Category: Palm leaf

Sascrit 1442.6 Ṣaṭsāhasrasaṃhitā. Courtesy of the BnF.

Kathmandu, Calcutta, Paris: the life of a Tantric manuscript

Scholars have long sought to classify people and things based on their geographic origin. In the Muqaddimah, Ibn Khaldun insisted that climate shapes both the appearance and temperament of different human races; Vātsyāyana imagined an entire geography of desire in his Kāmasūtra. Space, as well as time, seem to be...

BnF Indien 743, Castes et professions de l'Inde. 73r. Courtesy of the BnF.

The ébéniste inconnu of the palm leaf manuscript collection

The grand siècle of the 17th century was — and still is — widely romanticized as a period of history in which art and literature reached their pinnacle in France. French painters, poets, composers, and gardeners from this era were celebrated across Europe and are still remembered today. The art...

Paratextual Material in Indien 206, the Taṇṭiyalaṅkāram

At the end of a Tamil manuscript we are accustomed to find various paratextual materials such as colophons, verses and occasionally even indices. There are, however, other types of texts that were likely added to suit particular needs and are consequently unique or quite rare. Indien 206, a manuscript of...

Two consecutive folios from Indien 54. All images courtesy of the BnF.

The bend of the leaf

In the process of preparing manuscripts for digital reproduction, I often become more sensitive to the aspects which cannot be reproduced. High-quality, instantly-accessible images are an incredible boon to researchers around the world, but, inevitably, a representation of a 2-dimensional surface will not be able to capture a 3-dimensional object...

detail from Sanscrit 616, folio 1v.

Punctuation poetry in MS Sanscrit 616

In India, the 19th century was a period in which manuscripts, lithographs, and printed books were all being produced at the same time. We often imagine a linear sequence in which manuscripts are copied as lithographs, which are then replaced by books, but reality is usually not so straightforward. In...

“Give it back after reading!”

The source of all the pictures of INDIEN 73 is BnF The manuscript Indien 73 in the BnF collection is a collection of moral or didactic stanzas entitled alternatively Nīticākaram (“The ocean of moral teachings”) or Nīticāram (“The gist of moral teachings”) in the manuscript itself. BnF INDIEN 73, front...

BnF INDIEN 478: Cāmināta Piḷḷai’s Nacaraikkalampakam

A blogpost by Margherita Trento The source of all the pictures of INDIEN 478 is BnF Indien 478 (ex-Tamoul 478) is a palm-leaf bundle (440 x 25 mm) between wooden planks containing the manuscripts of two poems, the Nacaraikkalampakam by Vittuvāṉ Cāmināta Piḷḷai (unfoliated f.1A, f.2A, and 57 ff.), and...

A first academic collaboration between Tamil India and France: the case of BnF “Indien 246”, and the exchange of letters between Julien Vinson and U. Vē. Cāminātaiyar

Among the Tamil Palm Leaf MSS which are preserved in the BnF, a symbolically important role can be attributed to the manuscript “Indien 246” (மணிமேகலை மூலம் [Maṇimēkalai Mūlam]), because it was probably the occasion for the first bi-directional scientific correspondance between an academic representative of the Tamil-speaking Southern part of...

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