Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Alim Tree

Tree-Bark Manuscript or Batak Divination Book in Toba-Batak language from the end of the 19th century. There are 2 calligraphed texts with original illustrations. One side has 44 so-called pages or sides with 20 pictures - generally birds, men and graphic signs. The other side has 43 so-called pages and 30 pictures of which the last is a very curious dancing man with his hair tied up in the air, with a bird on top of it. Complete in bark-folded leporello (size 16x480cm).

The Batak were the only “primitive people” who could write. These manuscripts were usually written by medicine men or Datu and the text mainly deals with divination, magic medicine and history of these Central Sumatra people. The bark used is called (in Latin) “Aquilaria malacensis” or Alim Tree. As usual some marginal blackening by smoke but the text is good and readable.

No comments: