workshop registration

Consultation on the Preservation of Palm-leaf Manuscripts

Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Hamburg
7 - 8 August 2018

Palm-leaves were popularly used as writing supports during a long stretch of time and in vast geographical areas, such as parts of South Asia, Central Asia, South-East Asia, etc. Even until modern times, in some parts of these regions they are being produced and used for writing various kinds of documents. Most of such manuscripts are kept in public or private libraries and archives of these areas, whereas some other manuscripts have found their home in Western libraries and archives. It is always being challenging to appropriately preserve palm-leaf manuscripts because of the very fragile nature of the material, and their age. Furthermore, in some libraries or archives manuscripts are often kept under inadequate conditions due to the lack of appropriate preserving materials, techniques, infrastructures, etc. Manuscripts are often just wrapped up, alone or together with other manuscripts, in a piece of cloth and the bundles are just piled up one on another. This way of preservation may cause damage to such precious artefacts. Furthermore, many parts of manuscripts are also being eaten by insects, or are affected by mould because of the bad state of preservation. Often this implies that parts of a manuscript are already lost or illegible.

For this reason, the workshop aims to bring together experts and interested scholars to discuss both the traditional and modern techniques of the preservation of palm-leaf manuscripts and to get more insights into how to improve the current and long-term preservation of such artefacts.

Discussions will focus on:

  • Current conditions of palm-leaf manuscript collections
  • Species of palms and types of manuscripts
  • Typical threats, damages and parasites on palm-leaf manuscripts
  • Conservation material for treating palm-leaves
  • Long-term preservation
  • Digitization of palm-leaf manuscripts


Bidur Bhattarai, Hamburg (Germany)
Michaelle Biddle, Manchester CT (USA)
James Canary, Bloomington (USA)
Markus Fischer, Hamburg (Germany)
Michael Friedrich, CSMC, Hamburg (Germany)
Jörg Fromm, Hamburg (Germany)
Agnieszka Helman-Wazny, Hamburg (Germany)
Ignatius Payyappilly, Kochi (India)
Dick van der Meij, Leiden (The Netherlands)
Dashrath Mishra, Kathmandu (Nepal)
Walid Mourad, Ajaltoun (Lebanon)
Monika Müller, Hamburg (Germany)
Ira Rabin, Berlin (Germany)
Anna Schulz, Hamburg (Germany)
Columba Stewart, Collegeville MN (USA)

The workshop will also offer the opportunity to visit Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Carl von Ossietzky (State and University Library of Hamburg) where a team of the CSMC is currently involved in the digitization of palm-leaf manuscripts kept in the library.

Programme Committee:

Bidur Bhattarai, M.A.
Prof. Dr. Michael Friedrich
Prof. Dr. Columba Stewart


Download the programme (Updated 6 August 2018)


The workshop will be held at the Centre for the Study of Manuscript Cultures, Warburgstraße 26, Hamburg, Germany. How to find us


Participation is free of charge and vistors are welcome. Please register below.
You may find the Hamburg Tourismus site useful for finding a suitable accommodation.
For more information please contact us.

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On which days will you attend the sessions?
Tuesday, 7 August 2018
Wednesday, 8 August 2018

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