Antique Burmese Buddhist Kammavaca Pali Manuscript
AGE: – 19th Century
LENGTH: – 59cm
HEIGHT: – 5cm
WEIGHT:– 2.6 kg.
#21a PRICE: AUD2,400 CONTACT
Antique Burmese Buddhist Kammavaca Pali Manuscript comprises two outer wooden covers and sixteen internal pages or leaves which make this a complete Kammavaca Pali manuscript. A Kammavaca is a type of Burmese Buddhist manuscript containing passages from the Pali canon related to the ordination and rituals of monastic life.
The word Kammavaca means “a matter of duty” and refers to the rules of conduct for the Buddhist clergy. Kammavaca manuscripts are usually commissioned by lay people as meritorious gifts for monasteries, especially when a son enters the order as a novice or a monk. They are written in an ornate script called “tamarind-seed” or “square” script, which is different from the round script used for other texts.
The Kammavaca manuscripts are made of various materials, such as palm leaf, cloth, ivory, metal or wood. The most common Kammavaca manuscripts in Burma are those that are gilded, with some rare Kammavaca made from ivory, and those that are decorated with gemstones, others have metal leaves plated in silver or gold. The Kammavaca manuscripts are considered sacred objects and are stored in special cabinets or shrines within the monastery. They are also used in ceremonial processions and displayed on altars during festivals. These Kammavaca manuscripts reflect the rich artistic and religious traditions of Burma and its Theravada Buddhist heritage.
The outside covers on this Kammavaca are incised with Burmese mythological figures and gilded with gold leaf. These covers show Kinaree and Kinarar, half-bird and half-human figures. They are a symbol of the Karenni states in Myanmar. They also represent the symbol of true love. The inside covers are made up of lacquered cloth from a monk’s robe and a thick resinous black lacquer from the tamarind tree used for the script.
Plain red lacquer coats the inside of each wooden end cover. On the inside front cover, there is a dedication in Burmese script, this script would more than likely show the name of the monk and the year in which he entered the monastery. The Pali script is written with the black sap from the black varnish tree (Melanorrhoea usitata).