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A Manuscript of Buddhist Visions of Heaven and Hell, Phra Malai
A Manuscript of Buddhist Visions of Heaven and Hell, Phra Malai

THAILAND, CIRCA 1870

Details
A Manuscript of Buddhist Visions of Heaven and Hell, Phra Malai
Thailand, circa 1870
With 74 double sided foldout leaves written in Thai (with some Pali words cited) in very fine Old-Cambodian script in black ink on five widely spaced ruled lines, with 18 illuminations in sets of two extending over two folios
5 3/8 x 26¾ in. (13.7 x 68 cm.)

Lot Essay

The illuminations are as follows:

1. The four monks (2 on either side of the manuscript)
2. The birth tales of Prince Temiya
3. Prince Janake shipwrecked
4. The Sama birth tale (left), (right) King Piliyakha with bow and arrow
5. Sama's blind parents
6. A scene from Nimi's birth tale, a scene in Hell. (left) tortured souls, (right) Nimi's journey to Hell.
7. A scene from Nimi's birth tale, a scene in Hell. (left) ghouls, (right) adulterers forced into thorny trees by guards armed with spears. 8. (left) The tale of Bhuridatta the sacred serpent (Naga). (right) The two hunters who will ultimately capture Bhuridatta.
9. (left) Prince Chandakumara's birth tale, (right) Prince Chandakumara saved from being sacrificed by the green god Indra.
10. Scenes from Narada's birth tale
11. The four monks, this time a conclusion scene, similar illumination as the opening scene.
12. (verso) Hermits and a giant (Yaksha) listening to Phra Malai's religious discourse
13. The Great Birth Tale, the story of Prince Vessantara
14. The birth tale of the sage Vidhura. (left) Vidhura being tortured by Yaksha (right) Vidhura holding on the tail of a demon's horse in flight.
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