On 5th December 2019, we visited the cultural library at UPT Perpustakaan Lontar. We get a chance to learn about the history of lontar, knew the process of making lontar from Enau leaf also we learned a lot about lontar. Our study visit program held on Thursday at 14.00 AM at UPT Perpustakaan Lontar on Pulau Nias Street No.13. The library located in the central of cultural faculty at Udayana University.
Actually, before we come to the library, we already made an appointment to visit there. We met up with one of the staff there. He explains to us briefly a lot about lontar, the history and types, step to write ancient alphabet (aksara) above the lontar leaf, process of creating lontar leaf until its ready to use, maintenance of lontar also He allowed us to see some lontar which knotted at the library for almost 50 years.
Before we go any further, There are still many who do not know about what is Lontar? Hows the shape? Or does anyone already know, but haven’t seen the Lontar directly?. Therefore, lontar is manuscript of society in Bali which is contain with rich of meaning. The heritage and tradition of lontar has come quite oldly. In Bali are often found the ancient lontar that have historical value, philosophy, faith, healing, literature and other knowledge.
Inheritance of lontar tradition in Bali continues from generation to generation. Lontar writing activities has been still ongoing until now, reading activities of lontar still exist and research about Lontar developing from time to time. Various types of literary works written on lontar leaf, such as kekawin, geguritan, architecture knowledge (Asta Kosali & Asta Kosala) and poems are contained at the library. Process of crafting lontar taking a long time period. It will be used as the media to write the alphabet. Lontar are made from Tan/Rotan leaf. It can last for long time.
Crafting process taking long time period. Starting from picking the alternative rattan leaf to use which have ideal criteria with 20 cm length. After that, the leafs processed by boils it. Then, dried not under the sunlight, continue with leaf pressed and stacked together with other leaf.
For the maximal result, leaf often press and stack for more than a year. It will give the best result of leaf with excellence quality including the shape of a leaf which is straight and flat, not concave/convex. Now, the process done with three months periods only, because of the demand of lontar in a great quantity. After lontar leaf created and prepared for writing media, There are view tools to prepare liked pengerupakan (kind of knife, used for writing/carving above lontar), lemongrass oil which used to spread lontar in order to make it still dry and not moldy, also roasted candlenut.
Lontar placed on wood box (klopah) with length must be longer then lontar size. This is useful so that lontar is not fragile when taken if its size is larger. In addition, temperature room to place it must be around 20-24 degree celsius. Every year, lontars at the library will be cleaned and taking care one by one by layering it with lemongrass oil, and then placed in warm temperature before finally being stored in a storage box.
During our visit to UPT Perpustakaan Lontar, we gained new experience and knowledge about lontar history and the process of making lontar. We also got a chance to write above lontar. We hope that in the future we can continue to preserve lontar.