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Object- ManuscriptParabaik
Date- ca. 1880
Techniques- Folding leaves of native paper made from the bark of the paper tree (mahlaing in Burmese or broussonetia papyrefera); illustrations in watercolour
Place-Mandalay (City), Burma (probably)

Length 38.1 cmWidth 17.8 cm

Current Location - Victoria & Albert Museum

Museum number-IM.88-1936

This folding book, or parabaik, consists of 21 folios and illustrates one of the many stories of the Buddha's former lives, known as 'jatakas'. This jataka tells the story of the Buddha's former incarnation as Vidura, the wise minister of a King. As the story goes, Vimala, the wife of the ocean-god Varuna, coveted Vidhura. In order to get him, she ordered the demon Punnaka to bring Vidhura to her. Punnaka managed this by the trick of enticing the King to gamble his minister in a game of dice. The king lost, and Punnaka won Vidhura and took him off to the court of Vimala and Varuna. Over time, however, Vimala and Varuna were so taken with Vidhura's wisdom that they eventually allowed him to return to his original master, the King. The episodic treatment of the story sets out the narrative in no particular order through the illustrations of the text.

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