Top of page

About this Item


  • Ramayana.


  • The oral tradition of the Burmese Ramayana story can be traced as far back as the reign of King Anawrahta (active 1044-77), the founder of the first Burmese empire. The story was transmitted orally from generation to generation before being written down in prose and verse and as a drama. The earliest known written Burmese version of the Ramayana is Rama Thagyin (Songs from the Ramayana), compiled by U Aung Phyo in 1775. A three-volume copy of the Rama story called Rama vatthu was written on palm leaf in 1877. This parabaik (folding book) from around 1870 has 16 pages with painted scenes of the Ramayana story with brief captions in Burmese. The paper covers are painted in red, yellow, and green, with floral borders and prancing lions. One cover has an inscription in black ink in Burmese, giving the title, Rama Zat, and a brief identification of the contents. They are, as follows: Rama strings the bow; Dusakhaya demon in battle; offerings of alms; abduction in the chariot; building of the stone causeway; and arrival in Thiho (Ceylon, or present-day Sri Lanka). Dramatic performances of the Ramayana emerged in the Konbaung Period (1752-1885), when royal minister Myawaddy Mingyi U Sa converted the Ramayana Jataka into a typical Burmese classical drama; he also composed theme music and songs for its performance. Ever since then, Ramayana performances have been very popular in Burmese culture, and Yama zat pwe (Rama dramatic performances) and marionette stage shows are often held. Scenes from the Ramayana can also be found as motifs or design elements in Burmese lacquerware and wood carvings.

Created / Published

  • [place of publication not identified] : [publisher not identified], 1870.


  • -  Myanmar
  • -  1870
  • -  Allegory
  • -  Burmese literature
  • -  Burmese poetry
  • -  Epic poetry
  • -  Hindu mythology
  • -  Kings and rulers
  • -  Poetry
  • -  Rāma (Hindu deity)
  • -  Soldiers


  • -  Title devised, in English, by Library staff.
  • -  "British Library manuscript reference number: Or 14178"--Note extracted from World Digital Library.
  • -  Original resource extent: Paper folding book with 33 folds ; 530 x 220 millimeters.
  • -  Reference extracted from World Digital Library: San San May, "The Ramayana in Southeast Asia: (3) Burma," Asian and African Studies Blog, May 5, 2014, External
  • -  Original resource at: The British Library.
  • -  Content in Burmese.
  • -  Description based on data extracted from World Digital Library, which may be extracted from partner institutions.


  • 1 online resource.

Digital Id

Library of Congress Control Number

  • 2021668039

Online Format

  • compressed data
  • pdf
  • image

Additional Metadata Formats

IIIF Presentation Manifest

Rights & Access

The Library of Congress is unaware of any copyright or other restrictions in the World Digital Library Collection. Absent any such restrictions, these materials are free to use and reuse. Researchers are encouraged to review the source information attached to each item. For information on contacting WDL partner organizations, see this archived list of partners

The Library asks that researchers approach the materials in this collection with respect for the culture and sensibilities of the people whose lives, ideas, and creativity are documented here.

Credit Line: [Original Source citation], World Digital Library

More about Copyright and other Restrictions

For additional information and contact information for many of the partner organizations, see this archived capture of the World Digital Library site from 2021.

For guidance about compiling full citations consult Citing Primary Sources.

Cite This Item

Citations are generated automatically from bibliographic data as a convenience, and may not be complete or accurate.

Chicago citation style:

Ramayana. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1870] Pdf.

APA citation style:

(1870) Ramayana. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified] [Pdf] Retrieved from the Library of Congress,

MLA citation style:

Ramayana. [Place of Publication Not Identified: Publisher Not Identified, 1870] Pdf. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, <>.