Introduction

Plant materials are one of the oldest media used by humans for writing. Historical texts suggest that leaves of palms had been used for centuries for this purpose. In Sri Lanka the two types of leaves that were widely are Palmyra Borassus flabelifera.L and Corypha umbraculifera.L. In this project, we took the palm leaf manuscripts into consideration.

Talipot palm (Corypha umbraculifera.L)

The light green part of Corypha umbraculifera.L which grows to about 8-20 feet is taken and polished into writable pages and this is known as the palm leaf of a manuscript. The assembled manuscript is called a palm leaf manuscript.

From ancient times up to early 19th century the palm leaf was the main writing material in Sri Lanka. The art of palm leaf bookmaking was a unique feature of Sri Lankan religious and academic culture. Buddhist sacred script (Tripitaka) and related literature as well as works on other mundane subject fields such as historical texts, astrology, traditional medicine, architecture and a wide range of other subjects.

Due to foreign invasions and natural disasters most of the palm leaf manuscripts are not in existence today. However, thanks to the efforts of monks in the country a considerable number of palm leaf books are still available in Buddhist temples throughout the island.

Palm leaf manuscripts are endangered due to a multitude of reasons. They include environmental factors, poor storage, insects, negligence, ignorance and other factors. Therefore, applying a proper method of preservation without delay is extremely important.