Kamawa-sa (Kammavaca) manuscript - 2014.55.10_1


Kamawa-sa (Kammavaca) manuscript

Maker: artist name unrecorded
Medium:cloth, wood, lacquer, gold leaf
Geography: Myanmar (Burma)
Date: 19th Century
16 x 57.5 cm
Object number: 2014.55.10.1
Credit Line: Gift of Goss Family, in memory of Chris and Eleanor Goss
Not on view

This manusrtipt is 15 leaves of lacquered gold with black letters. It is an example of a Kamawa-sa (Kammavaca), the most sacred of the Burmese Buddhist religious books, usually commissioned as works of merit to be presented to the monkhood to commemorate the entrance of a family's son to a Buddhist monastery. The pages are usually made from cloth of a respected monk's robes and thickly lacquered.

This manuscript is associated with Louis Allan Goss (29 October 1846 –  10 July 1933). He arrived in Mandalay, Upper Burma, in April 1866 to join his maternal uncle, Clement Williams (1834-1879), in business. While there, he studied the Burmese language and published a transliteration of the Thimbongyi, the Burmese spelling book, with the Royal Press. He moved to Rangoon in 1873 and become the editor and manager of the Educational Gazette, a vernacular-language newspaper. From 1878-1902, he was the Inspector of Schools and then Acting Director of Public Instruction. In 1886, he produced an English version from Pali of We-than-da-ya (Vessantara-Jātaka), illustrated by an unidentified Burmese artist. Upon retiring from government service in 1901, Goss taught the Burmese language at the University of Cambridge. L. Allan Goss donated a large collection of photographs and maps to the Cambridge University Library, the Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology (MAA) in Cambridge, and the British Library. Another collection of photos and artifacts was given to the Royal Ontario Museum, Toronto, by his descendants in Canada.

Southeast Asia
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