State Library of South AustraliaState Library of South Australia


Catalogue record

Creator: Upatissa

Reproduction rights are owned by State Library of South Australia. This image may be printed or saved for personal research or study. Use for any other purpose requires permission from the State Library of South Australia. To request approval, complete the Permission to publish form.

Format : Manuscript, 60 x 510 x 60mm

Donated by Mr RH Longden and the Friends of the State Library of South Australia.

This work tells the story of the arrival in Sri Lanka of a cutting from the Bodhi or Bo-tree, the tree beneath which the Buddha experienced enlightenment in Eastern India. The text is in Pali, the language of Buddhism, and is written in Sinhalese script on pages made from palm leaves. The text is ascribed to Upatissa. The library copy was copied in early 18th or perhaps late 17th century from the Sinhalese original which was written in about the 10th century. There is no clue as to its date or scribe.

To produce the writing on the leaves, a sharp stylus was used to make an impression in the leaf. Soot was then rubbed over the leaf, and rubbed off, leaving visible writing in the incisions. This action also protected the leaf from mould and insects.

Palm leaf books usually have painted wooden boards as covers. This example has heavy ivory covers, carved with traditional single floral leaf scrolls with petal borders.


Further reading


Search Treasures

Use the keyword search above for a quick search, or use our advanced search.

Current highlight


James S. Pearce, Kapunda Football Club, 1879, B 7437
View the Football in SA exhibitions.

Stay in touch

Subscribe to our e-news and stay in touch with the State Library of South Australia's news and events.




About the wall