Shan Buddhist likʻ̐ lūṅʻ manuscripts in UK and SE Asian collections


About us

The Collections

Shan lik luṅ, the high literature of Shan Buddhist culture, is a little studied genre. It is hoped that this catalogue will stimulate interest and access to lik luṅ works held in the UK and SE Asia. It provides access to a searchable database of otherwise uncatalogued collections of Shan texts from the University of Oxford's Bodleian Library, the Cambridge University Library, SOAS University of London, and from temple libraries in Thailand and Burma.

Senmai is a free online catalogue for manuscript and archival descriptions. It is not a digital library but links will be added when digital copies are made available. Printed books in the Shan language, and about region and culture, can be found in main library catalogues of the member institutions.

History & Methodology

The records for temples in Thailand and Burma were collected by the Shan Buddhism at the Borderland Project (2009-10) which was funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council. This project recorded data on lik luṅ mss held at four Shan temples in Maehongson – Wat Pang Mu, Wat Jong Klang, Wat Tiyasathan, Wat Pha Nuan – and from a number of sites around Lashio in Northern Myanmar. Records were created by local zare by hand. These were subsequently scanned or photographed in Thailand and the data was entered in the UK from these digital records. A sample is viewable here: part 1 and part 2.

The records for the lik luṅ in the Scott Collection in the Cambridge University Library were entered from the manuscript catalogue created by Sao Saimong in 1982-3. The pages of these records were scanned by CUL and the data entered from these digital records. A sample is viewable here.

Records for the Shan mss held by the Bodleian Library Oxford, were entered into the database directly. These included lik luṅ and several other genre of Shan ms.

All records were entered in to the database employing a web-base data entry form developed for the Senmai project. A screen shot of this is viewable here. Records were subsequently translated to TEI/XML. A user interface was modelled on one originally developed for Fihrist in 2015, and subsequently updated to the current platform based on open source technologies in April 2018.

Shan script is transliterated employing the Library of Congress scheme which was finalised and published part way through the Senmai project. The scheme can be downloaded from here. Although this scheme is not intuitively readable for native speakers, it was selected on the assumption that it will become the standard, and because it is designed to be fully reversible, i.e. mechanically transposable into and out of Shan script.

Personal names and text titles have been transcribed diplomatically but are co-ordinated with authority files.

Senmai was funded by the Dhammakaya International Society of the United Kingdom as part of the Revealing Hidden Collections Project.


All the TEI files are available to download from our repository on GitHub.