Sunday, January 08, 2006

Betel Receptacles as Sumptuary Objects

The Burmese chronicle's lengthy lists can sometimes overwhelm the reader. Some of the most common lists are the lists of gifts given as a reward for service and as a symbol of rank.

Betel receptacles are very common in these lists. They are "made of different material according to the wealth and status of the user from split bamboo to those of silver and gold studded with precious stones." Later on they "became insignias of rank of the princes and nobles and the regalia of kings (min-kan-min-na).

(Note: The English version of the paper by Dr. Yi Yi is longer than an abstract, but not as long as the Burmese version which has more information in it. This sort of pecularity has also confused western scholars using Than Tun's Royal Orders of Burma who mistake the shorter English versions as a literal translation of the longer original Burmese versions, where in fact they are mere abstracts.)

pp. 2-6: English version
pp. 7-41: Burmese version
pp. 42-51: Illustrations