaves in accordion folds, five lines to the page, with 18 miniatures in color heightened with gold. Life of the Buddha The size of the paintings is approximately 29 x 20 cm. The manuscript itself is an oblong folio with covers of lacquered boards.  According to legend, the historical Buddha lived from 563 to 483 B.C.  His life is divided into "Eight Great Events". These are, in order in the Buddha's life: his birth, his defeat over Mara and consequent enlightenment, his first sermon at Sarnath, the miracles he performed at Shravasti, his descent from the Heaven of the Thirty-three Gods (Buddha's Descent from the Trayastrimsha Heaven, his taming of a wild elephant, the monkey's gift of honey, and his death.


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