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Thursday, November 3, 2011

Arakan oil lamp dance


The brass open-oil lamp found in the city of Vesali
          The second open-oil lamp can be found in the ancient city of Vesali. It is made of brass. It measures 9 inches high from the plinth to the edge of the statue. It is a female figure and stretching her hands in parallel. The brass open-oil lamp in the form of hemisphere of the gourd, is held with her fingers. The front edge of the open-oil lamp was used to put the loop of the wick. The oil to light the open-oil lamp, was not gasoline, coconet oil and wood oil, but the butter made from the milk.
Why the open-oil lamp was used
          Nowadays, lighting offering to Buddha becomes a traditional custom in Rakhine state because Rakhine people made lighting offering to Buddha from time immemorial as they believed that light offering dedicating to the three gems called Buddha, Dhamma and Samgha(or) gods, was superior to any other offerings.
The history of the open-oil lamp
          The historians believe that Greek and Roman arrived in the southern part of India in order to trade goods bringing the female statues with the oil lamps in the 2 century AD. Besides, they also believe that the southern Indian cast the oil lamps with their wanted figures modeling the statues the European took.
          The historians couldn’t give the exact answer whether the Vesali open-oil lamp was southern Indian’s masterpiece or the European’s masterpiece. Besides, ti was cast in Rakhine or it was taken from the merchants come from the southern part of India. However, the words ‘အာယာနာ ေကာင္းမွဳေတာ္’ were inscribed at the plinth of the statue. By observing the alphabets, we can find that such alphabets were used at the beginning of the 10 century AD in Rakhine. Therefore, some of the historians allege that it was cast in Vesali between 900 AD and 950 AD because it was excavated in the ancient Vesali site and its alphabets look like the alphabets stamped on the coins of king Su La San Dra, the last king of Vesali dynasty.       
Rakhine oil lamp dance
          Rakhine oil lamp dance is one of the traditional performances in Rakhine state. Performing the oil lamp dance is the demonstration of offering light to lord Buddha. The dancers have to dance together with striking Rakhine drums, playing the flute and singing the soft song called Tharchin. There are evidences that Rakhine musical instruments and Rakhine dances have developed with Vesali high civilization. We can prove that offering hight to Lord Buddha became popular in Vesali period because the open-oil lamps from Vesili period, can be found in Rakhine state. Therefore I believe that the oil lamp dance would relate to the open-oil lamps in Vesali period.
 
By Htay Win

1 comments:

Jennifer Kunkle-Clark said...

Very informative. Thank you.

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