Orissa State Museum, Bhubaneshwar : The Orissa State Museum began as a subsidiary of Ravenshaw College's Department of Histoiy. However, over the years it has become one of the premier institutions of the state with a wide range of antiquities representing the region's rich cultural heritage. The galleries cover archaeology, epigraphy, numismatics, armoury, mining and geology, painting, anthropology and manuscripts.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.
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