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Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection

Access to the Naxi collection will be closed indefinitely to researchers beginning July 3, 2013. This action is necessary in order to undertake needed conservation of this rare, fragile collection. We apologize for this inconvenience; however the long term preservation of the Library’s Naxi materials is of paramount importance.


rock naxi translation sample page 1The Asian Division is pleased to announce that Selections from the Naxi Manuscript Collection is available as of June 02, 2004 at:


The Naxi Project began in 1998 with a three years grant (1998-2001) from the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation.

The Naxi collection contains documents that detailed the unique cosmology of the Naxi people of the Yunnan Province in Southwest China. They were written by Naxi shamanistic priests in what is the only living pictographic language in the world. These manuscripts illustrate a range of Naxi myths and legends including the story of the creation of the world, sacrifice to the Serpent King and other principle gods, accounts of Naxi warriors and other people of high social standing ascending to the realm of deities, and love-suicide stories. Also available in this online collection is the annotated catalog of the entire Library's Naxi manuscript collection, a 39-½ foot scroll used in funerary ceremonies, and translations by Joseph Rock of two of the manuscripts.

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  June 28, 2017
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