[INDOLOGY] Fwd: Black soot with oil (maSi) & turmeric powder (mRtsnaa) used in writing on palm leaves

Christophe Vielle christophe.vielle at uclouvain.be
Wed Nov 25 16:37:45 UTC 2015

>From N. Ganesan :

> De: "N. Ganesan" <naa.ganesan at gmail.com>
> Objet: Black soot with oil (maSi) & turmeric powder (mRtsnaa) used in writing on palm leaves
> Date: 25 novembre 2015 16:32:07 UTC+1
> Dear Dominic Goodall & All,
> I think the meaning of mRtsna is clear if we read the evidence
> from Tamil. Th. Burrow, The Sanskrit Language, pg. 153, 2001
> gives: "mRtsna-  masc. nt. 'dust, powder'".
> http://www.sanskrita.org/wiki/index.php/mRtsna
> mṛtsna m. n. dust, powder cf. Suśr.
> Let us see what powder it is, and its purpose in palm leaves preparation
> and preservation. mRtsnaa - is fragrant powder:
> http://www.spokensanskrit.de/index.php?tinput=mRtsna&link=m
> You wrote:
> "Here is the passage in question, which recurs in several inscriptions: 
> K. 279, LXXXVII ab. 
> (11) riktapattraṃ maṣīṃ mṛtsnāṃ dadyād adhyetṛsādhave"
> It talks of 3 things (the iron stylus is not explicitly mentioned in this line,
> may be elsewhere in the inscription):
> (1) palm leaf - riktapattram
> (2) maSI - black soot mixed with oil
> (which is used after writing/incising with iron stylus, see:
> http://www.idc.iitb.ac.in/resources/dt-july-2009/Palm.pdf )
> Note that this maSi is not for writing, but only to highlight what is incised.
> Compare the Tamil word, macaku:
> Madras Tamil Lexicon entry:
> மசகு² macaku , n. cf. maṣimasaka.] Mixture of oil and burnt straw, used as grease for country carts; வைக்கோற் கரியோடு எண்ணெய்த்துளி கலந்து கட்டைவண்டியின் அச்சிலிடும் மை.
> (3) mRtsna "dust, powder" of turmeric. This is used before & after writing. (See ref.s given at end.)
> and in preparing palm leaves. As a preservative and also to give yellow/gold polish.
> This explanation is supported by Tamil evidence. 
> I don't know why mrtsnaa is used in Cambodia; a hybrid-Sanskrit?
> To match with maSii, mrtsnaa is used?? Sanskritists can explain to us,
> mRtsnaa - fragrant (powder)
> http://www.spokensanskrit.de/index.php?tinput=mRtsna&link=m
> (This letter I was drafting yesterday, just reading your mail of today.The answer 
> is in Cilappatikaaram etc., will tell tomorrow.)
> Here are two important Tamil literary references
> which I gave almost 20 years ago in Indology list,
> http://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology_list.indology.info/1996-February/004149.html
>  Caring of Palm-leaf Manuscripts - Tamil literature
>  **************************************************
> Two old poems from Tamil literature come to my mind.
> U. V. Saminathaiyar who edited the Sangam classics for the
> first time in print edited a messenger poem on Madurai Siva.
> (UVS, maturaic cokkan^Atar tamizviTu tUtu, 1930, Madras, I
> edition. 7 reprints were made after).
> The heroine sends "Tamil" as her messenger to her Lord.
> There are few couplets describing Tamil as a girl.
> One of them is,
>    manjaL kuLippATTi maiyiTTu muppAlum
>    minjap pukaTTa mikavaLarn^tAy!
> மஞ்சள் குளிப்பாட்டி மையிட்டு முப்பாலும்
> மிஞ்சப் புகட்ட மிக வளர்ந்தாய்
> http://www.projectmadurai.org/pm_etexts/utf8/pmuni0040.html
> 1) As for a girl, the meaning is:
> When you were a baby, you enjoyed taking showers with turmeric (manjaL)
> smeared  all over. decorated using cosmetics (mai/anjana) and 
> consumed milk/juices taht are essential for healthy growth.
> 2) As for the sweet Tamil, the meaning is:
> All your treasures/literatures in palmleaves are protected with
> turmeric, the letters on palmleaves are coated with soot (mai/anjana)
> to make the writing more visible, and in the early stages of life,
> Valluvar's KuRaL nourished you! (muppAl is another name for the
> famous TirukkuRaL because it is divided into three sections.)
> The second example comes from ParanjOti Munivar's tiruviLaiyATal
> purANam (16th century?). The local stala purANam for Madurai.
> (Dr. William Harman translated parts of this work.)
> Here the imagery is grand and beautiful.
>    cEya tArakai varuNamAt tITTiya vAnam
>    Aya ETTinai iruLenum anjanam taTavi
>    tUya vALn^ilA enumveN tUcinAl tuTaippAN
>    pAya vElaiyil muLaittanan panimatik kaTavuL.
> சேய தாரகை வருணமாத் தீட்டிய வானம்
> ஆய வேட்டினை யிருளெனு மஞ்சனந் தடவித்
> தூய வாணிலா வென்னும்வெண் டூசினாற் றுடைப்பான்
> பாய வேலையின் முளைத்தனன் பனிமதிக் கடவுள்.
> http://www.tamilvu.org/slet/l41d0/l41d0pd1.jsp?bookid=68&part=III&link=305
> Siva appears in the sea. 
> The crescent moon on his head sends out lunar rays to remove 
> the darkness of the night sky and the stars shine.
> It is like
> The poet using a soft, white cloth to remove the carbon (anjanam) 
> from the face of palmleaf manuscript and the letters look bright!
>        Here, the comparison is:
>           sky  ------>  palmleaf
>           stars ----->  written letters
>           darkness of the night ---> carbon smear
>           moon's rays ----> soft cloth
> ----------------------------------------------------
> Some references where the black charcoal mixed with oil (maSi)
> and turmeric used both before writing and after writing are employed.That is
> mRsnaa"fragrant powder".
> http://cool.conservation-us.org/coolaic/sg/bpg/annual/v24/bp24-17.pdf
> https://books.google.com/books?id=cjr3P1DU8zgC&pg=PA116&lpg=PA116&dq=turmeric+on+palm+leaf&source=bl&ots=BBPb0q7C-Y&sig=ikP2B-NTMzEAAiW9CPij8Y2yKcI&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwitu9vrtqjJAhUGLYgKHbBbA8w4ChDoAQgiMAE#v=onepage&q=turmeric%20on%20palm%20leaf&f=false
> https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turmeric
> https://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/publications/documents/ConservationandStabilizationofPalmLeafandParabaik.pdf
> https://books.google.com/books?id=t35yp4G8E2gC&pg=PA45&lpg=PA45&dq=turmeric+on+palm+leaf&source=bl&ots=QkMEs4pXtg&sig=mP0cJBHuXW2CNAdJYR9Om8oHngE&hl=en&sa=X&ved=0ahUKEwjIxPHptKjJAhVMLIgKHbKVCTQQ6AEIOjAH#v=onepage&q=turmeric%20on%20palm%20leaf&f=false
> https://www.facebook.com/TurmericHands/posts/602782589776722
> http://www.jstor.org/stable/24042168?seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents
> Kind regards
> N. Ganesan
> http://nganesan.blogspot.com

Christophe Vielle

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <https://list.indology.info/pipermail/indology/attachments/20151125/087f02d5/attachment.htm>

More information about the INDOLOGY mailing list