'Like a bundle of thin laths'

'Like a bundle of thin laths'
Accession number: 
MS. Jav. b. 1
Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford

This gebang (nipah) leaf manuscript was donated to the Library by the brother of its first Librarian. Initially described as ‘an ancient text in an exotic and unknown character’, it is now known to be a sixteenth-century manuscript from West Java, containing an Old Javanese text with some Sundanese words. Palm-leaf manuscripts are normally tied together between two boards. This carved, lacquered and painted box completely protects the manuscript. It is a very early and unusual survivor in wonderful condition.

Box: 56 x 488 x 57 mm
Manuscript: 41 x 450 x 50 mm

Box and manuscript: 496 g
Box: 333 g

Donated by Andrew James, 1627