Lontar Books

Lontar is made from the fan-shaped leaves of the rontal palm. The leaf is dried, soaked in water, cleaned, steamed, dried again, then flattened, dyed and eventually cut into strips. The strips are inscribed with words and pictures using a very sharp blade or point, then coated with a black stain which is wiped off – the black colour stays in the inscription. A hole in the middle of each lontar strip is threaded onto a string, with a carved bamboo 'cover' at each end to protect the 'pages', and the string is secured with a couple of kepeng (Chinese coins with a hole in the centre).

The Gedong Kirtya Library in Singaraja has the world's largest collection of lontar works.