Cosmology manuscript panel showing Mount Meru and Ananda the cosmic fish

Late 1800s

British Museum

British Museum
London, United Kingdom

Parabaik (folded manuscript). Manuscript of locally-made paper within green paper outer covers. Mid to late 1800s. This is a cosmology manuscript providing a map of the Buddhist universe and describing the residents of each level. The higher beings are in the universe, the more spiritually advanced they are. One side shows the Heavens and Mount Meru down to the realm of the Asuras; the other side displays the human world with reference to Buddhas and the eight levels of Hell. The manuscript contains 42 folds, assembled in concertina fashion and has paintings and text on both sides. Openings provide both text in Burmese and Pali without illustrations. Topics represented are Lake Anottata, the four continents around Mount Meru, the domain of the elephants, the sixteen Buddhist lands, Mount Meru itself, the hells, and Himavanta forest.


  • Title: Cosmology manuscript panel showing Mount Meru and Ananda the cosmic fish
  • Date Created: Late 1800s
  • Physical Dimensions: Length: 924 centimetres x Width: 53.5 centimetres (cover and each page approximately) x Height: 21 centimetres (cover and each page approximately)
  • Production place: Mandalay, Burma
  • Material: Pigment on mulberry paper
  • Copyright: © Trustees of the British Museum
  • British Museum link: 2010,3003.1
  • Acquisition: Funded by the Brooke Sewell Permanent Fund

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