Traditional Techniques of Conservation in India

Before the advent of modern technologies and use of chemicals in India, many traditional methods were adopted for the conservation of written documents. Invariably, materials of permanent nature and good durability like hand made paper made of natural fiber cotton were used. This was manufactured by soaking cotton in milk and lime, which left alkaline reserves on it. 

We have in our repositories materials as old as one thousand years still in good condition. We can therefore claim that our traditional methods of conservation are no less effective than modern techniques. Some of the popular traditional methods used are sulphur-impregnated paper which originated in Nepal; use of neem leaves camphor, cloves, turmeric, black cremin, tobacco, sandalwood etc. Books and paper were invariably wrapped tightly in a square red or yellow colored cotton cloth. This practice possibly helped to keep dust from reaching the books, prolonged its life by excluding ultra violet rays and insects.