University of Arizona

Palm-leaf Books

Palm-leaf Books

 Two manuscripts from South or Southeast Asia constructed from Talipat palm leaves. The first is dated seventeenth century; the second is undated. The first is comprised of twenty-six polished palm leaves inscribed with characters; another leaf is plain. The leaves are bound between two narrow wooden boards; 34 x 5.5 cm. The exterior of each board is painted with red, yellow, and black floral designs; the central flower on one is larger than on the other. Interiors are stained solid pink. Two holes are pierced through the leaves and the boards, but the connecting cord is no longer present.

The second manuscript has ten inscribed palm leaves, with another one plain. The leaves themselves are thicker and less finely processed than the previous example. The two wooden covers are longer, 63 x 6 cm., and each is painted identically. The exteriors have a black floral repeated decoration stenciled onto a gold background. Interiors are solid red. Two pairs of holes are pierced through the book, which is held together with a modern string. The edges are stained vermilion in the center, and gilt on both sides; edge treatment is a Siamese characteristic for sacred works. The book is protected by a traditional silk cover.