General Aims and Scope

The Henry Ginsburg Fund (HGF) has been established through a generous bequest by the late Henry David Ginsburg (1940-2007). Henry, who was Curator of Thai and Cambodian Collections at the British Library from 1973-2002, was a devoted and pioneering scholar of Thai Buddhist literary and artistic traditions. The HGF is administered by a board established by the Fragile Palm Leaves Foundation, Bangkok (a registered Thai charity).

The Henry Ginsburg Fund aims to encourage the study of Pali, Thai and Southeast Asian manuscript traditions and the related art, art history, and archaeology. It seeks to stimulate the formation of a new generation of scholars, and to facilitate or support projects in the fields of Pali and Thai manuscript traditions and of Thai and Southeast Asian art. The Fund would like especially to nurture the study of illustrated manuscripts, a particular field of Henry Ginsburg’s expertise, especially in relation to their primary inspiration, Pali literature. The scope is flexible and can include sculpture, architecture, and the applied arts.

The Fund plans to initiate a “Visual Archive of Theravadin Tradition” to preserve and make accessible the rich visual traditions of Thailand and Southeast Asia, for example series on the life of the Buddha, Jatakas, or cosmology, whether in the form of manuscript illustrations, mural paintings, or other media. This entails systematic photography of murals in selected temples. Another pilot project will be the digitisation of selected manuscripts, starting with the great classic Milindapañha, in order to encourage the comparative study of important texts from original sources.

The HGF will consider applications to support:

  • Graduate education;
  • Study trips, internships;
  • Research, preservation, digitization projects;
  • Workshops;
  • Publication.

Recipients can be Thai citizens (based within and outside of Thailand) or institutions, other Southeast Asian citizens, and foreign scholars carrying out research in Thailand.

Our guiding principle is flexibility in order to promote the aims of HGF. At the same time, we have to recognize limitations and be able to ensure proper evaluation and monitoring.

For more on the life and work of Henry Ginsburg, see the brochure from the British Museum’s 2010 exhibition (PDF, 3.3MiB):

A Guardian of Thai Treasures: Henry Ginsburg (1940-2007)

A display to mark the 70th anniversary of his birth – 5 November 2010