Talipot Palm, [Sri Lanka]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Talipot Palm, in seed, with rice paddies in the distance, taken by an unknown photographer in Sri Lanka in the 1880s. The Talipot Palm (Corypha Umbraculifera) grows in Southern India, Sri Lanka and the Far East, and blooms once only, after reaching maturity at thirty plus years, it then dies after producing seed. Its very large fan-shaped leaves were used in the production of the palm-leaf manuscript books of South Asia; when cut and prepared through smoothing, boiling and drying, the finished leaf formed a long, narrow rectangle with a smooth, flexible,
pale brown surface. The text was either inscribed with a stylus or written with pen and ink and the leaves tied together in bundles to form the manuscripts.