1162 Vintage Burmese Parabaik Manuscript on Palm Leaf

An essential medium in Burmese Buddhism the Parabaik is an accordian folded book containing stories that are narrated through words and pictures.

A Prabaik tells the story of Buddha on his way to the Bodhi tree where he attained enlightenment.

Parabaik manuscripts, common to Burma are constructed from crude, strong paper made of bamboo, bark, straw, or leaf fiber, sometimes referred to as sa. 

Palm leaf Parabaiks are not commonly found. They were intended as permanent works. Black parabaiks were sometimes used to produce early drafts of the highly illustrated sumptuously colored palm leaf manuscripts that have elaborate covers and encrusted with decoration.

This small Burmese manuscript, similar to kammavaca, consists of 2 wooden covers hand-painted 8 double sided palm leaf panels .

All bound together with thread.

One side features hand drawn illustrations of the Buddha life.

The other side features tightly scripted Burmese Pali text in its rounded form.

 Size Closed: 15.5cm x 5cm x 2.5cm
Size Open: 15.5cm  x 49cm

Estimated to be a well preserved piece from the late 1800s / early 1900s

Palm leaf Parabaiks are not common.

 

Other examples of Parabaiks may be seen in the archives of the British Library and the Princeton University Library.

A note from the Cornell University Library:

"Parabaik manuscripts, common to Burma, Cambodia, Laos, and Thailand are constructed from crude, strong paper made of bamboo, bark, straw, or leaf fiber, sometimes referred to as sa. White parabaiks are written in black ink on an uncolored surface; black parabaiks are written with a limestone or chalk pencil on a black surface Parabaiks are usually accordion-folded books, often lacking covers. The white parabaiks are sometimes richly illustrated in sumptuous colors and were obviously intended as permanent works. The black parabaiks were not intended to be permanent, as the writing may be easily erased. Research has found that black parabaiks were sometimes used to produce early drafts of palm leaf manuscripts or white parabaiks.
Some parabaiks have elaborate covers made from laminated paper, often encrusted with colored glass and precious stones"

 Estimated t be from the mid 1900s