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Workshop begins on conservation of manuscripts

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TALL ORDER: A technician from Salar Jung Museum of Hyderabad teaching how to preserve manuscripts at a workshop in Kurnool on Tuesday. Photo: U.Subramanyam
TALL ORDER: A technician from Salar Jung Museum of Hyderabad teaching how to preserve manuscripts at a workshop in Kurnool on Tuesday. Photo: U.Subramanyam

Staff Reporter

Technicians from Salar Jung Museum demonstrates methods

Oldest scripts are found on stone, brick, copper plates, bark and paperDecay of manuscripts is caused by temperature, humidity and termites

KURNOOL: The three-day workshop being organised by the Salar Jung Museum on preventive and curative conservation of manuscripts under the aegis of National Mission for Manuscripts was inaugurated here on Tuesday.

A panel of technicians from the Salar Jung Museum will deliver lectures and demonstrate various methods of manuscript preservation. Director of the Museum A. Nagender Reddy formally inaugurated the workshop at Dr. Abdul Haq Unani Medical College. Dr. Reddy said manuscripts of palm leaves were as old as the 2nd Century.

Decay and reintegration

The oldest scripts were found on stone, stone tablets, bricks, copper plates, palm leaves, barks, skin sheets, textile, ivory and paper. He said decay of manuscripts was due to temperature, humidity, termites, light, mishandling, vandalism and micro-organisms like fungus.

The manuscripts, especially made of paper, would develop brittleness due to acidifying. The scripts would have to be treated chemically to rinse the acidic properties.

Also the scripts would develope holes, which should be refilled with pulp. Sometimes, the damaged scripts would also require reintegration. Palm leaf scripts also would need oiling for clarity of letters.

Free of cost

Dr. Reddy said besides teaching the techniques of preservation and curative methods, the team had treated private manuscripts free of cost at the workshop. The National Mission for Manuscripts did not want to collect the scripts from private people but information of their existence would be of great help.

Co-ordinator of the workshop Ahmed Ali said individuals could protect their books from the onslaught of mites by leaving paradichloro benzaine or thymol in the bookshelves. Even herbs like neem leaves, kala jeera, cloves and black pepper would keep termites away.

Technicians M. Virender, Vidyadhar Biswal, Shailja Das and Azam Ali were present. Principal of Unani Medical College S.A.M. Bokhari and Khaja Moinuddin of Arabic College were present.


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