Palm Leaf from an Unidentified Manuscript with Devanagiri (?) script

Accession Number

Palm Leaf from an Unidentified Manuscript with Devanagiri (?) script


Artist Nationality
Indian (South Asian)

Object Creation Date
17th century

Medium & Support
incised palm-leaf darkened with coal dust

2 11/16 in x 11 in (6.8 cm x 28 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Professor Walter M. and Nesta R. Spink

Label copy
This page was originally part of a book. Paper came into widespread use in India in the seventeenth century, but palm leaves continued to be used for manuscripts in regions where the material was abundant, such as Gujarat and Orissa.
To produce a manuscript, palm leaves were smoothed, dried, and cut to a uniform shape. Letters were incised with a sharp tool, and then the incision was filled with charcoal dust and the surface burnished. A hole was cut in the center of the leaf to allow a sheaf to be strung together, keeping the leaves in order. Both sides of a leaf would be used, and the book would be read by flipping over pages one at a time
Exhibited in "Divine Encounters, Earthly Pleasures: Twenty Centuries of Indian Art," 12/12/03-2/22/04.

Primary Object Classification

Primary Object Type

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palm tree

2 Related Resources

Art of the Mughal Empire
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
Introduction to Manuscripts and Early Print
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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