From Palm Leaf to Printed Text: The Traditional Indic Book

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Representing one of the oldest bibliographic traditions in the world, palm leaf manuscripts have often been perceived by westerners as exotic collectibles, acquired for their unfamiliar format rather than for the texts inscribed on them. Dating to at least the first century B.C., continues to be relevant to the study of South Asian texts. Drawn from the collection donated by Mrs. Edwin Asmann, this exhibit highlights the structure and usage of the palm leaf format, from the preparation of the leaves themselves to their illumination and binding. The manuscripts are also discussed in relationship to their role in the transmission of the Buddhist Canon.