Orissa State Museum (Bhubaneswar)
About The Orissa state museum
It houses a rich collection of sculptures, coins, copper plates, stone inscriptions, lithic and bronze age tools, rare manuscripts written on palm leaves, traditional and folk musical instruments. Rare epigraphic records are preserved in the Epigraphy Gallery. A visit to the museum provides an instant overview of Orissa as it was and of course still is. The Handicrafts Museum has a splendid collection of stone sculptures, patta paintings, brass castings, horn toys and Orissa's famous silver filigree work. The Tribal Museum provides an insight into the tribal culture of Orissa.
The manuscript gallery here is significant as it contains some rare palm leaf manuscripts. The 50,000 manuscripts, some of which are beautifully illustrated, cover subjects as diverse as religion, philosophy, astronomy,astrology, poetry, science, medicine, mathematics, warfare and the crafts. The oldest manuscript dates to the 15th century though evidence reveals that this art existed as far back as the 6th century AD.
Palm leaves were dried and the Oriya script was incised into the leaf with a stylus.The manuscripts are incredibly rich in exquisite penmanship and are a repository of artistic expressions of that time. The costumes, jewellery, hairstyle and facial features are very similar to the Orissa temple sculpture. The scenery depicted is highly stylised and symbolic. The earliest palm leaf manuscript i the Abhinava Gita Govinda b-Chandra Das Dibakar Mishra by Sridhar Sharma, dated 1496.
A 1690 illustrated manuscript of Gita Govinda written by the 12th century poetjayadeva has 80 folios It displays the advanced writing technology of its time in its drawings on both sides of palm leaves, in rich primary colours undiminished bv time.