Towards a Comprehensive Approach to the Study of South Indian Palm-Leaf Manuscripts
This project offers an innovative contribution to the global investigation of palm-leaves used for the production of manuscripts in South India. In particular, it intends to better contextualise the choice and preparation of different kinds of palm-leaves in the production of manuscripts and thus to better evaluate the history of each individual artefact, which is now hampered by our lack of knowledge concerning their material features and the lax ways in which they have been stored in modern times. This will be achieved by integrating information concerning the production and circulation of palm-leaf manuscripts that can be retrieved from the study of their paratexts (colophons and borrowing/lending statements) with the analysis of their material features, such as their DNA and the traces left by the chemical processes that they underwent during preparation. In this respect, the project aims at offering a reliable basis for a wider study of similar artefacts produced and used in vast areas of Central, South, and South-East Asia.