Vatican Palimpsests Digital Recovery of Erased Identities [by A. Németh]


The manuscript, Vat. ind. 41, is folded like an accordion and was copied on the bark of Aquilaria Malaccensis, a tree in Indonesia. It contains two texts in the Batak language, one copied onto the surface of the other which had been repainted for a second use. The Batak language is spoken in Indonesia and on the island of Sumatra, where the manuscript was created. The two scripts are different and seem to have been produced in distant geographical locations on Sumatra island. One of them is the Mandailing-Batak script. It was used to describe the Pastaha, the magic book of the Toba Batak people. The other one is Simalungun Batak-script (Southern area of the island). This is a very rare example of a palimpsest manuscript copied on bark.

I acknowledge Delio Vania Proverbio for his identification of the upper and lower texts and scripts of this manuscript.

Vat. ind. 41