Definitions

Guard-leaf

A guard-leaf is a blank folio placed at the very beginning or very end of a palm-leaf bundle immediately after the frontcover of before the backcover, if any in hard material such as wood or metal. It corresponds to the fly-leaf of a codex or of a printed book.
Not rarely, we find more than one guard-leaf at the very beginning or very end of a bundle.
The guard-leaf is meant to protect the first and last inscribed leaves in a bundle, which are the more exposed — and thus susceptible to damage.
In the absence of cover, the guard-leaf serves as cover.
Guard-leaves are also found inside the manuscript, separating chapters of the same text or different texts in a multiple-text or composite manuscript.
Subsequent users often add written texts — such as additional benedictions or personal notes — on originally blank guard-leaves.

BnF Indien 265. From bottom to top: additional title-page folio, front wood-cover, front guard-leaf, etc. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Indien 265. From bottom to top: front wood-cover, front guard-leaf, original title-page folio, etc. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Indien 342. From top to bottom: back wood-cover, 1 back guard-leaf, 8 back guard-leaves, etc. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Indien 991. From bottom to top: front wood-cover, 2 front guard-leaves, etc. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Indien 991. Verso of first front guard-leaf, with additional diagram. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Indien 104. Recto of front guard-leaf. Courtesy of the BnF.

BnF Indien 104, detail. Recto (right edge) of front guard-leaf, with additional (?) benediction civamaya=m. Courtesy of the BnF.

Inserted leaf

A subsequent user can also insert an additional leaf in a bundle to add a note on the text or to correct it.

BnF Indien 2, U5, inserted leaf between f62 and f63. Courtesy of the BnF.

In the above example (BnF Indien 2), a smaller leaf, unblackened, has been inserted to add information about a passage on f63. The text on the inserted leaf begins with:

6 10 3m Ēṭil
maṟuppul [i.e. maṟuppil or maṟuppuḷ] puḷḷa-
ṭikku piṟaku

“On the 63rd leaf, in the [section named] maṟuppu, after the bird’s foot”.

BnF Indien 2, U5, inserted leaf between f62 and f63, detail. Courtesy of the BnF.

The bird’s foot/footprint (Tamil puḷ-ḷ-aṭi) is equivalent to the Sanskrit term kāka-pada, literally “crow’s feet/footprint”, which designates the “+” sign used to indicate the place of a correction.

In the present case, there is indeed a “+” sign on f63r4.

BnF Indien 2, U5, f63r, detail: unblackened “+” in line 4 to the left of the hole. Courtesy of the BnF.

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