WADDELL, Lawrence Austine

WADDELL, Lawrence Austine. Cumbernauld, Dumbartonshire 29.5.1854 — 20.9.1938. British (Scottish) Physician and Tibetan Scholar in India. Son of Rev. Thomas Clement W., a teacher and author, and Jean Chapman. Studied medicine and chemistry at Glasgow University, graduated in 1878 and worked two years as surgeon in Gasgow. In 1880 he came to India, worked 6 years as Professor of Chemistry and Pathology at Calcutta Medical College and 10 years as Assistant Sanitary Commissioner. In 1888-95 Medical Officer in Darjeeling District. He participated in several military expeditions: Burma 1886-87, Chitral 1895, Peking 1900 and Mahsud-Waziri 1901-02. In 1904-05 Chief Medical Officer of the Younghusband expedition to Tibet. Retired as Lieutenant-Colonel. Back in the U.K. he had the nominal chair as Professor of Tibetan at University College in London (1906-08) and then settled down in Scotland. Honorary LL.D. 1895 Glasgow. C.I.E. 1901/02. C.B. 1904/05. Married 1895, one son (died in WW I) and one daughter.

In India Waddell became early interested in Buddhism and archaeology. He started excavations in 1892 at Pāṭaliputra. In Darjeeling he studied local ethnography and, in order to acquaint himself with Lamaism, bought a temple. During the Younghusband expedition he achieved a large collection in Lhasa and divided it between Calcutta, London, Oxford and Cambridge. In his later years he engaged himself in a fanciful “Sumero-Aryan” decipherment of the Indus script and far-reaching hypotheses of ancient history, which in the end even included Anglo-Saxons and Britons. For him every civilization represented ancient Aryan development and influence. Scholars now ignored him, but right-wing politicians appreciated.

Publications: The non-bacillar nature of abrus-poison. 4+76 p. 2 pl. Calcutta 1884; Are Venomous Snakes Antitoxic? 28 p. Calcutta 1889; “Birds of Sikkim”, Gazetteer of Sikkim 1893, 2-70.

Discovery of the exact site of Asoka’s Classic Capital of Pāṭaliputra. 29 p. 4 pl. Calcutta 1892; Report on the Excavations at P. Calcutta 1903; Discovery of the Birthplace of Buddha. 83 p. Calcutta 1896.

Articles in JASB: “Place and river names in the Darjeeling District and Tibet”, 60:1, 1891, 53-78?; “Lamaist rosaries”, 61:1, 1892, 24-33; “The ‘Tsam-chhô-ḍung’ of the Lamas”, 61:1, 1892, 33-42; “The Buddhist pictorial wheel of life”, 61:1, 1892, 133-155; “Description of Lhasa cathedral, tr. from Tibetan”, 64, 1895, 259-283; “A Tibetan Guide-Book to the lost sites of Buddha’s Birth and Death”, 65:1, 1896, 275-279; “Upagupta, the fourth Buddhist Patriarch and the High Priest of Asoka”, 66:1, 1897, 76-84; etc.

– “Note on some Ajanta paintings”, IA 1893, 8-11; “Frog-worship amongst the Newars”, IA 1893, 292-294; other articles.

– Articles in JRAS: “The Indian Buddhist cult of Avalokita and his Consort Tārā ‘the Saviouress’; illustrated from the Remains of Magadha”, 1894, 51-89 & 385f.; “A trilingual list of Nāga Rājas”, 1894, 91-102; “Lamaist graces before meat”, 1894, 265-268; “Buddha’s Secret from a Sixth Century Pictorial Commentary and Tibetan Tradition”, 1894, 367-384; “A historical basis for the Questions of King Menander, from Tibetan”, 1897, 227-237; “Ancient Historical Edicts at Lhasa”, 1909, 923-952, 1910, 1247-1282, 1911, 389-435; etc.

The Buddhism of Tibet or Lamaism. 19+598 p. London 1895, 2nd ed. 1934.

Among the Himalayas. 468 p. ill. Westminster 1899; Lhasa and its mysteries, with a Record of the Expedition of 1903–1904. 22+531 p. ill. L. 1905.

Tribes of the Brahmaputra Valley: a Contribution on their physical types and affinities. 8+127 p. 13 pl. Calcutta 1900; “The ‘Dhārani’ Cult in Buddhism, its Origin, deified Literature and Images”, Ostas. Z. 1, 1912-13, 155-195, 12 fig.; “Buddha’s Diadem or Uṣṇīṣa: Its Origin, Nature and Functions. A Study of Buddhist Origins”, Ostas. Z. 3, 1914-15, 131-168, 25 fig.

The Phoenicean Origin of Britons, Scots and Anglo-Saxons. 26+450 p. L. 1924; The Makers of Civilization in Race and History. 56+646 p. 35 pl. L. 1929; The Indo-Sumerian Seals deciphered. 24+146 p. ill. L. 1925; A Sumer-Aryan Dictionary. 1. 46+80 p. L. 1927; Egyptian Civilization, its Sumerian Origin. 20+223 p. 21 pl. L. 1930; The British Edda. The great epic poem of the ancient Britons on the exploits of King Thor, Arthur or Adam. 82+331 p. L. 1930; further similar writings.

Sources: Buckland, Dictionary; *Regina Höfer, “‘Most unusual facilities for obtaining valuable specimens’: The Legacy of L. A. Waddell in Berlin Museums”, Baessler-Archiv N.F. 64, 2017, 39-64; *C. Preston, The Rise of Man in the Gardens of Sumeria: A Biography of L.A.W. 2009; F. W. Thomas, JRAS 1939, 499-504; *Oxford D.N.B.; Wikipedia with two photos.

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