Sonderforschungsbereich 950

Manuscript Cultures in Asia, Africa and Europe

manuscript of the month

Manuscript Identification Service
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more about? Visit us and ask our experts at the
Manuscript Identification Service.


CSMC temporarily closed, all attendance events cancelled until the end of October

Due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) situation, the CSMC will close its doors and shift to home office. We will update about any upcoming events as soon as further information becomes available. All public events until the end of October have been cancelled or postponed.

5 & 6 November 2020: Maps and Colours Workshop Programme and Registration Link Online

The programme of the workshop ‘Maps and Colours’, scheduled for 5 & 6 November 2020 via video, has been published and can be accessed here. Additionally, you can now sign up for one or both sessions for free via this link.

New book publication

The volume Liturgical Books and Music Manuscripts with Polyphonic Settings of the Mass in Medieval Europe, edited by Prof. Dr. Oliver Huck and Dr. Andreas Janke, has been published in the Georg Olms Verlag. The volume presents a total of eight contributions originating from the 2017 international workshop of the same name. Copies are available at

Lectures series Maps & Colours postponed to the winter semester

The lecture series Maps & Colours has been postponed to to the winter semester 2020/21 due to the current situation. Details and a new programme will be available soon.

Follow the CSMC on Twitter

To keep you updated on current news and events, we have started an official Twitter account with the handle @CSMC_Hamburg. Should you have material that you would like to see shared through this channel, please get in touch with Kristen Rau at

Announcement: Interim Professorship

We are happy to announce that Dr Andreas Janke, PI at the UWA cluster, starts his interim professorship at the Institute of Historic Musicology today. Dr Janke will maintain a close cooperation with the cluster during this period.

Grand Opening of the Cluster of Excellence ‘Understanding Written Artefacts’ (UWA) on 27 March cancelled

Due to the Corona virus and at the instruction of the President of Universität Hamburg, we unfortunately must cancel the Grand Opening of the EXC ‘Understanding Written Artefacts’, 27 March 2020. We apologise for any inconveniences.

Job vacancies at the Cluster of Excellence

Universität Hamburg invites applications for new research associate positions for the Cluster of Excellence “Understanding Written Artefacts”.
Further information and calls for applications

The Power of Writing – The Manuscript Culture of the Toba-Batak from North Sumatra
19 March – 17 May 2020
MARKK Museum am Rothenbaum

Opening: 18 March 2020, 6 pm

An exhibition focussing on the writing culture of the Toba-Batak has been jointly curated by the Museum am Rothenbaum – Kunst und Kulturen der Welt (MARKK) and the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures (CSMC). Remarkable is the wide range of manuscripts and other written artefacts the Batak have produced. The exhibits include manuscripts made of tree bark, bone and bamboo as well as handwritten objects primarily serving a magical and/or medicinal purpose. During his stays on the island of Sumatra, Johannes Winkler, a German doctor and missionary, befriended a datu (priest) in the early 20th century and collected most of the artefacts on display.

New Petra Kappert Fellow

Dr. Iris Iran Farkhondeh obtained her PhD in Indology from the University Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 in 2017. She has spent six months as a Gonda Fellow in Leiden to work on her critical edition of an 11th century Sanskrit satire about courtesans, namely the Samayamātṛkā written by the Kashmirian author Kṣemendra. She had translated this satire into French as part of her dissertation on The representation of female characters in the Sanskrit literature of Kashmir, 8th-12th centuries.
Her new research project is focused on the diachronic study of Sanskrit manuscripts written in Kashmir in the Śāradā script. The first step of her project consists in the description of dated Śāradā manuscripts in a database that she plans to share online. Her database could become collaborative in a later stage. Her study of the Kashmirian manuscript culture will contribute to date undated manuscripts. The workshop on Śāradā manuscripts that she is organising will take place in Hamburg on the 6th and 7th of March 2020. She will stay at the CSMC until the end of April 2020.

Two new volumes of the series Studies in Manuscript Cultures (SMC)

In December 2019 two new volumes were published in CSMC’s series Studies in Manuscript Cultures: Dividing Texts by Bidur Bhattarai and The Emergence of Multiple-Text Manuscripts, edited by Alessandro Bausi, Michael Friedrich and Marilena Maniaci.
The vast amount of manuscripts produced in the Indian sub-continent is astounding, revealing a massive enterprise spanning out over a huge geographical space and an immense period of time. Focusing on the visual organisation of texts in Nepalese and Northern Indian manuscripts largely from 800 to 1300 CE, Bhattarai examines in Dividing Texts: Conventions of Visual Text-Organisation in Nepalese and North Indian Manuscripts (SMC 10) the scribal practices, ways of manuscript production, and some aspects of their implementation in ritual contexts across the varying regions of India and Nepal.
The universal practice of selecting and excerpting, summarizing and canonizing, arranging and organizing texts and visual signs, either in carefully dedicated types of manuscripts or not, is common to all manuscript cultures. Determined by intellectual or practical needs, this process is never neutral in itself. The resulting proximity and juxtaposition of previously distant contents challenge previous knowledge and trigger further developments. With a vast selection of highly representative case studies – from China, India, Islamic Asia and Spain to Ethiopian cultures, from Ancient Christian to Coptic and Medieval European domains – the  volume The Emergence of Multiple-Text Manuscripts (SMC 17) deals with manuscripts planned or growing and resulting in time to comprise ‘more than one’.
Both volumes are open access publications.

New Petra Kappert Fellow

Dr. David Durand-Guédy is an independent researcher, based in Tehran. He specialises in the history of medieval Iran, especially the pre-Mongol period. He will be working on two enshā’ manuscripts (“compilation of letters”) produced in 13th-century Iran. Together with Jürgen Paul he will co-organise a workshop dedicated to written artefacts produced for the writer’s own use (By one’s own hand – for one’s own use. Anthologies and Multiple Text Manuscripts, to be held 20-21 February 2020). He will stay at the CSMC until March 2020.


25 January 2022 6pm | Lecture Series
Textual criticism and editorial technique of multilingual manuscript traditions
Dr Giovanni Ciotti (Hamburg)
Palaeographical and linguistic challenges in editing Late Tamil Manipravalam versions of Sanskrit texts
video conference

10 February 2022 6pm | Lecture
Professor Dr Oskar von Hinüber
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

14 February 2022 | Online Seminar
Permanent Seminar on Forms of manuscripts and their description: rolled up manuscripts
video conference

18-19 March 2022 | Workshop
Bon Manuscripts
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

21 March 2022 | Online Seminar
Permanent Seminar on Forms of manuscripts and their description: rolled up manuscripts
video conference

29 April 2022 | Workshop
A Tale of Searching, Finding and Keeping Archives in the Graeco-Roman World
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001

19 May 2022 | Keynote lecture
video conference

20 - 21 May 2022 | Workshop
video conference

16 June 2022 | Keynote lecture
CSMC, Warburgstraße 26, room 0001