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Palm leaf fan
MFA# 1976.488


Embroidered rattan by Lillian Elliot, MFA# 2004.430

A common name for over 2000 species of tropical evergreen trees from the Palmaceae group. Palm trees typically have a single unbranched trunk topped with fronds. Palms are an important source of oil and food, i.e. coconut, date, sago, etc. Fibers from the leaves of the palm trees are used for baskets, mats, and cords. The leaves and stems have also been used to make household items and books (see Rattan and Palm leaf). The areca nuts from betel palms (Areca catechu) have also been used as food as well as to produce a tan/orange/brown dye.

Jain manuscript on palm leaf, MFA# 30.1.1-229

Synonyms and Related Terms

Palmaceae; palm tree; Palme-familien (Dan.); Palmengewächse (Deut.); Palmera (Esp.); Arécacées (Fr.); palmiers (Fr.); palma (It.); Palmenfamilie (Ned.); Palmbomen (Ned.); Arekowate (Pol.); palmowate(Pol.); Palmeira (Port.)

Additional Images

Resources and Citations

  • A.Lucas, J.R.Harris, Ancient Egyptian Materials and Industries, Edward Arnold Publishers Ltd., London, 4th edition, 1962
  • The American Heritage Dictionary or Encarta, via Microsoft Bookshelf 98, Microsoft Corp., 1998