Illustrations of the Literature and Religion of the Buddhists - Brian Houghton Hodgson 1841 - Self-published – Bound at the Baptist Mission Press, Serampore - First Edition in Book Form Hodgson’s rare and important work – the first collected edition of papers on the literature and religion of Buddhism – fifteen in total, originally published in Transactions and Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal and London, and which for the first time revealed to the West the Sanskrit literature of northern, or Mahayana, Buddhism, which had been preserved in Nepal. For the collection Hodgson adds a preface and many footnotes.

Features two folding lithographed alphabet tables. Interestingly, Hodgson published this book in Serampore, at the time a Danish colony, it would have been printed at the former Serampore Mission Press, set up by the Baptist missionary William Carey, which closed in 1837 merging with the Baptist Mission Press, where this copy was also bound (see small bookplate to front pastedown).

Hodgson later reprinted 12 of the 15 papers as part one of
Essays on the Languages, Literature and Religion of Nepal and Tibet (1874), the second part being on the tribes and geography of Nepal and Tibet, and in 1880 he published Miscellaneous Essays Relating to Indian Subjects (2 volumes, 1880), containing his papers on Indian languages and ethnology.
  Brian Houghton Hodgson (1801-1894) was a pioneering naturalist and ethnologist working in India and Nepal, where he was a British civil servant. He arrived in Calcutta in 1818, and while observing local institutions and commerce, also studied Sanskrit, Nepali (a language closely related to Bengali or Hindi) and Newari, the Tibetan-Burman tongue of the Kathmandu Valley’s indigenous inhabitants. He published more than 200 articles in journals and newspapers, writing extensively on Nepal and the Himalayas, and became an avid collector of Sanskrit manuscripts and Tibetan printed volumes, of which he donated around 400 of these to various libraries in Britain, France, and Germany, and to the Asiatic Society in Calcutta. Hodgson’s contributions to Nepalese studies were the first significant effort by anyone of his stature, and still cited today.

We note only three copies at auction, Sotheby’s 1972 , and a cloth copy with paper label to spine at Bonhams in 2007.

Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, web. Hunter, Life of Brian Houghton Hodgson 1896. Adhikari, ‘Language, Literature, and Religion of Nepal’ New Spotlight 2013. Social Anthropology Department Cambridge, web catalogue.
pp. [2] iii [3] 220.
  Bound by the Baptist Mission Press in contemporary half calf over marbled boards, smooth spine with burgundy morocco label titled in gilt.   Condition: Very good, moderate wear to boards, evidence or worming at hinges and spine ends, dampstain to lower inner corners of endpapers, mild toning to pages, first folding table partially separated at fold.   Ref: 107018   Price: HK$ 16,500