Burmese Gold Laquered Kammavaca - Late 19th Century


IM-11731:  19th century Burmese Kammavaca book complete. Composed of two covers and sixteen tablets.  The individual lacquered leaves each measure 5 1/8 x 22 ¼’’ – 130 x 565mm. The covers are red laquer on the back - the remaining leaves have text on both sides).

The Kammavaca is a sacred manuscript of disciplinary formulae for the regulation of Buddhist monastic life, and among the most sacred of Burmese texts.  They are typically written on gold lacquered palm leaves. Around the latter half of the 17th century a square type of writing executed in thick resinous black lacquer (called “tamarind seed”) became the preferred script for Kammavaca  - which reached their apogee during the Konbuang Dynasty (1752-1885).

Ref:  Albertine Gaur: A History of Writing, p. 114.

  • Inventory Number: IM-11731