208 Manuscripts From The Konat Collection In Pampakuda, India, Are Now Available In Reading Room

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Full-page decoration with interlace cross, calligraphy, and floral motifs, from APSTCH KONA 01 00230

208 manuscripts from the Konat Collection in Pampakuda, India, are now available in Reading Room

Posted: 2022-11-09

Cataloging of the Syriac manuscripts from the APSTCH KONA collection is now complete. This important collection of over two hundred manuscripts belongs to the Konat (Konattu) family in Pampakuda, India. Many of the manuscripts in the collection were copied by or for members of the Konat family, especially Mattai (Mathen) Konat. Several manuscripts in the collection were brought from the middle east, but most of them were produced in India. As such, this collection provides valuable insight into the scribal culture of Christian communities in India.

Most of the manuscripts in this collection are written in the West Syriac (Serto) script that is commonly associated with the Syriac Orthodox tradition, but a number of the manuscripts, especially those from the 18th century, are written in the East Syriac script typically associated with the Church of the East. In this regard, even the handwriting of the manuscripts reflects the shifting ecclesiastical influences of some Christian communities in India along with the liturgical diversity of these communities. Likewise, the number of manuscripts containing grammatical works and dictionaries in Syriac, Malayalam, and Malayalam Garshuni attests to the linguistic diversity of Indian Christians. Of the whole collection, the majority of these manuscripts are liturgical in content, and most were produced in the 18th or 19th centuries, but several manuscripts are even older. For example, APSTCH KONA 00033 is an invaluable witness to the Ktābā d-húdāye of Bar Hebraeus copied in the year 1290 CE. Other manuscripts, such as APSTCH KONA 00316, 00317, and 00318, contain important letters from leaders of the Indian churches, providing important primary sources for the modern history of Christianity in India. Taken as a whole, the APSTCH KONA collection is an unrivaled treasure trove of manuscripts, particularly for anyone interested in the history and liturgy of the Indian churches that were influenced by the Syriac Orthodox Church of Antioch.

Image caption: Full-page decoration with interlace cross, calligraphy, and floral motifs, from APSTCH KONA 01 00230

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