Monday, September 24, 2007

Mandailing-Batak script

Batak manuscript on tree-bark, Indonesia 19th century. Physical app.: 49 fols. (60 x 60 mm.) of Mandailing-Batak script in leporello form. Aprox. 8 columns to page in black ink. Several notes and charts and tables. The bark consists of two pieces, strechting together 3 meters. The bark folio’s are protected and attached to two wooden covers.

The material on which is written, is a kind of bark that is formed each year between the wood and the real outer bark of the aloe tree. This precious tree is found in South-East Asia. Even Diosourides (1st cent. CE) quotes this tree and it’s bark as excellent writing material. The long straps are folded and fixed on both ends to a wooden board, often engraved or sculptured. Thus a “pustaha” is created. Most texts have animistic-religious, medicinal or occult contents, and are used solely by animistic priests.