Or are you looking for Search the Archives?

Please complete the form to email this item.

Court parabaik

  • Place of origin:

    Mandalay (made)

  • Date:

    ca. 1878-1885 (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Unknown

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Paper with watercolour and gouache over Indian ink and pencil. Relief <font -i>thayo</font> (moulded) thitsi lacquer. Folding leaves of native paper made from the bark of the mahlaing (paper tree) "broussonetia papyrifera"

  • Museum number:

    IS.9-2004

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

A parabaik (a manuscript of paper folded into accordion like pages and used for writing and painting) of 75 leaves. Divided into five sections - each section containing descriptions and illustrations of the ceremonial costumes, regalia, orders, umbrellas, vehicles used on land and water, used by specific senior princes during the reign of King Mindon r. 1853-1875. Made from leaves of native paper made from the bark of the mahlaing (paper tree) broussonetia papyrifera. Watercolour and gouache over Indian ink and pencil. Cover of relief thayo (moulded) thitsi lacquer.

A broad yellow border runs the whole way along the bottom which also, in places, has a Burmese explanatory text.

1 red cover only with a raised pattern of foliate designs.

The first two folds (3 to 6) are blank except for a broad yellow border at the bottom of the pages.

Section I - folios 7 to 22;
The text at the bottom (running along folios 7 & 8; 9 & 10) addresses King Thibaw and states that "During the reign of your royal sire (King Mindon), the Convenor of the Fifth Buddhist Synod ..these pictures of [show] the ah si ah nin ah saung ah ywet (accoutrements and insignia) [which] were bestowed on his younger brother, the Aein Shay Min (Heir Apparent), the Kanaung Min, your Majesty".

Folios 7 & 8
Illustrate and describe his official wut lon (civil robe worn only at audiences), bwe phyu (scarf), salwe (multi-strand, gold, chain of office), baung (headdress) and pan na daung (gold ear tubes)

Folios 9 & 10
Illustrate and describe his official myee toe myee shay (military costume), the pair of shay bayet (chest and back guards); the one worn in front is also called a chet-phon or navel guard, his khar si (scarf for use as a belt), mauk yu (cap worn under the helmet) and the mauk toe (helmet).

Folios 11 & 12
Illustrate and describe the prince's betel containers, drinking water pot, spittoon, mirror, be-it (lacquer box for storing his headgear), pipe, tobacco box, tongs, footed tray, four gilded fans to be held by his attendants and one for himself, shoes and bowl.

Folios 13 & 14
Illustrate and describe the prince's gold dah (sword) and black cover, two dahs for his body guards, gilded straw hat, red hat?, collection of ceremonial spears, quiver full of arrows and bow enclosed in a red sack, on the extreme right a chun (elephant goad). The pair at the bottom are lanterns.

Folios 15 & 16
Six ceremonial umbrella-shaped gilded kyaing, gilded waw (palanquin) and five ceremonial gilded spears called monair hlan (the design probably originated from the Shan State on Mone).

Folios 17 & 18
Two types of howdahs, gilded forehead piece for the elephant, two tassels for his ears, horse furniture, saddle, saddle flaps etc., nine red painted double headed drums, two smaller drums, and various types of horns and a pair of cymbals.

Folios 19 & 20
Saddlecloth, an elaborately knotted piece to fit around the neck of the horse and another type of saddlecloth.

Folios 21 & 22
A gilded hlawgar (barge) with white yak-tail tassels at the stern, gilded oars and the rudder.

Folios 23 & 24 are blank

Section II - folios 25 to 34
The text at the bottom (running along folios 25 to 30) continues to address King Thibaw "During the reign of your royal uncle, the Bagan Min r. 1846-53, when your Majesty's royal sire, the Convener of the Fifth Buddhist Synod, the great lord Mintayagyi phayar [Mindon] had not yet attained kingship and was living in his mingala aein daw (royal residence reserved for senior princes), the great princes who attended the Hlootdaw (Privy Council) [Prince Mindon would have been one of them] were awarded this type of accoutrements and insignia, your Majesty".

Folios 25 & 26
Illustrate and describe the princes' official wut lon (civil robe worn only at audiences), bwe phyu (scarf), salwe (multi-strand, gold, chain of office), baung (headdress) and pan na daung (gold ear tubes).

Folios 27 & 28
Illustrate and describe the princes' official myee toe myee shay (military costume), the pair of shay bayet (chest and back guards); the one worn in front is also called a chet-phon or navel guard, his khar si (scarf for use as a belt), mauk yu (cap worn under the helmet) and the mauk toe (helmet).

Folios 29 & 30
Illustrate and describe the princes' betel containers, drinking water pot, spittoon, two gold dah (sword) and black sack for a broad sword, red hat?, red sack for a sword, ceremonial spear, quiver full of arrows and bow enclosed in a red sack. The pair at the bottom are lanterns

Folios 31 & 32
Illustrates & describe two types of howdahs, gilded forehead piece for the elephant, horse furniture, saddle, saddle flaps etc., saddlecloth, an elaborately knotted piece to fit around the neck of the horse and another type of saddlecloth.

Folios 33 & 34
Illustrate and describe nine red painted double headed drums, two smaller drums, and various types of horns and a pair of cymbals. A gilded hlawgar (barge) with white yak-tail tassels at the stern, gilded oars and the rudder.

Folios 35 & 36 (2 blank pages without yellow border)

Section III - folios 37 to 48
The text at the bottom (running along folios 35 to 43 continues to address King Thibaw "During the reign of your royal sire, the Convener of the Fifth Buddhist Synod, the great princes [who held the title of] The Pyinsi Mintha (Prince of Pyinsi), the Nyaungoak Mintha, the Chan (?) Taung Mintha, the Hlaing Htet Mintha, the Hti Lin Mintha, and the Saw Mintha were bestowed [as in] BE 1216 [AD 1854] these accoutrements and insignia, your Majesty."

Folios 37 & 38
Illustrate and describe the princes' official wut lon (civil robe worn only at audiences), bwe phyu (scarf), salwe (multi-strand, gold, chain of office), baung (headdress) and pan na daung (gold ear tubes).

Folios 39 & 40
Illustrate and describe the princes' official myee toe myee shay (military costume), the pair of shay bayet (chest and back guards); the one worn in front is also called a chet-phon or navel guard, his khar si (scarf for use as a belt), mauk yu (cap worn under the helmet) and the mauk toe (helmet).

Folios 41 & 42
Illustrate and describe the princes' betel containers, drinking water pot, spittoon, one gold dah (sword) and black sack for a broad sword, red hat?, red sack for a sword, ceremonial spear, quiver full of arrows and bow enclosed in a red sack. Four ceremonial umbrella-shaped gilded kyaing,
The pair at the bottom are lanterns.

Folios 43 & 44
Illustrate and describe a gilded waw (palanquin) and five ceremonial gilded spears called monair hlan (the design probably originated from the Shan State on Mone).

Folios 45 & 46
Illustrate and describe two types of howdahs, horse furniture, saddle, saddle flaps etc., saddlecloth, an elaborately knotted piece to fit around the neck of the horse and another type of saddlecloth, seven red painted double headed drums, two smaller drums, and various types of horns and a pair of cymbals.

Folios 47 & 48
Illustrate and describe a gilded hlawgar (barge) with white yak-tail tassels at the stern, additional yak tail tassels gilded oar and the rudder.

Folios 49 & 50 are blank

Section IV - folios 51 to 62
The text at the bottom (running along folios 51 to 58) continues to address King Thibaw "During the reign of your royal sire, the convener of the Fifth Buddhist synod the prince who were of the min lat (middle rank), the Mindat Mintha, the Pan Myaing Mintha, the Yin Khair Mintha, the son of the Chun Taung Mintha, the three sons of the Momeik Mintha [Momeik is in the Shan States], the Metkhaya (?) Mintha, the sons [number not given] of the Kawlin [as in] BE 1216 (AD 1854) these accoutrements and insignia were awarded, your Majesty."

Folios 51 & 52
Illustrate and describe the princes' official wut lon (civil robe worn only at audiences), bwe phyu (scarf), salwe (multi-strand, gold, chain of office), baung (headdress) and pan na daung (gold ear tubes).

Folios 53 & 54
Illustrate and describe the princes' official myee toe myee shay (military costume), the pair of shay bayet (chest and back guards); the one worn in front is also called a chet-phon or navel guard, his khar si (scarf for use as a belt), mauk yu (cap worn under the helmet) and the mauk toe (helmet).

Folios 55 & 56
Illustrate and describe the princes' betel containers, drinking water pot, spittoon, two gold dah (sword) and red sack for a broad sword, Four ceremonial umbrella-shaped red kyaing,

Folios 57 & 58
Illustrate and describe a gilded waw (palanquin) and three ceremonial gilded spears called monair hlan (the design probably originated from the Shan State on Mone).

Folios 59 & 60
Illustrate and describe two types of howdahs, horse furniture, saddle, saddle flaps etc., saddlecloth, an elaborately knotted piece to fit around the neck of the horse and another type of saddlecloth, seven red painted double headed drums, two smaller drums, and various types of horns and a pair of cymbals.

Folios 61 & 62
Illustrate and describe a gilded hlawgar (barge) with white yak-tail tassels at the stern, additional yak tail tassels gilded oar and the rudder.

Folios 63 & 64 with faint unfinished drawings of civil and military court costumes.

Section - folios 65 to 74
The text at the bottom (running along folios 65 to 68) continues to address King Thibaw "The Myin Hmu Mintha princes [these were junior princes (born of concubines, therefore low ranking, they were in care of the royal horses etc. There were several princes who were known by this title], were awarded accoutrements and insignia [similar to the] Wungyi (Senior Ministers), these are the pictures, your Majesty"

Folios 65 & 66
Illustrate and describe the princes' official wut lon (civil robe worn only at audiences), bwe phyu (scarf), salwe (multi-strand, gold, chain of office), baung (headdress) and pan na daung (gold ear tubes) and the princes' official myee toe myee shay (military costume), the pair of shay bayet (chest and back guards); the one worn in front is also called a chet-phon or navel guard, his khar si (scarf for use as a belt), mauk yu (cap worn under the helmet) and the mauk toe (helmet).

Folios 67 & 68
Illustrate and describe the princes' betel containers, drinking water pot, spittoon, two gold dah (sword) and red sack for a broad sword, two ceremonial umbrella-shaped red kyaing.

Folios 69 & 70
Illustrate and describe the princes' horse furniture, harness, stirrup, saddle, saddle flaps saddlecloth, an elaborately knotted piece to fit around the neck of the horse and another type of saddlecloth and a gilded waw (palanquin).

Folios 71 & 72
Illustrate and describe two types of howdahs, seven red painted double headed drums, two smaller drums, and various types of horns and a pair of cymbals and harness.

Folios 73 & 74
Illustrate and describe a gilded hlawgar (barge) with red yak-tail tassels at the bow and stern, gilded oar and the rudder.

Place of Origin

Mandalay (made)

Date

ca. 1878-1885 (made)

Artist/maker

Unknown

Materials and Techniques

Paper with watercolour and gouache over Indian ink and pencil. Relief thayo (moulded) thitsi lacquer. Folding leaves of native paper made from the bark of the mahlaing (paper tree) "broussonetia papyrifera"

Marks and inscriptions

Pictures of dresses & c of Mendoon King & Thibaw
Mandalay 88
back of Folio 74 - a note in English added at a later date in pencil.

A list of ingredients such as camphor, boiled rice, cutch and blue vitriol
From Burmese
back of Folios 72, 73, 74. Written in pencil at a later date and nothing to do with the original subject.

Dimensions

Length: 41 cm, Width: 18 cm, Depth: 4.5 cm

Object history note

The text accompanying the illustrations confirms a royal patronage, in that from it one learns that the parabaik was a report prepared for King Thibaw sometime during the years of his reign (1878 to 1885) and documents and prescribes the appropriate insignia and accoutrements bestowed to senior princes during the reign of his father King Mindon r. 1853 - 1878
It is believed to have been brought back from Burma by Colonel Hutchinson, who was a good friend of General Gordon.

Historical context note

Such manuscripts were housed in the library of the Royal Palace of Mandalay. They were an aspect of the sumptuary laws which touched on all parts of life in Burma under the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885).

With regard to dress the depth and degree of ornamentation on the wearers costume, the fineness and unique aspect of the textile from which it was made, would have immediately indicated the person's rank

A prince was known after the name of a town he was allowed to "eat" as fief, so throughout history there must have been numerous, for instance Pyinsi Minthas (Prince of Pyinsi). This was the title by which each prince was recognised, their personal names were never used in official records.

Descriptive line

Burmese court parabaik (manuscript of folding leaves) illustrating and describing the ceremonial insignia and accoutrements of Burmese princes of the reign of King Mindon r. 1853-1878. Watercolour over India ink and pencil on paper, with a red lacquer cover, ca. 1878 to 1885

Materials

Paper; Thitsi lacquer; Watercolour; Gouache; Indian ink; Pencil

Techniques

Paper-making; Drawing; Painting; Writing; Lacquering

Subjects depicted

Royal patronage

Categories

Ceremonial objects

Collection

South & South East Asia Collection

Large image request

Please confirm you are using these images within the following terms and conditions, by acknowledging each of the following key points:

Please let us know how you intend to use the images you will be downloading.