MATERIALS USED FOR MANUSCRIPTS – LEATHER

          Since leather was considered as impure in olden India except tiger and deer’s skin, the usage was very rare whereas it is seen as one of the important material for manuscripts in other countries like Egypt.

          Leather was used as black-board for drawing plans and to make a draft. Subandhu, 5th CE poet and author of Vāsavadattam refers leather as a writing material.

          विश्वं गणयतो धातुः शशिखठिनीखण्डेन तमोमषीयामे अजिन इव वियति संसारस्य अतिशून्यत्वात् शून्य बिन्दव इव विलिखिताः तारा व्यराजन्त।

      “The stars shone like ciphers drawn by the creator finding the world worthless, in the course of evaluating universe on the ink blank parchment like dark sky with Moon-chalk piece”

          Thus Subandhu compares the sky to that of parchment. Devīpurāṇa too says that palm leaf should be covered with leather. (चर्मणा सम्पुटीकृते)

      St.Petersberg collection from Kashgar is said to include some pieces of leather with Indian scripts. A black piece of parchment is reported to be among the manuscripts in Bṛhajjñāna kośa of Jaisalmir.

          Sri. S.K.Chatterji, mentions that the word “Pusta”, “Pustaka” and “Pustikā” meaning book are the names of parchment. If so, usage of leather for manuscripts in India from a long period can be claimed.

          Thus the usage of leather for writing manuscripts can be traced.

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