Burmese Kammavaca Buddhist Prayer Manuscript


AGE: – More than likely 19th Century

CONSTRUCTION: – Covers teak wood, pages – cloth lacquered and gilded. Pali written in tamarind lacquer

DESCRIPTION: - Complete set 14 pages with two outside wooden covers. Gild worn with age but still very nice piece. This set has two matching end pages.

LENGTH: – 57.5cm
WIDTH: – 5cm inclusive of wooden covers
DEPTH: – 14cm
WEIGHT: – 2.85 kilo

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#315

Burmese Kammavaca Buddhist Prayer Manuscript

The Burmese have been making manuscripts dedicated to their Buddhist teachings for hundreds of years. This Burmese Kammavaca Buddhist Prayer Manuscript consists of 14 leaves with teak wood end covers. All monasteries in Myanmar would have a collection of this type of Kammavaca as well as the Palm leaf manuscripts and they play an important part in the religious life of the monks. The manuscripts themselves are a compilation of rules taken from the Vinaya and the Tipitaka that establish the general rules of conduct for monks living in monasteries.

Over the years they have been made in many different types of materials, such as copper, silver and ivory. This kammavaca is the more traditional type which is often constructed of monks’ cloth which has been treated, cut into a rectangular shape, then lacquered to create a solid but flexible sheet or leaf. It is then inscribed in the Pali language with tamarind seed lacquer, which is produced from a resin from the tamarind tree, it is then mixed with cinnabar; this gives a reddish tone to the black tamarind lacquer. The leaves are decorated with gold-leaf in the shwei-zawa technique, a process that requires a great deal of skill by the craftsmen. After drying, holes are punched through the leaves for binding to keep them together and in order. Teak wood covers protect the leaves, and the entire set is usually kept in a kammavaca manuscript box within the monastery or in cupboards.

Antique Burmese Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript 19th - Early 20th Century

Antique Burmese Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript

1st Page Antique Burmese Kammavaca Buddhist Prayer Manuscript 19th - Early 20th Century

2nd page Burmese antique Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript 19th - Early 20th Century

Outside Cover 1 Burmese antique Kammavaca Manuscript

Outside Cover of Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript

Outside and 1st page of Burmese Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript

Outside and 1st page of Burmese Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript

1st inside page Burmese antique Kammavaca Prayer manuscript

1st inside page Burmese antique Kammavaca Prayer manuscript

Burmese Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscript Pali Script


AGE: – 19th Century

CONSTRUCTION: – Palm leaf, covers wood, edges of palm leaves gilded

DESCRIPTION: - Wood covers look as though they are newly painted. This appears to be a complete set in excellent condition.

HEIGHT: – 17cm
LENGTH: – 48cm including covers
Each Palm leaf 5cm wide

WEIGHT:

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#314

Burmese Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscript Pali Script also referred to as Paysar have fascinated authors and scholars to produce Pali literary and religious works for hundreds of years. The Vinaya, is the monastic code handed down by Theravada Budhism in Ceylon.

The influence of Ceylon on Burma has been paramount in questions of monastic discipline, and the code drawn up by the ancient Sinhalese theras and has been carefully preserved by the Burmese fraternity in the letter and the spirit ever since its arrival in Burma in the eleventh century. A great deal of Vinaya literature, mostly explanatory and sometimes controversial, has grown up round the code from the time of the early commentators to the present day. The important works by Sinhalese authors on this subject formed the base of Burmese studies.

In 1879 a report on the subject was drawn up for the Government of India by Dr. Emil Forchhammer, Professor of Pali at Rangoon, who had begun a thorough search for manuscripts in monasteries and private collections. His premature death cut short a work full of promise. This and other reports of Forchhammer, on the archaeological remains of Arakan and Burma, are Government publications; and his studies of Buddhist law (published by Sir John Jardine with his own valuable Notes, 1882-3, and in the Jardine Prize Essay) are now extremely rare books, and the stores of knowledge they contain are not easily available.

Burmese Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscript Pali Script

Buremese Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscript #314

Burmese Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscript Pali Script

Burmese Palm Leaf Prayer Manuscript Pali Script

Burmese script on Palm leaf Manuscript

Burmese Palm Leaf manuscript

Side 2 Burmese Antique Palm leaf  Manuscript

Rare Antique Burmese Silver Kammavaca Manuscript


AGE: – Was told around 300 years old

CONSTRUCTION: – Cloth and lacquer, tamarind seed script

DESCRIPTION: - A rare silver gilt Kammavaca, it has 13 leaves, and two end covers. it has four pages with corners damaged and one corner on the outside cover is damaged. The two internal leaves on each end match.

HEIGHT: – 54.5 The leaves are slightly smaller than the covers
WIDTH: – 12cm
HEIGHT: – 3cm
WEIGHT:

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#311

Rare antique Burmese silver Kammavaca Manuscript” with silver gilt, most are gilded with gold or a mix of the two. Where the corners have been broken there are fragments of cloth showing in between the coatings of lacquer. The cloth used was often that of a venerated monk.

The Burmese script in this Kammavaca is written with the resin from the tamarind seed or lacquer. The inside leaves depict the Burmese mythological Devas on each end. The end covers depict four Devas on one and the mythological Hintha bird on the other, due to age and degradation of the lacquer they can only be seen when looking at them closely.

Interesting:
Theravada Tradition and the Burmese kammavaca.

The script within the kammavaca relates to the Tipitaka or Pali Cannon which form the doctrinal foundation of Theravada Buddhism which outlines the rules of conduct and teachings for the monks.

Rare Antique Burmese Silver Kammavaca Manuscript

Rare Antique Burmese Silver Kammavaca Manuscript

Cover on right hand side is shown from the inside, on the outside it is similar to the cover on the left

broken corner of Burmese silver kammavaca #311

Rare Antique Burmese Silver Kammavaca Manuscript #311

Rare Burmese Antique Silver Kammavaca

Pali script on Rare Burmese silver Kammavaca

Burmese Silver Kammavaca and cover

Side panel of inside of Silver Kammavaca  #311

Outside cover of Burmese antique Silver Kammavaca #311

Broken corner of inside corner of Burmese kamavaca #311

1st inside corner of page on Kammavaca is broken

Pali script on Rare Burmese silver Kammavaca

Rare Burmese antique silver kammavaca

Corner of outside cover is broken

Burmese Kammavaca Pali Prayer Manuscript


AGE: – Assuming 18th – 19th Century

CONSTRUCTION: – Teak wood covers bevelled around the edges, inner pages stiffened cloth lacquered and gilded with tamarind seed lacquer text

DESCRIPTION: - Two pages with corner broken, degradation of gild due to use and age. Not sure if this is a full set, there are sets that consist of only 14 pages but traditionally 16 and sometimes 18 pages.

LENGTH: – 59cm
WIDTH: – 13cm

SOLD

#902

A Burmese Kammavaca Pali Prayer Manuscript referred to also as kammawa-sa in Myanmar 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. This one consists of fourteen inner pages made from stiffened cloth and a teak wood cover at each end, all thickly coated with red lacquer, then gilded and the text painted on with tamarind seed lacquer. The outside cover and inside cover is illustrated with scrolling foliage and mythical figures from the world of Nats and Devas.

The substrate for the leaves of the manuscript are layers of cloth folded and stiffened with numerous coats of lacquer, but still flexible. It is resistant to water, heat, insects and bacteria. A red colouring agent, cinnabar (mercuric sulphide), ochre or paint, turns it vermilion. Although lacquer was used much earlier, making lacquer objects did not become a full-blown decorative art until the Ava period (AD 1287-1752). The art of lacquer, however, did not reach its zenith until the Kon-baung period (AD 1752-1885).

The kammavaca (kammawa-sa) are also made from different materials such as ivory, thin sheets of copper, cloth, palm-leaf and wood. Most often, as in this case, they are made with a foundation of cloth cut from monks’ robes. The manuscript leaves and covers are pierced to permit the insertion of a binding ribbon referred to as the Sarsekyo which holds it together. The leaves are inscribed in the Pali language using what is called ‘tamarind seed’ (magyi-zi) script. The leaves are protected by teak wood covers and the entire manuscript is usually stored in a special receptacle or kammavaca chest within the monastery and taken out and used on special occasions.

These ornate manuscripts devoted to Kammavaca text is largely a Burmese tradition, although the mon and Tai Khun have also produced Kammavaca texts. It was also customary for a Burmese family to commission a copy of the Kammavaca on the occasion of their son entering the monk hood or being ordained. Many of these kammavasa were neglected and strewn around the monasteries, so one cannot be absolutely certain without being able to read the pali script if they are an absolute full and complete set, for this reason I am selling this set at a reduced price because I am not absolutely sure that it is complete. Many of these leaves are being sold singularly for $100 to $150.

Burmese Kammavaca Pali Prayer Manuscript

Burmese Kammavaca Prayer Manuscript #902

Consists of 14 pages and two outside covers

Burmese Kammavaca cover of Prayer Manuscript

Inside cover Burmese Kammavaca Pali Prayer Manuscript  19th Century

19th Century Burmese Kammavaca Pali Prayer Manuscript  outside and inside cover Prayer Manuscript

Burmese Antique Kammavaca Manuscript Box

AGE: – 19th – Early 20th Century

CONSTRUCTION: – Wood, Thayo Lacquer and glass mosaic decoration and gild

DESCRIPTION: – Good condition, gild worn with age and thayo lacquer slightly chipped in a couple of places, have to look hard to find them.

LENGTH: – 83cm
HEIGHT: – 31cm
WIDTH: – 37cm
WEIGHT: – 7.50 kilo

#901

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Burmese Antique Kammavaca Manuscript Box

An impressive, highly decorative Burmese Kammavaca Manuscript Box, heavily decorated with Thayo lacquer showing nats, floral scrolls and glass mosaics with four bird carvings on each foot. These boxes are used to hold the Burmese religious manuscripts such as the Paysar palm leaf manuscripts and Kammavaca, they come in a variety of styles, lacquered with gold inlay and heavily decorated with thayo lacquer such as this piece.

Burmese Antique Kammavaca Box 19th - 20th Century  - thayo lacquer decoration

Burmese antique Kammavaca manuscript box showing Thao lacquer decoration #901

Inside view of Burmese antique Manuscript box

View from side of Burmese antique Kammavaca manuscript box #901

Top view of lid on Burmese Antique Kammavaca manuscript box #901