Abstracts by Author

Susanne Prager

Volume 8
"The Coming of the “Future King: Burmese minlaung Expectations Before and During the Second World War" pp.1-32

Throughout the history of Burma we come across rebellions often led by so-called “future kings,” minlaungs. In western historiography, minlaung-movements are usually attributed to the pre-colonial past, whereas rebellions and movements occurring during the British colonial period are conceived of as proto-nationalist in character and thus an indication of the westernizing process. In this article, the notion of minlaung and concomitant ideas about rebellion and the magical-spiritual forces involved are explained against the backdrop of Burmese-Buddhist culture. It is further shown how these ideas persisted and gained momentum before and during World War II and how they affected the western educated nationalists, especially Aung San whose political actions fit into the cultural pattern of the career of a minlaung.

Oliver B. Pollak

Volume 3
“Robert Talbot Kelly and 'Picturesque' Burma" pp.35-45

Robert Talbot Kelly, through his art and his 1905 publication, Burma Painted and Described, provides a visual and textual account of colonial Burma that was subsequently marketed in England and America. Travelogues served as a form of voyeuristic education about the exotic for the stay-at-home adventurer. Postcolonial scholarship, to some degree assisted by Edward Said's Orientalism, now permits a reanalysis of both the art and the written texts of travel literature for what they say about cultural attitudes during the age of high imperialism, and in particular about Kelly's use of the word picturesque as a literary and artistic descriptor.

Catherine Raymond

Volume 14
"The Seven Weeks: A 19th Century Burmese Palm-Leaf Manuscript" pp.255-267

This paper describes in detail aspects of a rarely viewed palm-leaf manuscript illustrating classical Burmese cosmology. This manuscript, BC.9641A-025-031, dating from Burmese Era 1256 (CE1894), is a part of the Burma Art Collection at Northern Illinois University. This study analyzes only eight leaves, of which the focal image is reproduced as the cover illustration of the latest Journal of Burma Studies (14). The visual analysis based in part on our translation of the texts incorporated within the various illustrations provides a key to understanding the iconography of the Seven Sites, or the Seven Weeks Preceding the Buddha’s Enlightenment; as combined with the symbolic geography of the Sixteen Sacred Lands. Although the present work concentrates only on the events around the Enlightenment, the complete manuscript comprises a 110 page folio (some 55 folded leafs), including depictions of Mount Sumeru and the Three Realms, the Lake Anotatta and the Four Rivers, and the cross section of the Four Islands and the Buddhapada.

Charlotte Reith

Volume 1
"Comparison of Three Pottery Villages: Shan State Burma" pp.45-82

During my visit from 1991-1994 to three pottery-producing villages in Shan State, I was struck by the differences in technology and product. Contrary to my assumption that this small area would evidence a shared technology and similar products, I found three distinctly differing pottery traditions. In some places in the world, membership in the same ethnic group seems to be an important factor in determining the techniques