Safeguarding for Posterity Two Private Collections of Palm-Leaf Manuscripts from the Tamil Country (EAP1294)

Aims and objectives

This project aims to clean, digitise and catalogue at least a part of two palm-leaf manuscript collections (the Kalliṭaikuṟicci and the Villiampākkam ones), made up of around 183 bundles. Some of their specimens are as old as 1849, with a few that might prove to be older. These manuscripts contain texts of various genres, in Tamil, Sanskrit and Manipravalam, and use the Tamil and Grantha scripts. These hitherto-neglected manuscripts, especially those of the Kalliṭaikuṟicci collection, will give us an insight into the reading habits of an erudite, Tamil Brahmin family from the mid- to the end of 19th century.

Outcomes

This project initially aimed at digitising and cataloguing about 30% of two different private collections of palm-leaf manuscripts (namely, the Kalliṭaikuṟicci and the Villiampākkam collections), in South India. However, the team working on the project has actually managed to clean, digitise and catalogue 100% of both collections without needing extra time or money for doing so. This means that 186 palm-leaf manuscripts, all 18th-19th century artifacts in various states of damage, will now be preserved in the form of digitised images and also see the light of day by becoming accessible to everyone.