Heavy rains, humidity, the monsoon season and a severe insect, fungus and rodent infestation have damaged and are threatening the extensive collection of palm leaf manuscripts of the Medawala Rajmaha Viharaya monastery in Sri Lanka.
The collection of over 5,000 volumes holds an extensive account of local history, knowledge, customs and traditions and are still actively used in the religious activities of the monastery and by local school children and scholars. The project will safeguard this living heritage by the immediate conservation measures of chemical and traditional treatment of the documents and infestations. Also, their storage conditions will be improved and the local caretakers of the monastery will be trained to properly handle and store them. The publication of a bilingual annotated bibliography and an online database with digitalized records of the manuscripts will largely increase their accessibility. The project will not only safe the palm leaf manuscripts from further deterioration, but will also ensure their use and protection in the future.
Image copyright: Conservartecuador