c. Early 15th Century
Paper, gold, lacquered and gilded
h. 9 in.
w. 4/28 in.
d. 3 11/16 in.
Gift of Konrad and
Sarah Bekker, 1986
[Kamawa] Tripitaka. Vinayapitaka. Karmavacana. Kammavaca. (1922) Text used in ordination service of monks. Written in Pali (Burmese script). 2 sets (both incomplete) 15 leaves. 2 covers c. Early 15th Century. Long narrow manuscript with two wooden covers and fifteen palm-leaf pages, all are red lacquered with gilded decoration. The covers each have one hole and the pages each have two holes. The edges of the covers along the outer side are beveled. The inner sides are left plain red lacquered while the outer sides have gilded designs. The pages contain four rows of letters in black lacquer in Old Pali script called magyi-zi or tamarind seed writing. The only pages differing from the four letters of lettering on each side are the two end pages which contain no writing but only gilded decoration on one side and the other sides contain both writing and gilded decorative motifs.
Gilded decoration on the covers: The primary motif consists of a circular design, which is repeated eight times along the length of the cover. Each circle is connected by a rope-like band which goes around each circle twisting once and then encircling the next motif. Floral motifs fill in the space between these circular motifs and the parallel lines of the borders. The borders contain repeated small circles and diamond shapes within the parallel lines of the border, which runs along each side. At the very ends there is a form of kya-hlan border, a band of lotus petals. The same design is repeated on each cover. On the inside of one cover there is a piece of tape and white sticker with 798 written in black marker. Gilded decoration on the end pages: The end pages have a similar design as the covers with only slight variation. The central eight circular motifs are reduced to six on the pages. Each is enclosed in a square with stepped corners. A rope-like band connects each motif as well although it evolves into smaller oval floral motifs in between each circular motif. Borders contain very small circles and a rope-like motif, perhaps a form of la-cheik or the S-shaped border. The band of lotus petals or kya-hlan border on each end is elongated and the petals are taller and more pointed. The inner sides of these pages contain both writing and decoration. At each end there is a circular motif similar to the motifs found on the other side of the page and containing diamond shapes in the borders and the end borders also contain kya-hlan design, which is elongated. In between the motifs there are four short rows of writing. Gilded decoration on the other pages: Four rows of black lacquered writing are interspersed with areas of cross-hatching with an occasional sprig-like motif occurring singly or in pairs throughout the manuscript. A 3/4 inch border at the end again contains kya-hlan border design.