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Palm Leaf Manuscripts in Burmese

Southeast Asia Collection

Rare Books and Special Collections at Northern Illinois University Libraries holds a number of palm-leaf manuscripts, mostly in Thai, Burmese, and Pali along with two in Lao. Most of the palm-leaf manuscripts related to Burma at NIU are through the generous donations and support of the Burma Studies Group and are listed in the table below. To find palm-leaf manuscripts from Thailand and Laos, search our Online Catalog. There may be some variations of spelling because of the transliteration. If you cannot find what you need on the first search, it may be worth trying a spelling variation. The number cited at the beginning of each description is the Library Call Number. Please use this number when requesting retrieval of our manuscripts.


Title:Title: [Parabaik. White paper.] -- [ca. 1850?]. In Burmese.

Call Number: BF 1434 .B93 P364 1850.

Description: This manuscript contains astrological predictions and renditions of the Jataka tales which are stories of the various incarnations of the Buddha prior to his becoming the Buddha. The black text and color illustrations cover opposite sides of one continuous folded length of white paper (13 folds).

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Anga; Buddhahu, Byanjikok ; Krasapate sokra cane. -- [between 1875 and 1895]. In Burmese.

Call Number: BF 1714 .B8 A557 1875.

Description: Palm leaves edged in red lacquer held together between two black end borders.

Written sometime between 1875AD and 1895AD as a guide for making horoscopes and lunar calendars, the astrological tables in this manuscript also aided people in choosing auspicious dates and times for ceremonies. The leaves are bound by black boards at each end and their edges are protected by a red lacquer. The manuscript is also noteworthy for its small size commonly used for manuscripts related to astrological charts.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Gautama Buddha. Thahtayatanawaga Thanyok Palitaw. -- [1857?]. In Burmese.

Call Number: BQ 915 .G384 1857.

Description: Lacquered cloth.

Work on this manuscript began on April 14, 1856 and was intended for King Mindon, the second-to-last ruler of the independent Burmese kingdom. The red lacquered wooden binding boards are decorated with gold-leaf birds and floral designs. Attributed to Gautama Buddha. Copyist: Pitaka?.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Palm-leaf manuscript 1].-- [1903]. In Pali (Burmese script).

Call Number: BQ 915 .P344 1903.

Description: Gilt edged palm leaves, held between two red lacquered boards; lettering inscribed on leaves with a stylus; some leaves missing.

Finished copying at 2:00 p.m. 10 May 1903 -- [trans.].

Donor: Burma Studies Group, 1987.


Title: Nisaggiya Chattha Parapike. -- [18--]. In Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: BQ 1029 .B93 N564 1800Z.

Description: Part six of a portion of Vinaya.

White script on continuous black paper folded accordion-style (9 folds). Copied by the novice Muang Shin Uttama.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Palm-leaf manuscript] Nov. 21, 1889. In Burmese.

Call Number: BQ 1029 .B93 P344 1889.

Description: Gilt edged palm leaves held between boards. Wide lacquered red stripe runs across edges of leaves in center.

Divided into three parts. The first part covers essential points of Kaccayanasara; the second part is work on Gandha Bharaga; the third part is new work on Dhammapada.-- Than Tun.

Donor: Burma Studies Group, 1987.


Title: [Parabaik 2]. -- [18--]. In Pali (Burmese script).

Call Number: BQ 1029 .B93 P364 1900z.

Description: White script on continuous sheet of black paper folded accordion-style. Extract from Suttanta Pitaka on the qualities of sila [virtue morality] --Than Tun.

Donor: Burma Studies Group 1987.


Title: Wunna, U.Culava ; Pariva ; Khudda Sikkha. -- [1879]. In Pali (Burmese Script).

Call Number: BQ 1029 .B93 W845 1879.

Description: Gilt-edged palm leaves held between two red lacquered boards; lettering inscribed on leaves with a stylus.

Original text of Culava, Ka-Lu. Copied June 17, 1879.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Yamaka. -- [1833]. In Pali.

Call Number: BQ 1029 .B93 Y344 1833.

Description: Gilt-edged plam leaves held between lacquered red wooden boards. one board decorated with birds in black on gold ground, one decorated with flowers. Manuscript enfolded in multicolored woven cloth with woven tie. 55 leaves do not belong to the copy.

Chapter I copied on April 9, 1833, Chapter II copied on April 13, 1833 by Ri ti n Sannita, Chapter III, copied on May 23, 1883 by Korin Sanni, Chapter IV copy completed by September 5, 1883, Chapter V copy completed on September 20, 1883.

Donor: Burma Studies Group 1987.


Title: Tripitaka. Vinayapitaka. Karmavacana. Kammavasa. -- [1922]. In Pali (Burmese script)

Call Number: BQ 1181 1922.

Description: This meritorious deed was done by a lay female devotee, Daw Waing and her children, living in South Tha Hkut Myin village of Wun Dwin township in AD 1922. --Than Tun.

Donor: Burma Studies Center.


Title: Anguttarathakatha [manuscript]. -- 1904. In Pali.

Call Number: BQ 1287 .A564 1904a.

Description: Palm leaf. Wooden covers with cloth wrapper and ribbon with inscriptions. Gilded with gold edges, wide lacquered red stripe runs across edges of leaves in center.

Summary: Commentary on Sutta Pitaka.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Dhammapada Athakatha Nissaya. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: BQ 1373 .B8 D474 1922a.

Description: Edges of leaves gilt; secured by wooden boards colored in red-lacquer; twelve lines to a page.

This palm leaf manuscript from 1922 AD contains a translation, from Pali to Burmese, of portions of the sacred Buddhist scriptures, or Tipitaka. The leaves, with gilt edges, are bound by red lacquered boards.


Title: Vissuddhimag nissaya. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: BQ 1417 .V567 1875a.

Description: Palm leaf; one wooden cover; gilded with gold edges; wide lacquered red stripe runs across edges of leaves in center.

Summary: Sub-Commentary on Suttan Pitaka.


Title: Visuddhi Mag Nisya Tatiya Htok. -- [1875]. In Burmese.

Call Number: BQ 4308 .B93 V564 1875.

Description: Gilt-edged palm leaves, held between two lacquered boards; lettering inscribed on leaves with stylus. Enfolded in red cloth with floral design with red, green, white tie.

The Most Clear Path Explained, packet number 3.

Copying for this part ended November 6, 1875. Given to Ualoka, Chief of Lam U Monastery, Yei Monastic Establishment, Thasi village, Alm township by Maung Paw Lhwa and Mi Guak Taw Than Tun.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Parabaik 1]. -- Sakkaraj 1234 [1872]. In Pali (Burmese script).

Call Number: BQ 4415 .P364 1872.

Description: White script on continuous sheet of black paper folded accordion-style (6 folds). some pages are blank.

Prayer enumerating 9 virtues of the Buddha (incomplete); Reasoning why a robe is used by a novice/monk. The same stanza is written twice. Than Tun.

Donor: Burma Studies Group, 1987.


Title: [Shan Parabaik]. -- [between 1940 and 1960?]. Pali (Shan script) and Shan.

Call Number: BQ 4415 .S474 1940.

Description: Black script on continuous sheet of white paper folded accordion-style (14 folds)

Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. A prayer enumerating three virtues and the five precepts.

Donor: Burma Studies Group


Title: Kinhka pat ; Kinkha nithya. -- [1868]. In Pali.

Call Number: BQ 4430 .D6 K544 1868.

Description: Gilt-edged palm leaves, held between two red-lacquered boards; lettering inscribed on leaves with stylus. Manuscript enfolded in pink and white embroidered cloth.

Two treatises on doubt, Kinhka nithya contains explanations in Burmese. Kinhka pat finished copying Friday, May 8, 1868; Kinhka nithya finished copying on saturday, September 5, 1868.

Donor: Burma Studies Group; Donated by Ko Bo Muang and Ma Dwel of Edwards Street, Rangoon.


Title: [Parabaik]. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: BQ 4570 .S9 P865 1900a.

Description: Small black paper note book with plain wood cover. Written with soapstone.

Summary: Collection of nats, devas, bilu (ogres) and weikzas.

The verso pages contain more erased notebook pages and more enigmatic magical figures.

Donor: Burmese Studies Group.


Title: [Parabaik] -- [between 1950 and 1970]. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: BQ 4570 .S9 P866 1950a.

Description: Small black paper note book with plain wood cover; written with ball pen, pencil, and col. pencil.

Summary: Collection of  In.

The final three pages, recto are texts about the powers and vulnerabilities of children at certain critical ages, and about how to protect them at such junctures.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Shan Parabaik]. -- [between 1950 and 1970]. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: BQ 4570 .S9 S474 1950a.

Description: White Paper. Wood cover with intaglio. Written with pen and color pencils.

A note book collection of In with illustrations.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Hkan Kammavasa. --[1925]. In Pali (Burmese Script).

Call Number: BQ 5042 .B93 H594 1925.

Description: Copper plates, 2 plates missing.

Recitations at monks meetings in nine sections.

Contents: Upasompada Khantaka, Kathina_Khantana, Sima Khantaka, Uposathagara Khantaka, Therasammuti Khantaka, Namasammuti Khantaka, Nissayamuttsammuti Khantaka, Kappiyibhumisammuti Khantaka.

Donated by Dawe Ubawin, Ma On Y., Ma Than Yi of Lancaster Street, Rangoon; Organized by U Myat Nyun. Incised on copper plates under the supervision of U Sumana, Head of Forest Monastic Establishment and incised by U Yin Vepulla producers of copper pitaka.

Donor: Burma Studies Group


Title: Kammavasa. -- [Between 1875 and 1895?]. In Burmese.

Call Number: BQ 5042 .B344 1875.

Description: 10 copper plates (some plates missing) held between end boards of gilded wood.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Kammavasa. -- [ca. 1850?]. In Pali.

Call Number: BQ 5042 .B93 K346 1850.

Description: Ivory.

Made of thin and very fragile ivory sometime in the mid-1800’s, the plates of this rare and beautiful kammavaca contain black and gold square style Burmese script and are bound by red and gold decorative wooden boards. The manuscript is enfolded in purple and gold wrapping.

Donor:Burma Studies Group


Title: Kammavasa. -- [ca 1500].

Call Number: BQ 5220 .K344 1500z.

Description: Written in Pali in square characters. Inscribed in gold and black lacquer laid between two wooden covers, in gold and red lacquer. Two sets (both incomplete).

Summary: Ordination service of the Buddhist priesthood.


Title: Kammavasa. -- [ca. 1800]. In Pali.

Call Number: BQ 5220 .K344 1800a.

Description: Written in Pali in square script. Lacquer ware. Wooden covers with figures in red and yellow color.

Completed sometime during the 1800’s this kammavaca is made from thin copper plates that have been lacquered and bound in wooden covers decorated with red and yellow figures and designs. The text, written in the Pali language using the square style Burmese script, covers ordination ceremonies for Buddhist monks.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Kammavasa. -- [ca. 1900]. In Pali (chapter titles in Burmese script).

Call Number: BQ 5220 .K345 1900a.

Description: Two gilded leaves out of 16.

Religious extracts for consecration of ordination hall (SIMA).

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Shan sermon book]. -- 1266 [i.e. 1904].

Call Number: BQ 5340 .S474 1904.

Description: In Shan (Burmese script). Black with some red ink on sheet of white paper with gilded edges folded accordion-style held between two gilded boards with red painted trim and red and mirror jewels.

Notes on various aspects of Buddhism.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Parabaik]. -- [ca. 1900]. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: CE 61 .B8 P866 1900a.

Description: Black paper notebook written with soap stone. some pages damaged; letters partially blurred.

Summary: Calculations method of Burmese lunar calendar with tables and several ill. on In.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Parabaik]. -- [1868-1880].

Call Number: DS 529.7 .P364 1868.

Description: In Burmese. White script on continuous sheet of black paper folded accordion-style ( 18 folds).

Black notebook with notes on two land disputes and their settlement, a trial by ordeal, a verse on fortune telling, on the way of the king as found by jatakas, commentary on religious works, list of loans made by Ma Rham Ma and Maung Hpe, and a list of gifts received on occasion of sending a son as novice to a monastery. -- Than Tun.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Parabaik] Dec. 28, 1873 -Jan. 21, 1883. -- [1873-1893].

Call Number: DS 529.7 .P365 1873.

Description: In Burmese. White script on continuous black paper folded accordion-style ( 9 folds).

Black note book written in several hands on many subjects. Records of loans taken, gifts received, verses on the law of impermanance, record of division of an inheritance. There are several pages listing days when it is considered unlucky to do anything important, such as building, planting, getting married. A list of omens seen in the direction of a bird's flight. Extracts of religious works and notes on medical treatments.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: [Parabaik]. -- [ca. 1900]. Burmese and Pali.

Call Number: GT 2345 .P866 1900a.

Description: Written with pencil, black and red ink on white paper. Black lacquer cover.

Summary:Tattooers manual with In and the significance of each.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Abdhidhan Nissaya [compiled by] Kyaw Aung San Kha Sayadaw. -- [1765]. In Burmese.

Call Number: PK 1090 .K924 1765.

Description: White script on complete black paper folded accordion-style.

This parabaik is one of fourteen manuscripts that make up the Explanations on Dictionary of Pali compiled in 1765AD. The manuscript consists of white lettering on a continuous strip of black paper folded nineteen times to create the accordion style look common to parabaik.

Copying completed June 13, 1765.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


Title: Vanna Vutti Chappaccaya ; Ganavipat Chappaccaya. -- [Between 1875 and 1895?].

Call Number: QA 115 .V354 1875.

Description: In Burmese. White script on continous sheet of black paper folded accordion-style (9 Folds)

Pitaka thinhka mathematical tables used to calculate sums. Incomplete.

Donor: Burma Studies Group.


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