Abstracts by Author
âChinese Historical Sources on Burma: A Bibliography of Primary and Secondary Works" pp.1-116
Sun Laichen's unique and valuable 100-plus page bibliography includes:
An annotated list of 135 Chinese primary sources on Burma from the pre-Tang through the Qing periods, complete with author-title index.
An introductory discussion of the availability and recent uses of these sources.
A list of introductions and collections of Chinese historical sources on Southeast Asia.
A list of Burmese, Chinese, English, French, and Japanese historical works on Burma that utilize the Chinese primary sources. Chinese names and book titles are shown in Chinese characters and in roman transcription.
"Notes on Burmese Manuscripts: Text and Image" pp.229-253
While recent cataloguing work in Myanmar, Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Thailand has served to greatly enhance our knowledge of Burmese, Sanskrit and Pali texts transmitted in Burmese manuscripts, we still lack adequate descriptive and critical studies of manuscript-related practices and mentalities in pre-modern Burma. The present note is concerned with the development of manuscript ornamentation. It examines the varieties of Burmese manuscript textual supports and their histories, the scope of genres that received decoration, and the technologies associated with ornamentation.
"The Self-conscious Censor: Censorship in Burma under the British 1900â1939" pp.64-101
It is often assumed that censorship was not used to any great degree by British authorities in Burma. Yet, by looking at the way the British colonial government reacted to a variety of media including traditional Burmese drama, western blockbuster movies, and Burmese political pamphlets agitating against colonial rule, it is possible to see that censorship was very much a part of the British administration. British authorities censored pamphlets, books, dramas, and movies not only to contain political thought contrary to colonialism, but also to control the image of British officials as seen in the eyes of the Burmese.
Jacques P. Leider
"Text, Lineage, and Tradition in Burma: The Struggle for Norms and Religious Legitimacy Under King Bodawphaya (1782â1819)" pp.82-129
Jacques P. Leider is a French historian following in the footsteps of U Pe Maung Tin, who pioneered the academic study of Burmese history through the editing, translating, and interpreting of primary textual sources. Leider examines a little-studied period of Burmese history, the reign of King Bodawphaya, whose radical attempts at religious reform laid the groundwork for the later 19th century monastic reform movement in Burma.
"Specialists for Ritual, Magic, and Devotion: The Court Brahmins (Punna) of the Konbaung Kings (1752â1885)" pp.159-202
Though they formed an essential part of Burmese court life, the Brahmins have hitherto attracted no scholarly interest outside Burma. Based on a study of royal orders and administrative compendia as well as recent Burmese research, this article gives for the first time an overview of the origins, the ritual and ceremonial functions and the organization of the punna. The main section is preceded by an overview of sources and research questions. Special emphasis is given in the last part to the noteworthy role played by punna in King Bodawphayaâs reform policies.
âFootnote to Burmese Economic History: The Rise and Decline of the Arakan Oil Fields" pp. 47-76
After the annexation of Upper Burma in 1886, the modern Burmese oil industry expanded at Yenangyaung, the long-standing center of hand-dug wells worked by twinza. An earlier attempt to establish a commercial industry in Arakan in the late 1870s was thereby eclipsed. On the islands off the Arakan coastâRamree, Cheduba, and the Boronga IslandsâBritish explorers had drawn attention to oil pools and seepage. In 1878, the first modern oil well in Burma was drilled on Eastern Boronga Island. However, the eager oil speculators had not done their homework, and the Arakan oil industry declined because the oil-fields were poor producers and thus not economically viable for mass production. The Arakan experience nonetheless influenced the early commercial exploitation of the Yenangyaung fields.
"Yenangyaung and its Twinza: The Burmese Indigenous "Earth-Oil" Industry Re-examined" pp.17-48
In the early nineteenth century, the indigenous oil industry at Yenangyaung may have been the largest in the world. The article summarizes and evaluates the descriptions of nineteenth and early twentieth century European observers, with special attention to the pre-colonial uses of the oil, the legends about the site, the local institutions governing ownership of the wells, the indigenous methods of oil extraction, and the Europeansâ estimates of production levels.