Case Study 1

The ‘Thaliyola’ | Specialty printed gift for The President of India

Palm leaf bound manuscripts were the original mode of preserving stories and records in ancient Kerala. The technique used palm tree leaves that were processed by boiling and dyeing before being engraved (usually in Sanskrit) using an Ezhuthani (Metal Pen). Palm leaf manuscripts were written in ink on rectangular-cut, cured palm leaf sheets. Each sheet typically had a hole through which a string could pass through, and a set of sheets would be tied together to bind them like a book. A palm leaf text thus created would typically last between a few decades to about 600 years before it decayed due to dampness, insect activity, mould and fragility. Our client, Palm Leaf Innovations, had a collection of original scriptures (the Vedas and other devotional writings) housed in museums. They wanted to revitalise the legacy of these writings and enable a wider distribution to a modern-day audience, without losing the beauty of the Thaliyola form of hand-inked and bound manuscripts. From concept to execution,each step involved new learnings and challenges – from scanning the delicate original manuscripts, deciding on specialised paper, the protective coatings to increase longevity and durability, to selecting the 3mm solid Mahogany wooden sheets for the outer covers and the thick cotton string binding.

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