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Jakarta Post

US scholar brings ancient Balinese scripts to digital age

  • Ni Komang Erviani

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, January 14 2011   /  10:23 am

A theatre professor from Wesleyan University in New York, Ron Jenkins, is leading a team of workers in transcribing ancient Balinese scripts written on lontar palm leaves at the library of Bali Cultural office in Denpasar on Thursday.

Page by page, the lontar scripts were recorded using a DSLR camera and a computer.

“We will digitalize the entire lontar script collection and translate the contents of the scripts into three languages, Balinese, Indonesian and English, and enable people to read them from the Internet,” Jenkins said.

The dried and treated leaf of the lontar palm (Borassus flabellifer) was widely used for centuries in Java, Lombok and Bali and is still in use in Bali.

Inscriptions were mostly in the old Javanese language of Kawi and ancient Balinese. The lontar inscriptions contain old works including the famous Ramayana and Mahabharata Hindu ...