Heritage & Conservation

Mon Palm Leaf Manuscripts

Compilation, Conservation and Digitization

1 July 2011 to 30 September 2012



There is a large number of old Mon palm-leaf Manuscripts in Buddhist temples of Mon communities and villages in Thailand.  Except for some sporadic research at some temples, most of them are kept without proper conservation and compilation.  Many researchers would benefit from understanding what were written in these manuscript texts.  Moreover, these Mon palm-leaf texts are subject to the danger of destruction by termites, theft and natural decay.  The aim of this project is to survey Mon temples so as to compile, catalogue, and select important texts for translation into the English language for dissemination.  This will be followed by measures of conservation and documentation.  The manuscripts have significant historical and cultural values as Mon documentary heritage.

Target group/Beneficiaries

Mon and Thai students and researchers, and international researchers as well.


  • survey Mon community villages and temples
  • study and make compilation and catalogues
  • selection and translation of important Mon palm-leaf texts
  • conduct workshop/seminar to educate the monks and Mon communities, who possess keeping these palm-leaf texts, on how to preserve and appreciate their importance in culture and history
  • publish the translated texts for dissemination.


Background Information

The compilation and conservation of Mon documentary heritage in Thailand adhere to SEAMEO SPAFA’s objective “to cultivate awareness and appreciation of the cultural heritage through collaboration in information dissemination”.

A large number of old Mon palm-leaf manuscripts, which are kept at Mon community temples, are gradually disappearing due to destruction by insects, theft, the enshrining in the relic-chamber when a new Chedi is built, or the practice of burning the leaf manuscripts for ashes to use in making lacquered Buddha images.  There is, therefore, an urgent need to survey the Mon temples, compile and catalogue the Mon palm-leaf manuscripts, as well as establish how many important Mon palm-leaf manuscripts are kept in which temples.  Preservation of the old manuscripts by using chemicals, and by digitized documentation, follows.



The specific objective of this project is to preserve the endangered old Mon manuscripts as documentary heritage for study and dissemination of cultural and historical information among Mon, Thai, and international researchers.



  • compilation/digitization of Data Information Sheets after studying these old Mon palm-leaf texts
  • compilation of catalogues
  • translation of rare and important Mon palm-leaf manuscript texts.
  • publication of translated books



  • Publication of Catalogue for each temple where old Mon palm-leaf texts are kept
  • Publication of translated texts on Mon culture, tradition and history.
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