[INDOLOGY] pre-lined mss.

Tyler Williams tylerwwilliams at gmail.com
Tue May 16 03:08:02 UTC 2017

Dear Péter-Dániel,

In the northwest (Rajasthan and Gujarat) one finds wooden boards with
raised ridges, into which paper folios were pressed to leave indentations,
rather like a watermark. These were used in particular by Jains who, as JP
Losty has suggested, seem to have been producing "stereotyped" manuscripts
of some works by the Sultanate period. If I can find one of my photos of
one, I will send it along. These were used in addition to and alongside the
string boards that Dominik has already mentioned.

If one were ever to undertake such a detailed metric study of South Asian
manuscripts as Gordon Proot has done for early European printed materials
<https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Goran_Proot>, then one might be able
to link multiple manuscripts to a single site of production (even despite
multiple scribal hands). I've been toying with the idea of crunching
catalog data on folio sizes and lines per folio in some collections to see
if patterns emerge, but that would be a very rudimentary start.


On Sat, May 13, 2017 at 7:42 PM, Dominik Wujastyk via INDOLOGY <
indology at list.indology.info> wrote:

> Dear Péter-Dániel, I'm not sure what your question is.  However, this
> whole issue about book production is under-explored and very interesting,
> so it's a great topic to raise.
> If you're talking about paper MSS, one point I could mention: you refer to
> horizontal lining.  Do you mean written lines, or indentations in the
> paper?  I have seen - and you have too, I expect - wooden boards that are
> shaped the same a s a paper folio, with holes left and right for stretching
> six to ten lines of string horizontally.  The paper of a leaf was pressed
> to this string-board (rajjuphalaka*?  sūtraphalaka*?) and the impression of
> strings formed the guide-lines for scribes.  So one finds paper manuscripts
> with these faint concertina-like indentations on them, that were evidently
> made with such a tool.
> In European codicology, a manuscript atelier in a monastery would have a
> wheel with pins sticking out of the rim, like extended spokes.  What LW
> Jones called "a sharp awl" (p. 392)  It was run down each side of the
> manuscript leaf, forming an eye-line between the pinpricks, so the scribes
> could write in straight lines.  These so-called manuscript prickings have
> been used by codicologists to identify particular pricking-awls, and
> therefore to identify the monastery in which a particular codex was
> written.
> I've often wondered whether the Indian string-boards could offer a similar
> guide, but I think probably not.  The reasons are that there are too many
> of these boards.  One often finds them kicking around with a pile of
> manuscripts.  I think scribes probably made them quite frequently, for ad
> hoc use.  Secondly, Indian codicology is still in its infancy, and since
> most Indian manuscript catalogues omit any serious physical description,
> one would have to study original collections on a wide scale to get any
> kind of grip on this feature.
> Best,
> Dominik
> ---
> Jones, Leslie Webber. “Pricking Manuscripts: The Instruments and Their
> Significance.” *Speculum*, vol. 21, no. 4, 1946, pp. 389–403.,
> www.jstor.org/stable/2856761.
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