Creating an Illustrated Palm-Leaf Book


    Archeologists have discovered palm-leaf books from India that date back to around 550 C.E. Ancient Indian books were usually devoted to religious topics and had a wooden cover. Books from south India had pages made of palm leaves, while books from north India had pages made of birch bark. Ancient bookmakers carved writing into the leaf or bark and then rubbed ink on the carving to fill it in. Painters later added illustrations to the books, using mineral-based paints and brushes made of wood and animal hair. The books were held together by a single string that ran through a hole in the center of the pages. When reading palm-leaf books, people placed them on a flat surface and turned each page from bottom to top.

Step 1: Download, print, and read the following directions:    Creating an Illustrated Palm-Leaf Book

Step 2: Download, print, and read over the following evaluation form:    Illustrated Palm-Leaf Book Project Evaluation

Step 3: Use your previous work from this Ancient India Unit to fill out the following chart:   

                    Brainstorming Ideas for an Illustrated Palm-Leaf Book

Step 4: Create your Illustrated Palm-Leaf Book using the following graphic organizer:    Layout for an Illustrated Palm-Leaf Book

Supplemental Website Links:

How to make a palm leaf book

Leaf-books and the Art of Writing in Ancient India

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