University of Arizona

                                             Special Collections will be closed December 20, 2023 through January 1, 2024 in observance of the University Holiday break.

Spiritual Literacy Month

Spiritual Literacy Month

December is Spiritual Literacy Month! This event was founded by authors Frederic and Mary Brussat in 1996 to promote respect for the world's religions and spiritual traditions by encouraging people to read sacred texts from all religions.

Special Collections houses a myriad of spiritual texts, including Palm-Leaf Books (MS 140). This collection contains two manuscripts from South or Southeast Asia dating from the 17th century. These works are written in Sanskrit and are made from Talipat palm leaves which are bound between two narrow wooden boards. The exteriors of each of the boards are hand painted or stenciled with floral designs. The nature of the manuscripts are undetermined but are believed to be Hindu or Buddhist.

Also housed within Special Collections is a Thai Religious Manuscript (MS 143). This manuscript was written at the Pumpuang Buddhist Monastery in Thailand in 1939. The form is of a parabaik, consisting of heavy paper folded like an accordion. The work consists of 14 panels of hand painted Buddhist imagery, which are flanked by Thai script.

Special Collections also hosts on online exhibit highlighting Facsimiles of Illuminated Manuscripts housed in Special Collections. The facsimiles featured within the online exhibit represent manuscripts dating from around the 5th century until the Protestant Reformation of 1517. The exhibit highlights a myriad of sacred texts from a number of religions, including the Papyrus Ani: The Book of the Dead, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and The Book of Kells.

Page from Thai Religious Manuscript, 1939