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Devimahatmya Manuscript with Two Covers, 12th-17th century

Nepal, 1100-1699
Ink and pigment on palm leaves and wood
1-3/4 x 10-1/2 in. (4.4 x 26.7 cm)
Norton Simon Museum, Gift of Arnold H. Lieberman
P.2000.06.2.1-38
© 2012 Norton Simon Museum

On view

The Devimahatmya is a Hindu religious text that describes the victory of the goddess Durga over the bull-demon Mahishasura. The text explains that several male gods endowed Durga with their powers so that she could destroy Mahishasura who threatened to annihilate the world. The following four pages come from a 12th century Nepalese example of this text.

Early South and Southeast Asian manuscripts were produced on palm leaves whereby leaves from the palm tree are cut to a uniform rectangular size, soaked in an herbal mixture to provide protection against insect damage, dried, and then inscribed with text. Such manuscripts varied in size as demonstrated by the wooden book cover to the right, which once protected palm leaf pages from a larger manuscript.


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