Parabaiks show colored drawings of of a range of subjects such as kings and court activities, stories, social customs and manners, houses, dresses, hair styles, ornaments, etc. Done on mulberry bark paper.
Among the many figures included in the manuscript here are scenes of daily life (such as tending to a sick person and consulting a monk), people at court, demons, astrological animals and so on. The script is likely to be Shan script.
It has been produced on long strip of paper that folds out, concertina-style. The covers comprise paper thickened and hardened with black lacquer. The paper is made from the inner bark of the local mulberry tree.
According to Conway (2014, p. 39), the bark is cut in thin strips and dried in the sun. It is then boiled in a solution of water and wood ash to soften the fibres. The resulting pulp is then pounded to a smooth paste which is then poured over mesh screens and then left to dry in the sun. The resulting sheets of paper are then peeled off the mesh, trimmed and burnished and cut to the desired size.
Drawing materials included black ink made from powdered soot mixed with animal or fish bile, and if available, Chinese black ink. There were no erasers so if a mistake was made, a white lime paste was applied to the surface – as appears to be the case in small areas on the manuscript here.
The book shows its age but is intact. The drawings on each page retrain their clarity and sharpness. There is some insect damage.
Conway, S., Tai Magic: Arts of the Supernatural in the Shan States and Lan Na, River Books, 2014.
18 x 47 cm
26 folds with some blank, others with pencil
If there is interest, I will provide other details/information available prior to purchase.
Antiques.co.uk Ref: K7Q2V4VD
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