Sacred Buddhist text or Kamawa-Sa, being Burmese ms on lacquered brass sheets

Scope and Content

13 x brass sheets lacquered recto verso with black text, and gilt decorations, on dark red lacquer background. Loosley collected inside 2 x red lacquer and gilt wooden board covers.

The ornate script is called 'Magyi-zi' or tamarind Seed, written in the Pagan style. Brass sheets were introduced late in the 19th century and area relatively uncommon format.

Administrative / Biographical History

Pali Kammavacha (Kamawa-Sa) is the most popular illuminated text among the Burmese. A ritual text, it consists of certain sections extrapolated from the well-known Vinayapitaka that were used at meetings of the order. The section regarding higher ordination is deemed especially important. Other passages are concerned with such mundane matters as the bestowal of robes, election of elders, dedication of monasteries, settling of fast days, and release from monastic vows. Although these rules and regulations were strictly observed in other Theravada Buddhist countries, only in Burma were the manuscripts of the Kammavacha given such pre-eminence and so lavishly adorned.

Access Information

Access should be unrestricted but please check in advance of any consultation.

Archivist's Note

Catalogued by Graeme D. Eddie, 28 July 2016.

Geographical Names