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BY-NC-ND 4.0 license Open Access Published by De Gruyter 2023

Palm-leaf Manuscript Libraries in Southern India Around the Thirteenth Century: The Sarasvatī Library in Chidambaram

From the book Libraries in the Manuscript Age

  • Gérard Colas


Palm-leaf as a medium of writing occupies a major place in ancient India because of the long period of its use. Its vulnerability however required frequent copying. It seems to have been initially used to preserve and disseminate administrative and political documents; its use for transmitting literature, particularly religious literature, is accessory, late and even accidental. Libraries of manuscripts, archives, mnemonic collections (mnémothèques), and epigraphic collections (lithothèques) are four entities with various kinds of interrelationship. Two Tamil inscriptions from the thirteenth century, which attest to the activities and transformations of the Sarasvatī Library in the temple of Naṭarāja in Chidambaram, illustrate connections between these four entities.

© 2023 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
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