Manuscript of Maniyadanabon (tales for the king of Ava)
Palm leaves with gilded edges
Burma/Myanmar; Ava, 1781
BC 2004.7.1; Northern Illinois University
Wyin Kyan Collection
Such manuscripts are made primarily from the leaves of the Palmyra (Borassus fabellifer) and Talipot palms (Coryoha umbraculifera). The leaves are prepared by first separating them from the central rib, then drying, soaking, re-drying, and rubbing them smooth. Text is then incised on both sides of the leaf with a metal stylus, after which the leaf is rubbed with charcoal dust or lamp black, and the surplus brushed off, leaving the incised text legible. The palm leaf edges are usually gilded and the leaves stacked between decorated wooden binding boards. The majority of palm leaf texts are devoted to religious or historic topics, such as the chronicles, or sit-tan: secular administrative documents.
This text is related to the Maniratana Pun, a Burmese tale written in 1781, from kagyi through dadweyecha she tho: stories that Meyaza had told to the King of Ava.
NIU Rare Books and Special Collections