Thursday 30 May 2024

Books resurrected

Restoration of books is a time-consuming process; however, the makeover the books get is priceless and adds years to our lives

Joyce Dias / The Goan | AUGUST 13, 2012, 08:29 AM IST
Books resurrected

Manuscripts,imprints (books which were printed using blocks of wood or metal), and rareprinted books, each wrapped in red cloth and enclosed in glass casings undercontrolled temperature and humidity conditions are stored in the Rare Bookssection of the Krishnadas Shama State Central Library in Panjim. The books are centuries old and might have succumbed tothe effects of time, had they not been conserved and fortified by the IndianNational Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) in 2005-06. “Therestoration process was funded by the National Archives of India and the Statefund,” said Carlos Fernandes, Curator of the Library.

Prominent amongthe restored books is the third edition of the manuscriptDiscurso Sobro Avinda de Jesu Christo Nosso Salvador Ao Mundo,famously known as the Krista Purana, published in 1654. The copy was found inSt Cajetan’s library in Old Goa by a Portuguese official Cunha Rivara(1842-1863). It was sent to the Basilica of Bom Jesus and then to LiceuNacional Afonso de Albuquerque inPanjim before finally landing at the Central Library

Fifty-fourmanuscripts, 11 imprints and 26 printed rare books were restored in a makeshiftlaboratory at the Central Library. The Material Heritage Divisionof INTACH, The Indian Council of Conservation Institutes (ICCI) takes care ofrestoration of books and paintings. “Various internal and external factors areresponsible for the deterioration of paper such as temperature and humidity, light,air pollution, biological growthand handling and storage,” saidK K Gupta, Consultant at INTACH. “Conservation is preventive and curative.” headds. “The major damage to books is caused due to improper handling and storageand use of cello tape to repair torn pages,” says Mamta Mishra, Director, INTACHICI, Lucknow.

When asked aboutthe costs of conservation, Nilabh Sinha, Principal Director, ICCI, INTACHsaid, “The cost depends on the extent of damage. The rate per sheet is Rs20-30. We also ensure that the conservation processes applied to the book isfully reversible.”

Truly, had notthe books been given a new lease of life through conservation, the knowledgecontained in them would be lost forever.

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