Imaging Technology Restores Damaged Madhva Text

Scientists who labored at the Archimedes Palimpsest are the usage of present-day imaging technologies to digitally restore a seven hundred-12 months-old Vaishnava palm-leaf manuscript. The assignment, led by way of P.R. Mukund and Roger L. Easton Jr., professors at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York, will digitally preserve the unique writings called the Sarvamoola-granthas, attributed to the scholarly preceptor Sripada Madhvacharya (1238-1317). The series of 36 works consists of his Sanskrit commentaries on sacred scriptures and conveys an exposition of his philosophical machine (popularly referred to as Dvaita Vedanta, to emphasize its departure from Sripada Sankaracharya’s in advance system of Advaita Vedanta).

The document is tough to deal with and to study, the end result of centuries of inappropriate garage strategies, botched renovation efforts, and degradation due to unsuitable handling. Each leaf of the manuscript measures 26 inches long and inches huge (66cm X 5cm), and is bound collectively with braided wire threaded via holes. Heavy timber covers sandwich the 340 palm leaves, cracked and chipped at the edges. Time and an inaccurate utility of oil have aged the palm leaves dark brown, obscuring the Sanskrit writings.

It is literally crumbling to dust, says Mukund, the Gleason Professor of Electrical Engineering at RIT. According to Mukund, 15 percentage of the manuscript is lacking. The book will by no means be opened once more, until there’s a compelling cause to accomplish that, Mukund says, due to the fact every time they do, they lose a few. After this, there may not be a need to open the book.

Mukund first has become involved with the assignment while his nonsecular trainer in India introduced the problem to his interest and entreated him to find a solution. This has become a personal intention for Mukund, who studies and teaches Sanatan-dharma and understood the importance of retaining the document for destiny scholars. The accuracy of current printed copies of the Sarvamoola-granthas is unknown.

Mukund sought the knowledge of RIT colleague Easton, who had imaged the Dead Sea Scrolls and is currently operating on the Archimedes Palimpsest. Easton, a professor at RIT Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science, delivered in Keith Knox, an imaging senior scientist at Boeing LTS, as a representative. Mukund added Ajay Pasupuleti, a doctoral candidate in Microsystems at RIT, and the group changed into fashion.

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The scientists traveled to India in December 2005 to assess the record stored at a monastery-like matha in Udupi, India. Sponsored via a furnish from RIT, the group lower back to the monastery in June and spent six days imaging the report using a scientific digital camera and an infrared filter to beautify the evaluation between the ink and the palm leaf. Images of every palm leaf, front and back, had been captured in 8 to ten sections, then processed and digitally stitched collectively.

“The imaging is reasonably truthful,” said Easton. The leaves, or what remained of them, were laid out on a movable tabletop. Like an assembly line worker, Pasupuleti spent hours a day advancing the tabletop a short distance, taking a picture after which repeating the procedure. Each photo protected a -inch (5cm X 5cm) square of the leaf. The summer season changed into spent digitally sewing the 7,900 photographs together – paintings overseen in massive part by means of Knox, using various picture-processing algorithms using Adobe Photoshop and Knox’s custom software.

This is a completely significant utility of the equal types of equipment that we’ve got used at the Archimedes Palimpsest, Easton says. Not incidentally, this also has been one of the maximum fun initiatives in my career, for the reason that outcomes may be of extremely good interest to a big number of people in India.

The processed photos of the Sarvamoola-granthas can be saved in a spread of media formats, together with electronically, in posted books and on silicon wafers for long-time period renovation. Etching the sacred writings on silicon wafers become the idea of Mukund’s student Pasupuleti. The manner, called aluminum metallization, transfers a photograph to a wafer by means of developing a bad of the image and depositing steel at the silicon surface. According to Pasupuleti, every wafer can hold a picture of three leaves. More than a hundred such wafers might be needed to save the entire manuscript. As an archival fabric, silicon wafers are both fireproof and water-proof and are readable with using a magnifying glass.

Mukund and Pasupuleti will go back to India at the quiet of November to give revealed and digital versions of the Sarvamoola-granthas to the monastery in Udupi in a public rite in Bangalore, the biggest town within the Karnataka area. We experience we have been blessed to have this possibility to do that, Mukund says. It becomes a super and profoundly nonsecular enjoy, and all of us came away cleansed.

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Based on the achievement of this challenge, Mukund is looking for investment to image different Dvaita-sampradaya Vaishnava manuscripts within the Udupi region written for the reason that time of Sripada Madhvacharya. He estimates the life of about 800 palm leaf manuscripts, some of which are in non-public collections.

Each palm leaf of the sacred manuscript, the Sarvamoola-granthas, become captured in a couple of sections, processed and digitally stitched collectively. The quite blurred photo suggests the circumstance of an original leaf from the text, stitched together but unprocessed. The sharper image indicates a stitched and processed web page after making use of contemporary imaging technologies. Images were taken via Roger Easton, from Rochester Institute of Technology, and Keith Knox, from Boeing LTS, the usage of a Sensys scientific digital camera and an infrared filter out.

Lee Hogan

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