Catalogue


[Holy book of the Sinhalese : manuscript.
imprint
Sri Lanka : 17--?].
description
1 item.
format(s)
Book, Manuscript
Holdings
More Details
imprint
Sri Lanka : 17--?].
general note
Label on upper cover with inscription "The Holy Book of the Cingalese, (native inhabitants of Ceylon). Written on leaves of the Talopat tree. Very ancient. Brought from Ceylon by Purser D.M.F. Thornton, USN. Mrs M.J. Thornton, 621 N. 9th St., Richmond, Va." Thornton was serving with the U.S. Navy in 1825.
Ola book inscribed on the prepared immature leaves of the Talipot palm; lacquered boards without cord; with two holes.
Ola books are made of 'olas' or strips taken from the young leaves of the Talipot or Palmyra palm. After soaking in hot water the leaves are pressed smooth. They are the cut into strips about 75 mm. wide and up to 1 metre in length. Through a hole pierced at each end a cord is passed so as to secure the leaves between two lacquered boards, forming a book. Writing is done with an iron stylus and the incisions in the leaf are made more easily visible by rubbing in a mixture of charcoal and oil. It is probably due to the aromatic and preservative properties of the oil that the books have survived from pre-Christian days to the present. They continue to be made in the Buddhist monasteries of Sri Lanka.
Sinhalese script.
Title from 19th century label pasted to inside of upper board.
catalogue key
7783729

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