Palm leaf manuscripts

Sun Mar 15 15:43:39 UTC 1998

At 07:16 PM 3/15/98 +0800, you wrote:
>At 12:53 AM 3/15/98 EST, you wrote:
>>In a posting dated    Mon, 5 Jan 1998 18:49:52 -0500
>>Michael Witzel <witzel at FAS.HARVARD.EDU> said about some manuscripts in north
>>"All written with ink (except for a very few South Indian MSS in the
>>Archives, inscised with stylus)."
>>Is incising palm-leaf manuscripts with stylus a southern Indian custom? How
>>were manuscripts prepared in the north ? Only by writing instead of
>>Has the word nArAca ever been used to mean 'stylus' in the north/Sanskrit?
>>S. Palaniappan
>        Dear S.PL.,
>                The documents from the North known as "lekha"
>        and "lipi" were generally written on "burjapatra"
>        by painting the letters onto the leaf with "maSI" or
>        ink. With such a method a sharp stylus -"elzuththANi'
>        can't be used.
>                The majority of the Tamil manuscripts have been
>        incised on the palmyra leaf - "tAlipatra" or "Olai"
>        or "Edu". The instrument "nArAcam" was used for punching a round
>        hole at the left end of the palm leaf. A bundle of leaves
>        comprising of a full document or a complete book
>        could be compiled in order, and then tied by a ribbon
>        of rattan thong which is  passed into the respective holes.
>        This compilation is known as "cuvadi" or "poththakam".
>                Rarely was the word used to mean the stylus.
>        "ANi" or "elzuththANi" was the most commonly used word.
>                The nArAcam was also a small sharp instrument
>        which was used to pierce the ear-drums of people to
>        make them deaf. This was a form of punishment.
>        Regards
>        Jayabarathi

In telugu the stylus used to write on palmyra leaves is called 'ghaMTaM'
or 'gaMTaM'.



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