Width 17.7 cm
Sumptuary laws were strictly observed at the Court of the Konbaung Kings--the last dynasty to rule in Burma (1752-1885). Court manuals documented and prescribed the appropriate dress and ornament for different ranks of officials to wear for particular ceremonies. The very fine 37 page parabaik, or folding manuscript, from which these three images were taken was formerly in the Royal Library of King Thibaw (r.1878-1885). It illustrates and describes the costumes and paraphernalia allowed to court by provincial officials and their wives for a royal celebration at the King's Palace at Mandalay in 1880.
Shown here is the lavishly ornamented dress, assembled in layers, worn by the wife of a minister which includes her ornate black velvet sibon (a headdress to cover hair and top-knot) decorated with beetle wings and gold lace, along with her gold, long-stemmed ear tubes and jewelled bracelets. Also shown are pages illustrating the civil and military court dress awarded to the king's Lord Chamberlain, as well as that prescribed for a provincial governor.