Preservation

 

At first, a basic examination of the manuscript collections belonged to selected temples will be conducted. In doing so, an emphasis will be put on observing the physical condition of each and every manuscript. Before preservation of each and every manuscript, the below list of scientific and literary information will be gathered.

 

  1. The numbering of the manuscripts starting from 1 for each temple. All temples are given a certain code
    1. The number in the cover of the manuscript given by the relevant library
    2. The name given in the cover
    3. Name given in the beginning or the end of the text
    4. The used name of the manuscript
    5. Name of the author
    6. Name of the copy
    7. Details of the copy
    8. Date of the copy
    9. Subject
    10. Content
    11. Language
    12. Letter style
    13. Number of lines in one palm leaf
    14. Number of palm leaves and the numbering system
    15. The dimensions of the palm leaf
    16. Special features
    17. The preamble and the concluding statement in the text
    18. Nature of the cover (Kamba)
    19. Nature of the binding thread (Huya)
    20. Nature of the Sakiya

Thereafter the palm leaf manuscript is subjected to the traditional conservation procedure. It is removed from the place it is kept and the place is cleaned with wormwood oil and Dorana oil and later fumigated with medicinal agents. Then the palm leaves are ‘black polished’ with a mixture of powdered Trema Orientales (L) BI ash with Resin oil and kekuna (Aleurities moluccana) oil. The mixture is spread evenly over the palm leaf and it allows the medicinal material to seep in between the fiber of the leaf and increases its lifetime.

Afterwards, the unnecessary patches that could be there on the leaf are removed and it is subjected to “white polishing”, using Koracan (Eleusine coracana) flour. This polishes the palm leaf and makes the letters clearer. It also removes the moisture from the palm leaf.

Finally, the manuscript is transferred back to its original place in which it is kept. Manuscripts should not touch one another in this place. The lighting and moisture conditions are important and silica gel should be used to absorb moisture in the cupboards. Apart from that, medicines and spices such as cloves, cuscus roots, naphthalene and dry wormwood leaves will keep away insects.

Apart from this procedure, the manuscripts are also subjected to a modern technique of preservation. It is photographed two leaves at a time, in the following way.

  1. Take out manuscripts from the cupboard one at a time.
  2. Inspect for manuscripts with damaged leaves.
  3. Do the “black polishing” if it has not been done.
  4. Separate the palm leaves which could be glued to each other due to moisture.
  5. Choose the copies which are suitable for photographing.
  6. If there are more than one copy of the same text, the manuscript to be photographed is chosen considering
    1. The age of the manuscript
    2. Its completeness
    3. Clarity of the letters
    4. The method it has been written
    5. Remove the thread of the suitable manuscript.

  1. Photograph the leaves, two at a time.
  2. The back is also photographed once the front side of the leaf is photographed.

10.  Once the photos are made, assemble it correctly.

11.  Reassemble the manuscript.

12.  Replacing it in its place of storage.