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