A fragile and rare two-paged document written in Maori, the language spoken by most of the population of the Cook Islands at that time, called the Proclamation (E Tutatua Akakite), signed by the Earl of Onslow, on 4th April, 1891, on behalf of the Queen of Great Britain & Ireland, placing a protectorate over the Cook Islands. This document marks the beginning of a relationship, which continues today with the Queen as the Head of State of the Cook Islands through the Governor General of New Zealand and the Cook Islands inheriting a Westminster parliamentary system.
The DOUBLE STELLAR HEMISPHERE (hereinafter referred to as the Map) was printed in the 7th year of Chong Zhen Emperor of the Ming dynasty (1634), xylographically printed in eight vertical sections of fine Chinese native paper, well mounted with blue palace silk for screen hanging. Each section is 171,5 cm high and 56,5 cm wide, and when the eight sections are put together side by side, the whole Map is approximatley 200cm ×452cm, which includes the mounting margin. The Map is constituted of 20 colorful pictures ( 16 star charts and 4 pictures of astronomical instruments) and 2 legends.
In the mid 13th century, Genghis Khan’s empire expanded its influence from Korea to China, and through Central Asia to Russia and Eastern Europe. The Yuan Dynasty was established when China fell under Mongol rule in 1279. Tibet was made one of the administrative regions under the patronage and military protection of Mongol Emperor Kublai Khan.
The records in this collection comprise 22 invaluable original documents, including imperial edicts issued by the Yuan Emperors, religious edicts issued by the Imperial Preceptors and orders from Tibetan political rulers written in the Tibetan language and the rare Phags-pa script, a set of phonetic symbols invented by Phags-pa Lama. Phagspa script was used as a unified national script for writing the disparate languages including Mongolian, Chinese, Tibetan, Uighur, Turkic, etc. of different ethnic groups within the Yuen Empire. Its use was discontinued after the fall of the Yuan Dynasty in 1368.
These records possess unique historical value in illustrating the political system, economic situation, land grants and land use, culture and religion of Tibet. They offer significant information and evidence about the special status and power of the Tibetan monasteries, the different sects, the high-ranking lamas and their relations with and religious influence on the Mongol Empire. The records also testify that under Mongol sovereignty, the Mongol rulers were highly tolerant of the religion, political system and culture of Tibet, which brought about relative stability and development with lasting impact on Tibet today. The four Imperial Edicts in the collection are the only surviving official records written in Phags-pa script. Their intrinsic value is undeniable.
Some 170,000 items of personal correspondence tracing the fortunes of Chinese emigrants to South East Asia, Oceania and America in the 19th and 20th centuries.
Records, correspondence, training materials and books documenting the development of Catholicism in the Far East, and influences on culture, economics and education in China and Europe.
Huang Di Nei Jing (《黄帝内经》Yellow Emperor’s Inner Canon) is the earliest and most important written work of Traditional Chinese Medicine. It was compiled over 2,200 years ago during the Warring States period (475-221 BC) and is regarded as the fundamental and most representative medical text. The version nominated for inscription in the Memory of the World Register was printed and published by Hu’s Gulin Sanctum in 1339 using the woodblock-printing technique. It is the earliest and the best-preserved version of its kind now extant
Traditional Chinese Medicine uses a great number of herbs and other natural products with medicinal properties. Identification of these, how they should be used and what diseases they could be used to treat began several thousand years ago. Over time, many books were written on them, but a truly encyclopedic catalogue was needed to put this pharmacopoeia onto a firm basis. Doing this was the lifework of Li Shi-zhen. He started working on it at the age of 31 and completed the task 27 years later in 1578.
The encyclopedia thus produced is called the Ben Cao Gang Mu. It identified 1,892 medicinal drugs and gave 11,096 prescriptions using them. For each drug a full description of its use with observation notes as to its effects is given, and misconceptions as to the drug given by earlier authors are amended. An initial two volumes offer an overview of medical theory. The Ben Cao Gang Mu has been, ever since its first publication, an essential text for all traditional Chinese medical practitioners, and similarly for those in Japan, Korea and Vietnam.
This medical encyclopedia was the first of its kind in the world. It represents a critically important stage in the scientific exploration of medical drugs and its author, Li Shi-zhen, is a figure of immense importance as an early scientist. The work is still regularly printed today. The oldest surviving copy of Ben Cao Gang Mu comprises 54 woodblock printed volumes, including two volumes of 1,109 illustrations, was printed in 1593.
The recordings of the Reamker epic by Takrut, a famous 1960s storyteller, are the earliest known audio documents of an oral Khmer tradition. The recordings capture this ancient story in its full integrity. The ancient art of storytelling was nearly extinguished during the Khmer Rouge period in the 1970s; remarkably, the recordings survived that era thanks to the fact that they were taken to France by scholars Alain Daniel and Jaques Bunnet for their research and analysis, and Takrut’s rendition of the epic is accepted as the authoritative one as the best surviving exemplar of the art.
Deriving from the Indian Ramayana, which arrived in Cambodia around the 2nd century AD, the Reamker evolved into one of the principal elements of Khmer culture which, at the height of the Angkor empire (from the 9th to the 13th century AD) covered most of mainland South East Asia. It is considered to be a fundamental epic of the Khmer people, embodying their memory, perception of the world and their culture. It is widely reflected in Khmer art forms including theatre, literature and dance from ancient times until today. For centuries, oral tradition was the primary means of transmitting knowledge, values and ideas.
The documents as inscribed were restored and digitized by the Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center in 2011 , with the support of Cambodian National Commission for UNESCO, UNESCO Office in Phnom Penh and guidance from Professor Alain Daniel. They consist of a digitised master file, a 10-hour reconstruction assembled from incomplete analogue audio tape sources which are now degraded and no longer accessible. The digital file is therefore considered the authoritative preservation copy.
The collection documents the life and work of Francis Edgar Williams (1893–1943) who served as a government anthropologist in the then Australian Territory of Papua from 1922 until his death. The collection of some 2,000 glass plate and celluloid negatives and prints is dispersed among three custodians.
Its significance lies in its depiction of Australia’s role in administering Papua at the time, and in its capturing of the experience of “first contact” with a culture that was scarcely known to the Western world. The photographs reveal the customs, behaviours and lives of the Papuan subjects, covering 18 different ethnographic locations over a time span of nearly 20 years.
They also tell the larger story of a conservative and paternalistic colonial milieu, a world now vanished along with much of the traditional lifestyles of Papuan peoples. For countless generations, communal life had revolved serenely around fishing, gardening and hunting;
now contact with the wider world would bring immense changes. Williams had a strong respect for the role of traditional customary life in ensuring the well-being of the Papuan people. He felt very at ease with his subjects, as they did with him, to which some of his candid shots testify.
The South Sea Islander records are the original, official documents created under the legal framework that prescribed the operation of the indentured labour system in Queensland. The term South Sea Islander refers to the people from the Western Pacific brought to Queensland as inexpensive labour to work primarily in the sugar industry but also in the pastoral, pearling and marine industries. Over 50,000 South Sea Islanders employed under more than 62,000 contracts came to Queensland from eighty Pacific islands, but primarily the New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and the Solomon Islands.
The records include lists of the labourers and documentation of recruitment, transportation, arrival in Queensland, employment and deportation or exemption from deportation. They show that the practice of engaging indentured labour from the South Sea Islands had
an immediate and lasting impact on the growth and development of Queensland and also provide a tangible connection between this development and the impact on the Islands of the removal of the labour. The collection also provides an important source of information for the descendants of the labourers as well as for researchers.
Through necessity Pidgin English evolved as a means of communication in work environments and as a principal form of inter-group communication in settlements. Pidgin English was taken back to the Pacific Islands and is now the official language of Vanuatu. The records cover a period of extensive labour migration in the Asia-Pacific region and reflect the underpinning philosophies and priorities prevalent at the time. They provide for an understanding of the impact of 19th century regional migration and its impact on social, economic and cultural ties today.