I just read about tens of thousands of texts in Lanna, an old language and script of Northern Thailand which is almost about to disappear, that are stored in monasteries in Northern Thailand. They are written on palm leafs, but also on other materials. Many of them are not well cared for and are damaged by humidity, rain, or termites, and there are not many people who are still able to read them.
Now they are being digitised, among others with the help of German scholars, and made available online under a Creative Commons license.
See this article in German:
I’m wondering if anyone on the forum here would be able to read these texts, and if we could add them to SuttaCentral? Ayyas @sujato and @Vimala?
So far as I’m aware, all the Lanna manuscripts that we would be interested in are in fact in Pali. That is, they are not translations. I’m not 100% sure of this, though, as many manuscripts are listed as containing both Pali and Lanna (or other languages.) But I suspect these are either short excerpts for chanting, or later texts, or perhaps just Pali texts with an intro or colophon in Lanna/Thai. But I may well be wrong. Of course, there are many later texts in local languages, but these are not within SC’s scope.
The most interesting thing for us would be digitized text. Unfortunately I can’t see any on the website. It’s just images.
We can make use of images in principle, but they are not much use unless we can coordinate them with our texts. To do this, we need comprehensive sets of reference data, which, once again, I don’t think is supplied.
So the site as of now is for preserving and reading the manuscripts. The script itself is not hard; it’s just a local form of Thai, and anyone who reads Thai and knows Pali could learn it quickly.
Note that, as in Sri Lanka and Burma, the vast majority of manuscripts stem from the 19th century, and few are dated much earlier than that.
Oohh… I was so excited when seeing this article and thought I had found something new. But obviously that was wrong. Too bad!