Emergency preservation and digitization of the Palm Leaf Manuscript collection of the Sri Siddharta Potgul Vihara Temple (SSPV) in Menikhinna, Sri Lanka.
The collection consists of approximately 30.000 palm leaves in 600 – 700 individual manuscripts, and has a great cultural, historical and religious value for the local religious community and beyond. Heavy seasonal rains leaked through the damaged roof of the library where they were stored (mainly in 2017), damaging an estimated 90% of the manuscripts, as well as other valuable books. The roof was restored, and first aid was provided to the collection, but in an improper way. The manuscripts were stored in the uncontrolled, humid environment, causing fungus and other rodent infestations. The collection is now deteriorating rapidly, and there is no local expertise or knowledge at the Monastery to stop this process. During this project, together with a team of experts, the local care takers will be trained and involved in the urgent conservation of the manuscripts (cleaning, stabilizing and treatment of the infestation), their documentation, preservation (proper and safe storage) and digitization to secure the future preservation of this valuable collection.
Image copyright: Conservartecuador