Abstract

What was the main principle behind the design strategies developed to prepare painted palm-leaf manuscripts in medieval South Asia? How did various Indic religious communities design their manuscripts? By bringing together surviving painted manuscripts of heterogeneous religious traditions as well as contemporaneous sculptural representations and textual sources relating to the ritual practices involving books, this study suggests that a book was conceived and designed as a temple in Indic context. Taking innovative design strategies of twelfth-century Buddhist manuscripts as a starting point, it also demonstrates how a larger, architectural approach can help us better understand the art of the book in India.

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