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Collection

Thailand

Title
'Phra Malai' (The Poem about the Venerable Monk Malai)
Other titles:
Illustrated Manuscript of 'Phra Malai' (The Poem about the Venerable Monk Malai)
Place of origin
Thailand
Year
19th century
Media category
Manuscripts
Materials used
concertina manuscript, double-sided 97 foldout leaves; colours on paper; written in old Cambodian script in black ink
Dimensions

7.5 x 66.9 x 14.4 cm

Credit
Edward and Goldie Sternberg Southeast Asian Art Fund 2008
Accession number
132.2005
Location
Not on display
Further information

This classic Thai Buddhist text recounts the experiences of the Sinhalese monk, Malai, on his journey to hell and to heaven. In the form of a poem, it serves as a moralising legend in which the consequences of one’s deeds in this life impact on one’s fate in the next. The text is written in Khom, the Cambodian script which continued to be used for sacred literature even after the Thai script was developed. Khom was known only to specially trained monks.

Asian Department, AGNSW, June 2005