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A collection of Sinhalese olas from Ceylon on medical subjects

Identifier: ghsl-2

  • Staff Only

Content Description

The collection consists of 25 Sinhalese olas (manuscripts written on palm leaves) from Ceylon on medical subjects, written between 1400 and 1770 ce, by Vederalas (native Ceylon doctors). The collection also includes some miscellaneous palm leaves with writing that are fragments from other non-medical olas.


  • approximately 1400-1770


2 Boxes ; 10 X 52 X 42 cm

Language of Materials

Multiple languages


The olas are kept in two boxes that are arranged in chronological order.

Condition Description

The olas are fragile but in fair to good condition.

Physical Description of the Olas

The olas consist of either Talipot or Palmyra palm leaves, which in some cases are held between two lacquered board covers by a cord (wound around the ola) attached at one end to a button or medallion, and at the other to a ball, tassle, or simple knot. The covers are not original but are modern following the original design. Other olas are just tied together with a cord, or the leaves are joined accordion style and housed in archival envelopes. The writing on the palm leaves was done using a sharp stylus (an example of which is included in the collection).

Guide to the collection of Sinhalese olas on medical subjects in the Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center
Tony Olson
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
  • Sinhalese olas or book-manuscripts written on prepared palm-leaves and how they were made / by Andreas Nell.

Repository Details

Part of the Galter Health Sciences Library & Learning Center Repository

320 E. Superior Ave.
Chicago IL 60611-3008 US