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Subject: Banana Leaf Manuscripts

Banana Leaf Manuscripts

From: Geoffrey I. Brown <geoffrey.i.brown>
Date: Friday, March 11, 1994
In response to Amy Lapidow's posting on banana leaf manuscripts, I can't
think of too many things that would be worse than kerosene.  I have not
worked on banana leaf specifically, but I have worked on palm leaf books
and pages as well as other artifacts constructed of leaf materials.
There are many questions to ask before recommending a treatment, but
kerosene will leave oily residues and discolor the leaves.  It may be
useless as a cleaning agent, depending on what substances you are trying
to remove. I would encourage tests with the old standby, 50% ethyl
alcohol/50% deionized H2O or some other proportion of these solvents.
The first concern is, of course, solubility or instability of the inks.
Leaves used in this manner are invariably very brittle and unforgiving
of inappropriate handling or attempted treatments.  Some consolidants I
have used will provide some help in terms of imparting a little more
flexibility, less moisture sensitivity, and a tougher surface.  Beware
of resins that tend to shrink with age as they could potentially destroy
the fragile leaves.  Good Luck.

Geoffrey Brown
Curator of Conservation
Kelsey Museum
University of Michigan

                  Conservation DistList Instance 7:65
                  Distributed: Monday, March 14, 1994
                        Message Id: cdl-7-65-001
Received on Friday, 11 March, 1994

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