Burmese Gold Laquered Kammavaca - Late 19th Century


19th century Burmese Kammavaca book composed of two covers and twelve tablets - now mounted as a pair of hangings on custom-made Royal Thai Silk.  Each silk panel has an overall measurement of 49" high and 26.5" wide.  The individual lacquered leaves each measure about 5” high by 20.5 “wide. The covers (top panel on each hanging) 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-11013