Burmese Kamavaca Manuscript with Metal Leaves
AGE: – More than 150 years
CONSTRUCTION: – Metal pages, possibly copper, or tin with decorative wooden end covers, some corners damaged
LENGTH: – 51cm
WIDTH: – 10cm
WEIGHT: – 2.05 kg includes original cover and sasigyo
#01 – PRICE: CONTACT
Antique Burmese Kamavaca Manuscript with Metal Leaves has wooden gilded end covers inscribed with mythological beings from Burmese myth and folklore. This kamavaca comes with covering and intricately handwoven sasigyo. This kamavaca is a little narrower than the more traditional Burmese kamavaca which is usually between 14 and 15 cm wide and made with the cloth of a monks robe stiffened with lacquer.
This Kamavaca has been well used as can be seen by the wear on the front covers and edges of the pages and may indicate that it is older than we have the knowledge to tell, most of these kamavaca don’t have any reference to dates unless is written inside the front cover, or that it may have been a special kamavaca used by a head monk.
All pages are intact and is complete with 16 pages, however some corners show wear and expose the metal underneath, but not enough to detract from the beauty of this special Kamavaca. The manuscript leaves and covers are pierced on either end to permit the insertion of a binding ribbon or bamboo stick to hold the pages together.
In Myanmar, the kamavaca is also referred to as kammawa-sa and consists of text relating to the formal monastic acts, rules, and ceremonies prescribed in the Vinaya, (one of the ‘three baskets’ of the Tipitaka), that establish the codes of conduct for monks living in monasteries.
The text written on each side of the leaf is written in the Pali language using the lacquer from the ‘tamarind seed’ (magyi-zi). The internal pages are protected by ornately painted and gilded wooden covers. The manuscript is usually stored in a special receptacle or kamavaca chest within the monastery and taken out and used on special occasions.
These ornate manuscripts are largely a Burmese tradition and was customary for a Burmese family to commission or donate a Kamavaca on the ordination of their son when he officially becomes a monk,or donated to the monastery as an act of merit.