Mar. 21, 2022
The paper “Two Different Storage Environments for Palm Leaf Manuscripts: Comparison of Deterioration Phenomena”, written by Dr. Meifang Zhang from our school, was published on Restaurator: International Journal for the Preservation of Library and Archival Material on July, 2021.
Precious palm leaf manuscripts are kept in public libraries, archives, museums, and temples in China. Recently, private collectors have gained interest in collecting such manuscripts as well. Different storage environments and preservation measures may have an impact on the overall condition and deterioration of manuscripts depending on the respective collecting entirety. Therefore, it is necessary to investigate the storage situation of palm leaf manuscripts in different storage conditions, identify their state of deterioration and further analyze the underlying reasons. This research focuses on the palm leaf manuscripts stored at the Cultural Palace Library of Nationalities and in the Fandian Palace. Deterioration phenomena, such as acidification, staining, mold, tearing and blurred ink have occurred. The main problems could be identified as inadequate storage materials and acidification of the wrapping materials. Unfavorable storage conditions also affect aging and deterioration. By comparing palm leaf manuscripts of the two collections, we found that the manuscripts of The Cultural Palace Library of Nationalities are well preserved as a whole, with few signs of deterioration and slight damage, while the manuscripts of the Fandian Palace show more serious problems. Therefore, it is necessary to improve the storage conditions at the latter location and take some measures to prevent the palm leaf manuscripts from continuing to deteriorate.