Dluwang Manuscripts from Royal Surakarta, Indonesia: Deterioration Phenomena and Care Practices

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This paper concerns a large Indonesian manuscript collection written on dluwang, a mulberry paper traditionally produced in Indonesia. This study documents the current condition and deterioration of these precious manuscripts at Rekso Pustoko, a royal library at the Mangkunegaran Palace, Surakarta, in the province of Central Java. Rekso Pustoko is one of the oldest libraries in Indonesia. Manuscript and environmental condition surveys and structured interviews were conducted to gain an understanding of the history of care and current condition of the collection and a detailed understanding of the damage that has occurred to the dluwang manuscripts. The manuscripts are in a relatively damaged condition. Most of the damage is associated with use and environmental conditions from pre-modern times, including previous storage conditions and pest damage. Issues discussed are temperature and relative humidity, enclosures, storage cabinets, pest control, access, and handling. The interview responses provide insight into the history of care and the current concerns, which also reveal that limited resources (financial, facilities, training to gain new expertise) are obstacles at present. This study results in recommendations to minimize the risks of future deterioration of the manuscripts. These recommendations include improvements to the depository and storage cabinet environmental conditions and the development of modern pest management following integrated pest management standards, as well as professionalizing holistic preservation care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)289-301
Number of pages13
JournalStudies in Conservation
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 26 May 2021


  • Dluwang manuscripts
  • Mangkunegaran
  • manuscript
  • manuscript deterioration
  • Surakarta


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