Balinese Language Extension Team of Buleleng Identifies around 2,000 Manuscripts

Balinese Language Extension Team of Buleleng Identifies around 2,000 Manuscripts

The Palm-Leaf Manuscript Conservation Festival in a series of activities for the Balinese Language Month IV in 2022 already entered its final series. The festival, posing the collaboration with the Balinese Language Extension Team in each district/municipality, lastly carried out palm-leaf manuscript conservation in Buleleng District on Friday (Mar 25).

The palm-leaf manuscript conservation this time is targeting the ones belonging to clan temple of Pasek Bendesa Gelgel at Banjar Kelod, Padangkeling customary village, Banyuning, Buleleng District, became the last palm-leaf manuscript Conservation Festival in the Balinese Language Month IV in 2022. The festival in collaboration with the Balinese Language Extension Team was held in each district/municipality in Bali during the implementation of the month-long Balinese Language Month. “There are two bundles of palm-leaf manuscript that we are conserving today. A manuscript has thickness of 99 sheets and another has 54 sheets,” said the Buleleng Coordinator Team of Palm-Leaf Manuscript Division, Nyoman Sujana, on the sidelines of the activity on Friday (Feb 25).

Sujana, accompanied by the Buleleng Coordinator of Balinese Language Extension, Putu Pertamayasa and Coordinator of Balinese Language Extension Counselor of Buleleng Subdistrict, Gusti Ngurah Arya Dwipayana, explained that there are two bundles of manuscripts, both of which are babad or chronicle. Both manuscripts can be saved because the surface of the manuscript is only dry and the writing (scratches) is not black, so it online remains to blacken. “Indeed, some manuscripts are broken because they are burned by incense during the temple festival,” explained Sujana.

The manuscripts are only cleaned of dust by the language extension team by using special tools. After that, the characters become clearer. The ingredients used include citronella oil liquid mixed with 95 percent alcohol and candlenut oil to blacken the writings. Then, it proceeds with identifying (listing) the type of palm-leaf manuscripts. The extension team cleans the surface of each sheet from dirt and dust by using a brush. “Then, it is done by applying lemongrass oil mixed with alcohol so that the surface is flexible. If the manuscript writing is unclear, then it is given roasted candlenut oil,” he explained.

In addition to conserving manuscripts, the Balinese Language Extension Team of Buleleng District also provides education related to care and storage so that the condition of the manuscript is always considered. “We ask the owner in order that the manuscript storage is not exposed to water and that the storage area is not too humid. This is part of the treatment as well,” he added.

At the request of the owner, the team also plans to transliterate the script into Latin script and later on it will be translated. “The existence of the palm-leaf manuscript is very much made sacred by its owner. Because no one is an expert in the field of reading Balinese scripts, at the time of piodalan or temple festival the manuscripts are only offered the oblations,” explained Sujana.

For the Buleleng District itself, the palm-leaf manuscript team of Balinese Language Extension officer in Buleleng District has succeeded in identifying and treating about 2,000 manuscripts during the period of 2017 until now. There are various types of lontar, including traditional healing, chronicle, almanac, chanted poems, Old Javanese poems, Kanda, Puja Mantra and others. Some belong to the residents, clan temple, village and Brahmin’s house. “In the sub-district areas of Buleleng, Banjar, and Sukasada, many palm-leaf manuscript belonging to residents of Buleleng were found,” he concluded. (BTN/015)

Anin Eka

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