Foliophiles Santa Fe, N.M. Aug. '00 $45 (18)
The Great Paritta. (Protective Suttas) Palm leaf manuscript - Myanmar (Burma) A translation in Burmese, completed on the 7th waxing of the month of Tawthalin of the Burmese year 1237. (Sept. 1875). (Talipat palm)
Single leaf inscribed on both sides with 6 lines of script, around 2 holes where a vine cord bound the book + allowed the pages to be turned. The circular characters inscribed on the leaf with a sharp stylus and darkened with lamp black to make them legible. The leaf tapers slightly to the ends and has ^a golden color with occasional slight black stain at the edges. (?? where a gold coating has changed color.) 19 5/8" x 2" at the ends (2 3/16" at the widest point) Talipat palm. (Corypha umbraculifera). Scribes employing an iron stilus to scratch the letters, were compelled to avoid long straight lines, because any scratch along the longitudinal fibre, which runs from the stalk to the point, would split the palm leaf. This gave rise to the rounded shapes of the Oriya, Burmese + other "round" current hands. Burmese characters look very much like a never ending chain of circles, half-circles + segments of circles in different combinations. In India + in the countries of Southeast Asia which came under Indian influence, palm leaves have always been the most popular writing material. 3 species of palm-trees provided material suitable for writing: the talipat palm, the palmyra palm (Borassus flabellifer) + especially in Southeast Asia, the lontar palm (Corypha utan). The palmyra palm is hardly ever
more than 1 1/2 inches wide. The oldest Burmese manuscript is attributed to the 5th C A.D. + Contains a Buddhist text in Pali. Burmese religious literature is strongly influenced by the Buddhist literature of India. However there are also some chronicles + an epic 'yama yekkan' which corresponds to the Indian Ramayana.
The palm leaf book came to Burma from India along with Buddhism + was traditionally used as writing material for religious treatises, letters, + court memoranda. They were engraved with an iron stylus (kan-yit) that was held between the first 2 fingers of the right hand + steadied by the thumb nail of the left which was trimmed to a crenant shape. To be read palm - leaf mansucripts were placed on stands, + women were expressly forbidden from resting the palm leaves on their laps. THe leaves were held with 2 hands + turned away from the reader after being read. - The earliest palm leaf manuscripts in Burma probably predated the Pagan period (1044-1287) when Buddhism found strong support among the regions powerful kings. - Palm leaf MSS were widely made + used in South DEast Asia. Because early Buddhist + Hindu texts were transmitted in such forms, their elongated horizontal format was adopted in such areas a Southe east Esia + the Himalays.
527 Foliophiles Santa Fe, N.M. Aug. '00 $25 (10)
Hebrew Pentateuch, with Targum + Saadiah's See #301 Arabic translation in alternate verses. Yemen - early 18th C. 9x12 7/8." folio. Manuscript written in black ink on heavy paper. 31-33 lines. The text is with vowels + accents; the Arabic unvocalized. The foliaated pages are written in an 18th C. Yemenite square (semi) script. The paper has chain + laid lines. Contains the text of Exodus 25: 33 - 26: 14 from the weekly protion Terumah (headline), including the masonetic texts with vocalization + accent signs, Taryusn Onkelos (the standard Aramic translation) with Babylonian superlinear vocalization, + Saadia Gaon's JudeoArabic paraphrase, alternating. The very beginning contains the final portion of the Judeo-Arabic version of Exodus 25: 32. The use of Babylonian superlinear vocalization, evidently 1st noted in the 12th C, continued in Yemen for centuries after other communities that employed it had abandoned it in favor of the predominant system used in my masoratic text.
- The oldest Yemenite manuscripts are those of the Bible. The Pentateuch was teh most popular part of the Yemenite Bible (called the Tadj or "crown"), and it was often prepared by the scribe in an independent Bible.
- The Jews of Yemen must have been in close touch with Babylonia, since they reckoned time according to the Seleucidan era. All the Hebrew manuscipts of Yemen, moreover show the superlinear, or Babylonian, system of punctuation.
- Capital letters are not used in Jewish script, + therefore Jewish scribes unlike their Christian counterparts did not usually enlarge the initials of a particular book or chapter. Often the scribe restricted himeslf to writing the consenantal text; the vowels + other markings, which are written below, inside or above the consonants, being added later by a "pointer' or "punctuator" (nakdan). Jewish scribes worked individually + there is no record of scriptoria on the Christian model. - In general Sefordi (Babylonian diasopora) scibes used reed pens, while the Ashkenazim (Palestinian) used quills. This meant that the letters of the former were of equal thickness throughout, while the latter were able to taper thine, particularly in their downstrokes. - The Torah (Five Books of Moses) is didvided into weekly portions. Since it is a religious duty to read the wekly protion of the Torah in Aramic Tanslation (Targum), this is sometimes inclueded in the manuscript. - Sa'Adya Gaon (Daadiah Ben Josept) 882-942. born in Egypt - was the earliest major Egyptian Jewish philosopher, translator of the Bible into Arabic, commentator, liturgical poet + for a short time 'Gaon' in Sura, Babylon (modern Iraq). - THe 1st pritned edition of the Pentateuch in Hebrew - Bologna: Abraham ben Hayyin, 25 Jan 1482, f^0. Goff Heb-18.