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Illustrated manuscript of excerpts from Buddhist texts
Place of Origin: Thailand
Date: 1857
Materials: Paint, gold, lacquer, and ink on paper
Dimensions: H. 3 1/4 in x W. 14 in x Th. 2 1/4 in, H. 8.3 cm x W. 35.5 cm x Th. 5.7 cm
Credit Line: Transfer from the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco, Gift of Katherine Ball
Department: Southeast Asian Art
Collection: Books And Manuscripts
Object Number: 1993.27
On Display: No

Description

Label:

The paintings in this manuscript show pairs of beings that inhabit the higher and lower realms of the universe. All kneel facing the sacred text, holding their hands together in a gesture of reverence. From the top, they are:

o Multiheaded demons (whose additional heads are stacked in tiers in their headdresses. They resemble the demon Mara, who threatens the Buddha) 
o Single-headed demons
o legendary serpents (personified, but recognizable by the serpent heads at the tip of their crowns)
o garudas (mythical birds with some human characteristics) o celestial beings (who appear human) o more celestial beings
o Brahma beings from the highest heavens (recognizable by their multiple arms and faces)


The manuscript includes excerpts from several sacred texts in the Theravada Buddhist religious language of Pali. These are written in two alphabets, the Mon alphabet and a version of the Cambodian alphabet used in Thailand for Pali. The Pali language could be written in a variety of alphabets, just as ancient Greek could today be rendered in the Roman, Cyrillic, or other alphabets.


More Information

Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma," Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009–January 10, 2010

"The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Additional Label:

Murals of the “Celestial Assembly,” rows of divine or legendary figures kneeling in respectful homage to the Buddha, line the interior walls of many Buddhist temples in Thailand. In this manuscript similar figures pay homage to the Buddha’s message, the dharma, as presented in excerpts from sacred texts.

Some of the figures may be characters from the Thai version of the Rama epic. A princely figure with green skin could be either Rama or the deity Indra. A multiheaded, multiarmed figure could be either Ravana or the demon Mara, who threatens the Buddha but is eventually defeated and converted. Another, with a particular, characteristic crown, appears to be a demonic magician called in Thai Maiyarap. Thus, it seems, characters from the Rama epic join other divine and legendary figures in veneration of the Buddhist dharma.

(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)


Label:

The paintings in this manuscript show pairs of beings that inhabit the higher and lower realms of the universe. All kneel facing the sacred text, holding their hands together in a gesture of reverence. From the top, they are:

o Multiheaded demons (whose additional heads are stacked in tiers in their headdresses. They resemble the demon Mara, who threatens the Buddha) 
o Single-headed demons
o legendary serpents (personified, but recognizable by the serpent heads at the tip of their crowns)
o garudas (mythical birds with some human characteristics) o celestial beings (who appear human) o more celestial beings
o Brahma beings from the highest heavens (recognizable by their multiple arms and faces)


The manuscript includes excerpts from several sacred texts in the Theravada Buddhist religious language of Pali. These are written in two alphabets, the Mon alphabet and a version of the Cambodian alphabet used in Thailand for Pali. The Pali language could be written in a variety of alphabets, just as ancient Greek could today be rendered in the Roman, Cyrillic, or other alphabets.


Exhibition History: "Emerald Cities: Arts of Siam and Burma," Asian Art Museum, October 23, 2009–January 10, 2010

"The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe," Asian Art Museum, October 21, 2015–January 15, 2017
Expanded Label:

Murals of the “Celestial Assembly,” rows of divine or legendary figures kneeling in respectful homage to the Buddha, line the interior walls of many Buddhist temples in Thailand. In this manuscript similar figures pay homage to the Buddha’s message, the dharma, as presented in excerpts from sacred texts.

Some of the figures may be characters from the Thai version of the Rama epic. A princely figure with green skin could be either Rama or the deity Indra. A multiheaded, multiarmed figure could be either Ravana or the demon Mara, who threatens the Buddha but is eventually defeated and converted. Another, with a particular, characteristic crown, appears to be a demonic magician called in Thai Maiyarap. Thus, it seems, characters from the Rama epic join other divine and legendary figures in veneration of the Buddhist dharma.

(Exhibition Label from The Rama Epic: Hero, Heroine, Ally, Foe)