Posts Tagged ‘Pyu’

Mahar Thambawa & Cula Thambawa

February 28, 2013

In the year 40 Budddhist Era (504 B.C.) the Queen Keinnayi Devi of the Tagaung King Thadoe Maha Raja gave birth to blind twin brothers. The Tagaung king ordered the queen to get rid of them. At 59 Budddhist Era (485 B.C.) when the princes were 19 years of age, the king came to know about the existence of the twins. He ordered the queen to kill them again. The queen dared not keep them any longer and had a strong raft built and had long lasting food stored on board and drifted the twin princes down the Ayeyarwaddy.

The brothers ate the food their queen mother sent along with them and went down river until they reached Sagaing when their raft got tangled with the hanging branch of the Sitt tree on the Ayeyarwaddy bank. The Sanda Mukhi orgress who lived there got on the raft and ate the food of the princes as they eat. Because the Sitt tree is overhanging, the place is called Sagaing.

The brothers noticed that their food packet was not enough although it had been adequate previously. They discussed about it and make sure of each other’s hands and caught the hand of the Sanda Mukhi ogress as she tried to eat from their meal packet the next time. The brothers drew their knives to kill her. As the ogress could not escape from their hands, she begged them not to kill her and told them that if they spare her, she would do what they wanted. The brothers asked her whether she could cure them of their blindness. The ogress informed the ogres with superpowers about her plight and they gave her eye drops as they could foresee what the princes would do for the Sasana.

In Yarzawingyi, it is said that the treatment of the blindness of the princes began at the place called SaKu and that they gained vision at the place called Ywa Linn. The place where the princes could see clearly and said that the sky is the lid and the earth is the floor is now called Moephone Myayhte.


Earliest Pyu settlements and the ancient India China trade route through Myanmar

April 3, 2012

Tagaung has always been considered as the first Pyu city state (Myanmar began with Tagaung ျမန္မာ အစ တေကာင္းက) according to Myanmar chronicles but the evidence of pre Bagan artifacts were only discovered not long ago.

Lae Kaing လယ္ကိုင္း in Minbu မင္းဘူး – SaKu စကု township / ThunarParanta Taing သုနာပရ ႏၲ တိုင္း  has been mentioned in Myanmar chronicles to be in existence even earlier than Tagaung which was established first by AhBi Yarzar အဘိရာဇာ in the 15th century B.C. Pyu king Thambula of ThunarParanta / Lae Kaing was taken away by Dhanyawaddy army and there was no one to ascend the throne and rule at the time KanYarzarGyi ကံရာဇာၾကီး son of AhBi Yarzar arrived at the area.

Pyu artifacts have been found in Mann oil field near Minbu and recently a gold Pyu bracelet was found in Lae Kaing.

On 8-May 2012, a gold bracelet of Pyu era was found at Khin Kone village, (2 miles northwest of) Let Khote Pin village tract, Minbu – SaKu township. The place is near Lae Kaing, where Kyaung Taw Yar ေက်ာင္းေတာ္ရာ is situated. Kyaung Taw Yar was where Buddha stayed during His visit to the area and it is not far from the Shwe Set Taw ေရႊစက္ေတာ္ where Buddha left 2 foot imprints.


KanYarzarGyi was the elder son of king AhBi Yarzar who arrived from Mizzimadesh in northern India and established the kingdom of Tagaung on the banks of the upper Ayeyarwaddy. It was in the 15th century B.C., long before the time of Buddha (6th century B.C.). After AhBi Yarzar passed away without having a crown prince named, his 2 sons KanYarzarGyi and KanYarzarNge both wanted the throne and were about to wage war. To settle the problem peacefully, the ministers intervened and held a contest to decide who will be king. The princes had to build a Man-dat / temporary hall within a day. KanYarzarGyi built it with wood while KanYarzarNge built it with bamboo. KanYarzarNge finished first and won the kingdom of Tagaung.

KanYarzarGyi and his entourage left Tagaung down the Ayeyarwaddy and went to Kale Taung Nyo where he stayed for 6 months before moving on to Kyauk Padaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan river) and finally to Dhanyawaddy in 1483 BC.. During his stay in Kale Taung Nyo, the Pyu from ThunarParanta / Lae Kaing requested him to ascend their throne but he only had his son Dusetta rule there while he went to better established places.

All these migrations occurred along the ancient trade routes between India and China across Myanmar which was from Mizzimadesh_ the area that include Kapilavastu in Nepal and Rajgir, Gaya, Banares and Kosala of India_ to the Chinese capital at the time at Xi An, formerly Chang’an.

The route was along the Ganges and up the Bhramaputra river (an eastern tributary of the Ganges), through the Hukawn pass to reach either the Chindwin or the upper Ayeyarwaddy, and then up the Tarpein river (which entered the Ayeyarwaddy near Bhamo) to reach Dali Yunnan, and then onwards to Xi An. There are several possible routes within Myanmar.

The one used in preference during the time of AhBi Yarzar would pass directly to the upper Ayeyarwaddy through present day Tanaing and Myitkyina or down the Chindwin and up the upper Ayeyarwaddy. AhBi Yarzar established his kingdom at Tagaung on the upper Ayeyarwaddy below where Tarpein River joined the Ayeyarwaddy.

Another earlier route from Mizzimadesh is along the Kispanadi / Kaladan river through Kyauk Padaung near Paletwa and Dhanyawaddy near Kyauktaw in Rakhine and across the Ann pass to reach the Ayeyarwaddy near Lae Kaing in Minbu – SaKu township.

There is also a coastal trade route from eastern coast of India to reach Dhanyawaddy near Kyauktaw (and later to Mrauk U) in Rakhine.

Lae Kaing in Minbu – SaKu township seems to be the one of the earliest Pyu settlements in Myanmar even earlier than Tagaung and it existed along the ancient India China trade route.

Kale Taung Nyo on the Chindwin was also a well established place on the trade route by the time of KanYarzarGyi.

Similarly, Kyauk Padaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan) and Dhanyawaddy (Marayu an Indian prince, came down the Kaladan river and established the first city of Dhanyawaddy on the east bank of the Kaladan and began to rule Rakhine from 3325 BC) were also well in existence by the time.

All the Arakan Chronicles mention the coming to Arakan of Indo-Aryan peoples from the Ganges valley and the founding of the cities of Dhanyawaddy and Vesali by their kings. The Indian chiefs who came over probably ruled over the the native population, gradually impressing on them their culture and religion.

A group led by Marayu an Indian prince, came down the Kaladan river and subdued the savages. He then established the first city of Dhanyawaddy on the east bank of the Kaladan and began to rule Rakhine from 3325 BC. The dynasty set up by Marayu kept the throne till 1059 BC. During this period there were 3 instances of disposition with 7 rulers outside the dynasty ruling for 23 years. In Arakanese chronicles, Dhanyawaddy existed 3325 BC – 788 AD. But Shitethaung temple Anandacandra inscription dated the founding of Vesali to 350 / 370 AD. So Dhanyawaddy existed until 350 or 370 AD.

In 1531 BC, another migratory wave from Kamarupa (Assam) under Kammaraja came and settled at Kyauk-Badaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan). 24 years later the king came downstream and set up the second city of Dhnyawaddy in 1483 BC.

1st Tagaung Established by AbiYarzar who came from India. Succeeded by younger son KanYarzarNge. KanYarzarGyi went to KaleTaunNyo and stayed for 6 mths. During the period Pyus, Kanyans asked for king and his son Dusetta was installed in ThunarParanta. KanYarzarGyi moved to Rakhine.

Dusetta, son of Kanyarzargyi, ruled ThuNarParanta (LeKaing-SaKu) after Pyu king Thambula was taken away by Dhanyawaddy army.

Kyauk Padaung 1507-1483 B.C. Kanyarzargyi from Tagaung settled and married 2 daughters of last Rakhine Queen. 4300 ft above sea level, 14 m E of Paletwa (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan). 24 years later the king came downstream and set up the second city of Dhnyawaddy in 1483 BC.

Then came Kanrazagri and his twenty eight kingly descendents. He founded the second city of Dhanyawadi.

the second Dynyawaddy (1483-580 B.C.) by King Kanrazagree;

2nd Dhanyawaddy 1483-580 B.C. KanYarzarGyi moved to old site of Dhanyawaddy. 28 kings 927 yrs

During 33rd king Beindaka‘s rule (Buddha’s time), Chinese / Tayoke invaded and destroyed 1st Tagaung. Beindaka retreated to MaLe chaung and died there.

2nd Tagaung. Built during Buddha’s time by DazaYarzar who came from India. Married Nargasein queen of last king of 1st Tagaung. 17kings. 17th king ThadoeMahaRaza had 2 sons MahaThambawa and SulaThambawa

Ancient Trade Routes across Myanmar

We were taught that Myanmar’s mountainous boundaries prevented Myanmar from being occupied until the British, yet, there were trade routes to and from and across Myanmar since the stone age and bronze age cultures.

The India – China trade route across upper Myanmar had been recorded by Roman and Chinese geographers and it was along this route that Roman ambassadors to China passed through.

The Pyu coins, now known to be from Oc-Eo are found all through the Oc-Eo (present day Vietnam, but a sea port of the Chenla nation at the time before the Vietnamese migrate down the coast) Thailand, Kayah, Pyu cities, Dhanyawaddy, Vesali and this is the transAsia trade route at the time with sea ports at both ends.

Sriksetra is at the crossroads of this trade route with the North India – China trade route.

The Jyun (Khmer) army reached Bago during the time of Anawratha and was repelled by the 4 generals of Bagan.

Nan Chao invaded and destroyed the Pyu capital

The Mongols invaded Myanmar and occupied Bagan which was deserted ahead of their arrival


Xi’an is more than 3,000 years old and was known as Chang’an in ancient times. For 1,000 years, the city was the capital for 13 dynasties, and a total of 73 emperors ruled here. Xi’an is the undisputed root of Chinese civilization having served as the capital city for the Zhou, Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties.

The two Chinese characters “西安” in the name Xi’an literally mean “Western Peace”. During the Zhou Dynasty, the area was called Fenghao, with the portion of the city on the west bank of the Feng River called Feng and the portion on the east called Hao. It was renamed Chang’an, meaning “Perpetual Peace”, during the Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 220 CE). It changed in 581 CE to Daxing (大興) during the Sui Dynasty then again became Chang’an from 618 CE during the Tang Dynasty. During the Yuan Dynasty (1270-1368 CE), the city was first given the name Fengyuan (奉元), followed by Anxi (安西) then Jingzhao (京兆). It finally became Xi’an in the year 1369 CE at the time of the Ming Dynasty. This name remained until 1928, then in 1930 it was renamed Xijing (西京), or “Western Capital”. The city’s name once again reverted to its Ming-era designation of Xi’an in the year 1943.

Xi’an is abbreviated in Chinese to either Hao or Tang (唐). The former abbreviation is derived from the Zhou Dynasty name Haojing, whilst the latter comes from the name of the Tang Dynasty.

The 2 versions of how Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar was built and the questions and thoughts that come to my mind

June 16, 2011

There are mythological facts about the establishment of Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar the ancient Pyu walled city near Pyay (Pyay means country in Myanmar and the current city of Pyay or the Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar nearby was considered as their former country by those who left Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar after its fall and settled in Yonehlutkyunn which became the first Bagan and the place is still being called as such) as being told traditionally and mentioned in Myanmar Chronicles including the Glass Palace Chronicle / HmanNann Yarzawin. I do not know what the current official version of the event is but this version is still being mentioned in Dr. Thet Tin’s recently published book. However, I also read of another version of the construction of Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar from contemporary Pyu writings in the late Dr. Than Tun’s book Khit Haung Myanmar Yarzawin.

The origin of Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar is clouded in mystery with mythological events recorded in Myanmar Chronicles and oral traditions, and an entirely different version recorded in Pyu inscription which mentioned about how it was built. I do not know what the current official version of the event is but I heard of the first traditional version while I was young and read about it from the Glass Palace Chronicle / HmanNann Yarzawin and read about the second Pyu version from Dr. Than Tun’s books.

The Glass Palace Chronicle / HmanNann Yarzawin version

When King Maha ThamBaWa died after 6 years’ reign at Sakya Inn, his younger brother Sula ThamBaWa became king in the year BE 66 / 478 BC and made the former queen Baydaryi who was 3 months pregnant with DutTaBaung his queen. King Sula ThamBaWa died after 35 years of good reign in the year BE 101 / 513 BC and DutTaBaung became king and established Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar.

7 persons including the Gawun Pathe Rathe, ThaGyar Minn, Nagarr, Galon discussed and helped build the city according to Buddha’s prophecy. ThaGyarMinn / king of the TharWaTeinThar Nat Pyay / celestial abode / Moe Nat Minn stood on the central post of the good and even land and made a circle with the Nagarr / serpent / dragon as a rope and the resulting city of Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar was of 1 Yuzanar diameter, 3 Yuzanar circumference with the 7 city features of 32 large gates, 32 small entrances, moat, drains, PyitSin, YinShauk, Tazaung, PyaOe. There were also 3 palaces with PyatThats of 7, 9 and 11 Bon for the Hot, Rainy and Cold 3 seasons built by Nats. The city was built within 7 days and the ThaGyar Minn coronated DutTaBaung with 5 kingly apparels including the Thilawun sword and various apparels of emperors, the AhReinDhamar lance, big bell and drum, the Narlar Giri elephant of 22 ft height and 30 ft length and the WaLar Haka horse that can bear the king, 27 Nat warriors to protect the king, the minister NgaNi Parr, NgaYe Kyarr, Pazin Phyu, Pazin Nyo who are well  versed in diplomacy and intelligence.

King DutTaBaung was a very powerful king and whenever he walked, the earth gave way and the ThaGyar Minn had iron mushrooms placed where he will step. The whole world including the ZamBu DiPar Kyun, AhThuYar country and Nagarr country had to offer tribute and give tax.

Srikestra city map

Although not included in the Glass Palace Chronicle / HmanNann Yarzawin the oral tradition also mentioned that while making a circle to mark the boundry of Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar, the Nagarr drew back twice when it met Galon (Nagarr and Galon are natural enemies with the Galon having the upper hand, although the Glass Palace Chronicle / HmanNann Yarzawin mentioned that both the Nagarr and Galon helped the Gawun Pathe Rathe and the ThaGyar Minn in building Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar). Hence the city wall is not circular but uneven at 2 places.

It is difficult to believe that the ThaGyarMinn / king of the TharWaTeinThar Nat Pyay / celestial abode / Moe Nat Minn actually helped king DutTaBaung but I have heard of explanation about the traditional Myanmar oral and chronicle version as follows:

The Kathit pole (ThagyarMinn) is used as centre point to draw the circle using cow (Nagarr) hide string and as there were ponds / Aing (Galon) where the wall cannot be constructed and therefore moved a little to the edge of the ponds and hence the city wall is not circular.

However, on aerial photo view, the city wall is not actually circular and there are no definite deviations at the northeast where the PaukKhaung road leaves the city wall, which is the NagaTunt.

Version from Pyu inscription (Dr. Than Tun’s KhitHaung Yarzawin)

The Pyu king / Dube  HaRi WiKraMa built the city of Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar. (According to Dr. Than Tun, DutTaBaung is not the name of a king but a changed version for the Pyu word for king_ Dube)

Pyu inscription found at Hmawzar WutKhaung hill:

The inscription records the facts concerning the sculpturing of the Buddha statute on order of prince ZaYa Sandra Varman.

The first verse records the building of the 2 cities (1 seems to be Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar) on the same day and the preaching by the prince ZaYa Sandra Varman’s abbot GuHa / GuHa DiPa

The younger brother HaRi WiKraMa (seems to be the ruler of 1 of the 2 cities mentioned) also contributes to the good deed / donation.

The 2 brothers and the people of the 2 cities became friendlier due to the abbot.

The 5th stanza mentioned that the future citizens of the 2 cities would also be friendly with each other.

The last verse prayed for the friendship of the 2 cities till the end of the world and for the successors of the younger brother.

Dikshit’s (who read the inscription) comments:

Although HaRi WiKraMa is mentioned as younger brother, it should not be taken as they are blood brothers but as the younger of the 2 kings

There was a feud between the 2 which was mediated by the abbot GuHa DiPa

The facts that ZaYa Sandra Varman had to contribute the Buddha statute and the well being of HaRi WiKraMa was wished for indicates that HaRi WiKraMa has the upper hand and ZaYa Sandra Varman is in subordinate alliance

Of the 2 kings, the younger HaRi WiKraMa is stronger and would likely to be the one who build the big city of Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar in the 4th century AD. If 1 of the 2 cities is Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar, which is the other one? It cannot be Beikthanoe which is muh older than Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar.

If HaRi WiKraMa established Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar, the WiKraMa dynasty would have ruled it. This is borne out by the finding of names of 3 kings ending with WiKraMa in the rock funeral urns: HaRi WiKraMa, TiHa WiKraMa and Thuriya WiKraMa.

Wikrama dynasty of Sriksetra cremation urn inscriptions

The mention of prince ZaYa Sandra Varman in the Pyu inscription and also the fact that there was a feud between HaRi WiKraMa and ZaYa Sandra Varman is very interesting.

A 5th century AD Pyu inscription on the silver Bhodi throne found at Khin Ba hill mentioned the names of the 2 donors Sri Pra Bu WarMa and Sri Pra Bu Devi. The Varman / WarMa at the end of the king’s name is interesting.

the kings and queens mentioned in Pyu inscriptions

There are kings whose names ends with Varman in southern India but in Myanmar Chronicles, there is no Varman among the names of the Sriksetra / ThaRay Khittayar kings. [Sein Maung Oo, ThaRay Khittayar Myo Haung, Shay Haung Myanmar Myo Taw Myarr]

However, there are several Cambodian kings with names that end with Varman.

Jayavarman (r. c. 478 – d. 514) ascends the throne of Funan. (According to the Chinese dynastic histories, Jayavarman of the Kaundinya dynasty is reigning in 478 until his death in 514, therefore, it seems Jayavarman ascends the throne before 478.)
Jayavarman II (ca. 802-50) Jayavarman II had been held hostage at the Java court in his youth. He returned to his country to liberate it from invaders and assumed kingship in 790.

Cambodia 12th century King Jayavarman VII

Suryavarman I (1002-50).

Suryavarman’s son, Udayadityavarman II (1050-66),

Suryavarman II (1113-50)

The Khmers had extensive territory that included current day Thailand and their armies reached Bago and Thaton and had trade that extends from Oc Eo a coastal town in current Vietnam to Dhanyawaddy near the Rakhine coast, as evidenced by the presence of Khmer coins along the trade route.

Maritime trade also played an extremely important role in the development of Funan. The remains of what is believed to have been the kingdom’s main port, Oc Eo (now part of Vietnam), contain Roman as well as Persian, Indian, and Greek artifacts.

The capital city, Oc-eo is currently found about 6 miles (10 km) inland from Rach Gia. It was an important port at the height of the ancient Kingdom of Funan from the 1st – 6th centuries AD. It lay submerged for centuries until it was rediscovered in the 1940s

The Indianized kingdoms developed all throughout SE Asia during the 1st millinium AD and even prior to that time: in Myanmar (Suvvanabhumi, Pyu), Thailand (early Mon cities of Haripunchai, Dwarawady), Cambodia (Funan, Chenla) before the local dynasties took over and they had extensive trade between them.

Fan Shih-Man (205-225) rules Funan according to Chinese dynastic history – The Liang-shu – relates that Fan Shih-Man “attacked and conquered the neighbouring kingdoms.

By the 3d cent. the Funanese, under the leadership of Fan Shih-man (reigned 205-25), had conquered their neighbors and extended their sway to the lower Mekong River.

The Funanese Empire reached its furthest extent under the rule of Fan Shih-man in the early third century C.E., extending as far south as Malaysia and as far west as Burma.

Fan Shih-Man

The name of the Khmer king, Fan Shih-Man is from Chinese sources and it is possible that there might be error by the Chinese scholars writing in Chinese calligraphy, as different to the SE Asian countries using Sanscrit or Pali. Even words like Sri is pronounced Thiri in Myanmar. It is interesting that Shih-Man and Varman are quite close.

Udayadityavarman II (1050-66), fought an inconclusive war with the Burmese, who thought the Khmers were getting too close to Thaton.

At its height the Khmer Empire extended from the border of modern-day Burma in the west to the South China Sea in the east and to Laos in the north

The Khmers are called Gyun by Myanmars and the fact that their army attacked Bago during king Anawratha’s time is recorded in Myanmar chronicles and the Gyuns are recorded in Myanmar inscriptions of the Pinya era. The Khmers might have invaded till Sriksetra along the trade route at the time of establishing Sriksetra although failed to win as in later times.

From where did king HaRi WiKraMa come from?

Why is his name and also of the other WiKraMa kings not included in Myanmar chronicles (although the presence of these 3 WiKraMa kings is indeed a fact)?

The fact that prince ZaYa Sandra Varman (possibly also a king) had a feud with the stronger but younger king HaRi WiKraMa who built Sriksetra is also interesting and what was the city he built the same day also need to be looked into.

Was the prince / king ZaYa Sandra Varman a Pyu, south Indian or Khmer? Was he the king Jayavarman (r. c. 478 – d. 514) of Funan? (Jayavarman II (ca. 802-50) era is too late for him to be present at the time of establishment of Sriksetra)

Similarly, is the Sri Pra Bu WarMa / WarMan / Varman of Sri Pra Bu WarMa and Sri Pra Bu Devi mentioned on the 5th century AD Pyu inscription on the silver Bhodi throne found at Khin Ba hill the Khmer king Suryavarman I (1002-50) or Suryavarman II (1113-50)?

Here are data I have downloaded from internet for more reading:

During the period between 250 BC and 250 AD, a maritime sea route existed between Alexandra in Northern Africa and China. As trade took place along this route, a number of kingdoms rose to power, flush with finances from trade. These kingdoms all came into being around the same time, and all waned around the same time.

In Vietnam, the Funan Kingdom was active during the time that the Ancient Trade Route was operating.

Funan (1st to 6th centuries)

Cambodia, situated at the lower Mekong River on great trade routes and controlled access to China. The kingdom of the Funan, one of the first to be known in Southeast Asia, adopted religious ideas, political institutions and technical expertise from India.

Its capital, Vyadhapura, probably was located near the present-day town of Phumi Banam in Prey Veng Province. The Funanese economy depended on rice surpluses produced by an extensive inland irrigation system. There is evidence that Funan had once been a strong maritime state, actively involving in sea trades.

Indian religion, political thought, literature, mythology, and artistic motifs gradually became integral elements.

Legend has it that during the first century AD, Kaundinya, and Indian Brahman priest, following a dream came to Cambodia’s Great Lake to find fortune. He met and married a local princess, Soma, daughter of the Naga King, and founded Funan, introducing Hindu customs, legal traditions and the Sanskrit language.


In very ancient times, mythical serpents called Naga were the first inhabitants of the Khmer territory. Cambodia was then called Kok Thlok (the land with a tree), because only a holy mountain with a tree on top was visible above the water.

Once upon a time a Hindu prince called Preah Tong was chased away by his father. The prince soon reached Kok Thlok island, where he fell in love with Soma, a female serpent from the lunar dynasty. Her father, the king of the Naga, approved the wedding. He drank the water surrounding the holy mountain and offered the couple the newly-born territory. So was founded the Kingdom of Cambodia.

The Funan empire was established in what is now Cambodia in the 1st cent. AD

Funan, the earliest of the Indianized states, generally is considered by Cambodians to have been the first Khmer kingdom in the area. Founded in the first century A.D., Funan was located on the lower reaches of the Mekong River in the delta area. Its capital, Vyadhapura, probably was located near the present-day town of Phumi Banam in Prey Veng Province.

It is thought by some that the kingdom of Funan was founded early in the first century A.D. In Cambodia (Siam), i the kingdom of Funan was established in the Mekong delta, which today is Vietnamese territory. The founders of this kingdom were most likely Indian merchants. In subsequent centuries, Funan developed into a seafaring merchant power, but it did not become a formal state with a large land area. It was strategically located to become a trading power ships travelled almost exclusively close to the coastline. The Mekong delta was also an important stop over on the sea route between China and the Malay Peninsula.

The earliest historical reference to Funan is a Chinese description of a mission that visited the country in the third century A.D. The name Funan derives from the Chinese rendition of the old Khmer word bnam (meaning mountain). What the Funanese called themselves, however, is not known.

The name ‘Fu Nan‘ was the name given to the kingdom by the Chinese, derived from the Cambodian word phnom or mountain.

According to reports by two Chinese envoys, K’ang T’ai and Chu Ying, the state was established by an Indian Brahimin named Kaundinya, who in the first century C.E. was given instruction in a dream to take a magic bow from a temple and defeat a Khmer queen, Soma. Soma, the daughter of the king of the Nagas, married Kaundinya and their lineage became the royal dynasty of Funan. The myth had the advantage of providing the legitimacy of both an Indian Brahmin and the divinity of the cobras, who at that time were held in religious regard by the inhabitants of the region.

The name ‘Fu Nan’ was the name given to the kingdom by the Chinese, derived from the Cambodian word phnom or mountain.

Fan Shih-Man (205-225) rules Funan according to Chinese dynastic history – The Liang-shu – relates that Fan Shih-Man “attacked and conquered the neighbouring kingdoms.

By the 3d cent. the Funanese, under the leadership of Fan Shih-man (reigned 205-25), had conquered their neighbors and extended their sway to the lower Mekong River.

The Funanese Empire reached its furthest extent under the rule of Fan Shih-man in the early third century C.E., extending as far south as Malaysia and as far west as Burma.

Fan Shih-Man

Fan Chin-Sheng

Fan Chan Fan Hsun

The Funanese established a strong system of mercantilism and commercial monopolies that would become a pattern for empires in the region. Fan Shih-man expanded the fleet and improved the Funanese bureaucracy, creating a quasi-feudal pattern that left local customs and identities largely intact, particularly in the empire’s farther reaches.

The area was a natural region for the development of an economy based on fishing and rice cultivation. There is considerable evidence that the Funanese economy depended on rice surpluses produced by an extensive inland irrigation system. Maritime trade also played an extremely important role in the development of Funan. The remains of what is believed to have been the kingdom’s main port, Oc Eo (now part of Vietnam), contain Roman as well as Persian, Indian, and Greek artifacts.

The capital city, Oc-eo is currently found about 6 miles (10 km) inland from Rach Gia. It was an important port at the height of the ancient Kingdom of Funan from the 1st – 6th centuries AD. It lay submerged for centuries until it was rediscovered in the 1940s

“Oc Eo (Viet Nam)”

Oc Eo is a very large Funan culture site in the Mekong Valley of Vietnam, occupied about 250 AD. Excavated by Louis Malleret, Oc Eo covers some 1100 acres, has an extensive canal system and brick foundations. Trade goods at Oc Eo are known to have come from Rome, India and China. Most interestingly, documents in mainland China written by agents of the Wu emperor about AD 250 appear to have described Oc Eo as a sophisticated country (Funan) ruled by a king in a walled palace, complete with a taxation system.

In the 4th cent., according to Chinese records, an Indian Brahmin extended his rule over Funan, introducing Hindu customs, the Indian legal code, and the alphabet of central India.

The kingdom is said to have been heavily influenced by Indian culture, and to have employed Indians for state administration purposes. Sanskrit was the language at the court, and the Funanese advocated Hindu and, after the fifth century, Buddhist religious doctrines. Records show that taxes were paid in silver, gold, pearls, and perfumed wood. K’ang T’ai reported that the Funanese practiced slavery and that justice was rendered through trial by ordeal, including such methods as carrying a red-hot iron chain and retrieving gold rings and eggs from boiling water.

K’ang T’ai’s report was unflattering to Funanese civilization, though Chinese court records show that a group of Funanese musicians visited China in 263 C.E. The Chinese Emperor was so impressed that he ordered the establishment of an institute for Funanese music near Nanking. The Funanese were reported also to have extensive book collections and archives throughout their country, demonstrating a high level of scholarly achievement.

Funan’s political history is little known apart from its relations with China. A brief conflict is recorded to have happened in the 270s when Funan and its neighbor Champa joined forces to attack the Chinese province of Tongking. In 357, Funan became a vassal of China, and would continue as such until its disintegration in the sixth century.

By the fifth century A.D., the state exercised control over the lower Mekong River area and the lands around the Tonle Sap. It also commanded tribute from smaller states in the area now comprising northern Cambodia, southern Laos, southern Thailand, and the northern portion of the Malay Peninsula.

Funan reached its zenith in the fifth century A.D.. Beginning in the early sixth century, civil wars and dynastic strife undermined Funan’s stability, making it relatively easy prey to incursions by hostile neighbors. By the end of the seventh century, a northern neighbor, the kingdom of Chenla, had reduced Funan to a vassal state.

Funan was usurped mid-6th century by Khmers who inhabited the vassal state Tchen-la which ended up in turmoil and division in the 8th century.

In the 6th cent. Khmers from the rival Chen-la state to the north overran Funan. With the rise of the Khmer Empire , Cambodia became dominant in SE Asia


C. 550 Chenla, a vassal state of Funan, acquired her independence from the latter. In the further course of the 6th century, Chenla conquered Funan in present-day Cambodia. By conquest, Chenla extended over all of modern Cambodia, the Mekong Delta, southern Thailand and parts of Laos.


A brake-away kingdom around the middle Mekong which assumed most of Funan in a short period of time covered large areas of Cambodia, Laos, Thailand and Vietnam.

In 613 the capital was established at ISANAPURA. The religion was HINDUISM.
In 706 Chenla split in two – Land Chenla (Upper Chenla, centered on CHAMPASSAK (modern Laos)) and Water Chenla (Lower Chenla).

In the 7th century it broke into two parts in : Land Chenla and Water Chenla.

In 715, both Chenla states were further broken up into several smaller states.

In 715 and following, both kingdoms split up further. Water Chenla, the latter, subject to Malay pirate raids, became a vassal of the Javanese Salandra Dynasty.

In the eighth century Water Chenla was subjected to attacks by pirates from Java, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula.

In the beginning of the ninth century, it had become a vassal of the Sailendra dynasty of Java. The last of the Water Chenla kings was killed around 790 by a Javanese monarch whom he had offended.

In 802, the king of Water Chenla was killed; the kingdom disintegrated; a former vassal established the KHMER EMPIRE on the ruins of Water Chenla.

What followed was that the ruler of a small Khmer state in north of the Mekong Delta assumed the throne. His assumption of the throne as Jayavarman II (ca. 802-50) marked the liberation of the Khmer people from Javanese and the beginning of a unified Khmer nation.

A Khmer King named Jayavarman II returned from a region called Java to unite the Khmer people under his leadership around the year 800. Establishing his capital in what is now northwest Cambodia, north of the Great Lake, Jayavarman II was crowned as king of Kambuja and adopted the Hindu religion.

Jayavarman II had been held hostage at the Java court in his youth. He returned to his country to liberate it from invaders and assumed kingship in 790.

He proclaimed himself to be a universal monarch of Khmer in a ritual ceremony borrowed from Hinduism as a “god-king” or deva-raja. In the ritual, he worshipped god Shiva who was known by the Khmer for a long time as a god of protector. As a god-king, King Jayavarman II had psychologically asserted his divine kingship over the Khmer of his absolute authority and sovereignty. At the same time, it was a declaration of Independence from Java.

After the establishment of Angkor kingdom, Jayavarman II expanded his territory throughout Cambodia. He built a temple devoted to god Shiva at Phnom Kulen about 40 km northwest of Tonle Sap

A long succession of strong leaders enabled the Khmer empire to flourish until the 15th century, with the zenith of its influence, might and architectural splendor reached in the 12th century.

At its height the Khmer Empire extended from the border of modern-day Burma in the west to the South China Sea in the east and to Laos in the north.

Besieged by an expanding Siamese kingdom in the west, the Khmer King Ponhea Yat abandoned Angkor in 1434. The seat of power was successively transferred to the sites of Lovek, Oudong and finally in what is the nation’s present day Capital–Phnom Penh.

After the fall of the empire (15th cent.), however, Cambodia was the prey of stronger neighbors. To pressure from Siam on the western frontier was added in the 17th cent. pressure from Annam on the east; the kings of Siam and the lords of Hue alike asserted overlordship and claims to tribute. In the 18th cent. Cambodia lost three western provinces to Siam and the region of Cochin China to the Annamese.

From the 17th century, Cambodia was under the influence of the Siamese kingdom. The country was fought over by the expansionist Siamese and Vietnamese through the 17th and 18th centuries.

Land Chenla submitted peacefully to Angkor’s rule, and it appears that the states in Thailand and Malaya did the same, during the reign of Suryavarman I (1002-50). Suryavarman’s son, Udayadityavarman II (1050-66), fought an inconclusive war with the Burmese, who thought the Khmers were getting too close to Thaton. Suryavarman II (1113-50) conquered Champa and campaigned against the Vietnamese; at one point there was a Khmer army in Thanh Hoa, just 80 miles south of Hanoi.

Kalatharpura / Pot country / Tawnte

November 17, 2010

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Some time back, I saw on MRTV-4, a weekly Industrial Talk show, which that time covered the Sint စဥ့္ / စင့္ / glaze industry of Myanmar. It was mentioned that the Tawnte region that is still producing pots both glazed and unglazed had been doing it since ancient times and that the region was called Kalatharpura / Pot country in a 7th century AD SriKsetra inscription.

There are collections of broken Sint စဥ့္ / စင့္ / glaze pots in Tawnte and over a thousand ancient kiln sites have been identified in Tawnte alone with innumerable ancient kiln sites in the AyeYarWaddy delta too. Inscriptions are present in some pieces. The earliest of them have been proved to be Pyu inscriptions that date to the 7th century AD on paleographic evidence.

The History of Ceramic Pottery
in Myanmar (Burma)

Extracted by the Webmaster from “Burmese Ceramics” by
Sumarah Adhyatman and published by The Ceramic Society of Indonesia, 1985

Nothing has ever been published on Burmese ceramics although the name Martaban, an ancient port in Southern Myanmar has lent itself to a group of large dark glazed earthenware and stoneware jars. A revised edition of the book TEMIPAYAN MARTAVANS concerning martaban jars found in Indonesia which was published in August 1984 by the Ceramic Society of Indonesia contains pictures and references to present production of Burmese jars in Upper Burma.

Several centuries before Christ the Mons – who probably came from Burma (?? ~ Webmaster)- settled down on the estuaries between the Salween and Sittaung rivers. Their settlement area is known as Suvannabhumi or the Golden Land2 from descriptions in Chinese and Indian text. A coastal town of Suvannabhumi is Kalasapura or ‘City of Pots’ mentioned in the Indian Kathasaritsagara of the 11th century.

About 2000 years ago the Pyu people, a Tibeto-Burman tribe settled in Upper Burma, their first capital established in Sri Ksetra near present day Prome. A fragmentary Sanskrit inscription recently found at Sri Ksetra refers to Kalasapura four times in a manner inferring that it was conquered or entered into a special relationship with the Pyus around the end of the 7th century. To be of economic or strategic use to the Pyus, Kalasapura would have been placed either near the mouth of the Salween river in the Martaban-Moulmein area, or near the mouth of the Irrawaddy3.

In the 14th century Martaban was already a busy harbour. It was mentioned by Ibnu Batuta an Arab traveller in 1350 in connection with large jars “… Martabans or huge jars, filled with pepper, citron and mango, all prepared with salt, as for a sea voyage”.

The demand of the Arab, Indian and later the European traders for large jars in which to store liquid and foodstuffs was met by the supply at Martaban, most probably by the supply of local jars. Historical sources mostly refer to the fact that the jars were produced locally8. So the generic name of martavan or martaban jars were indeed first applied to the jars produced and used at the Martaban site. It was later used for all kinds of large earthenware and stone-ware jars from different origins. For instance it is reported that presently Upper India also produce large black jars which they call ‘Martaban”9. The import of Chinese ceramics consisted of porcelain especially celadon dishes which are called “gori”10. At present celadon wares are still called “martabani” in the Middle East.

There has been evidence of use of glaze pots in the Arabian peninsula since old age and their source was first thought to be from Thailand. Not long ago, it has been proved that their origin was from Tawnte region.I read articles about the confirmation of Myanmar as the major source of 15th and 16th century green ware dishes at Julfar one of the largest ports in the Arabian Gulf from the 14th to 16th centuries.

Myanmar ceramic production and trade during the Middle Ages

By Dr Sein Tu

THESE are exciting times in the scientific study of Southeast Asian ceramic history.

The scholarly world of Southeast Asian ceramic research is in a state of intellectual ferment because until recently, Myanmar was regarded as having no tradition of ceramic production.

Kiln excavations in Southeast Asia had previously been conducted only in Thailand, with the result that all ceramic finds of Southeast Asian origin were considered to be Thai. This was the consensus of scientific opinion, with the Myanmar tradition of ceramic production remaining unacknowledged and Myanmar contributions to ceramic ware of Southeast Asia being ignored.

Then, in 1984, ceramic green and white ware of a type never before encountered was found in a burial mound in Tak, a Thai town near the Myanmar border.

At first these were claimed to be products of the archaeological excavations at ancient kiln sites at Kalong in northeastern Thailand, but a number of international ceramic experts thought it more likely that they came from Myanmar.

Then, in a series of crucial experiments reported in the early 1990s, Japanese ceramic scientists K.Yamasaki, G.Hasebe, Y.Emoto and M.Murozumi compared the lead isotope ratios of the Tak burial mound samples with those of glazed tiles from Shwe-gu-gyee Pagoda in Bago and the Apeyadanar Pagoda in Bagan and lead samples from the Baw Hsaing lead mine in Myanmar and the Mae-hon-hsan lead mine in Thailand.

The results showed that the lead isotope ratio of the Tak samples matched those found in the lead from Baw Hsaing mine and the glazed tiles from the Bago and Bagan pagodas, but not with the lead samples from the Thai lead mine.

Furthermore, Myanmar samples showed the effects of the addition of tin to the lead flux during the production process to impart a blanching or whitening effect to the glaze. This is not found in Thai, Vietnamese or any other Southeast Asian ceramic ware. The Tak green and white ware, alone among all other Thai samples, showed the effects of tin glaze technology. This settled the question of the provenance of the Tak samples.

The discovery that Myanmar ceramic ware was based on tin glaze technology drew the attention of international scholars who were quick to point out that any future history of Southeast Asian ceramics would be incomplete without a consideration of Myanmar’s contribution, whilst others suggested that a revision of Southeast Asia ceramic history was already in order.

One related problem was whether there was any archaeological evidence of past Myanmar ceramic production extensive enough to be worthy of note in the history of Southeast Asian ceramics.

In a search for archaeological evidence of ancient kilns in Myanmar, Australian expert Don Hein teamed up with Myanmar ceramic scholars Dr Thaw Kaung and Dr Myo Thant Tyn to excavate the Lagumbyee site near Bago in 1990, and discovered more than 100 cross-draught kilns and production paraphernalia similar to those found in Thailand.

Innumerable ancient kiln sites have been identified since, including more than a thousand at Twante, in the Ayeyarwaddy delta about 40 miles west of Yangon.

A new chapter was written in the history of Myanmar ceramics by a team of Japanese archaeologists led by Tatsuo Sasaki and Hanae Sasaki of Kanazawa University, working from 1988 to 1994 at the Julfar and Hulaylah sites in the United Arab Emirates. Prof. Sasaki reported their findings to the Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science on November 12 this year in a seminar paper titled Trade to the Indian Ocean in the 15-16th centuries from Myanmar : The Excavation of Myanmar Green Ceramic Ware in the Arabian Peninsula.

Julfar and Hulaylah are at the lower end of the Persian Gulf in Ras al Khamia.
Julfar was one of the largest ports in the Arabian Gulf from the 14th to 16th centuries. The archaeological team identified seven layers – the uppermost layer, Level 1, yielded ceramics from the middle of the 15th century and later, whilst the lowermost habitation layer, Level 7, dated to the middle of the 14th century.

The lower levels yielded many sherds of Chinese green ware and white porcelain, while Myanmar and Thai wares were found only in the upper layers. On the other hand Myanmar sherds formed the largest proportion of the green wares found in the 15th and 16th century levels at Julfar.

Generally speaking, Myanmar green ware dishes are heavy and have a low, broad foot ring. Twante bowls have a high foot, the inside of which is not glazed, and is decorated only by simple curved lines. The colour of the glaze is a fairly uniform pale green.

In the shape of the lip and foot, the colour of the glazes, and the curved decorations, the unidentified sherds from Julfar and Hulaylah were found to be similar to Myanmar ceramic ware from the Twante kiln site. The bowls of this type found in Julfar and Hulaylah had also been made using the same production techniques as the Myanmar Twante ware, judging by marks left on the underside of the base during the firing process.

From the archaeological evidence uncovered in the Middle East it has become clear that Myanmar ceramics were exported to many countries during the 15th century. The same type of green ware has been found, not only in the UAE, but also on the coasts of Iran, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.
Indeed, the wheel appears to have come full circle. Myanmar, for a long time relegated to a backwater in Southeast Asian ceramic history because of a dearth of archaeological evidence of ceramic production, has been proved to have had a viable ceramic industry.

The evidence also shows that the industry was so extensive that trade relations were established with many lands during the 15th and 16th centuries for the export of Myanmar green ware in such volumes as to form most of the green ware sherds found at the 15th and 16th century levels at the Julfar and Hulaylah excavations in the Persian Gulf.

Myanmar’s long and documented history of making big glazed jars
By Dr Sein Tu

THE reluctance of many international academics to acknowledge the long tradition of ceramics in Myanmar is nowhere more apparent than in their treatment of glazed earthenware jars associated with the seaport of Martaban or Mottama on the Gulf of Martaban. This is a surprising omission, given that historical references have referred to the production and trade in Martaban glazed ceramic jars for hundreds of years. Many of these references have been noted by Dr Myo Thant Tyn, the chairman of the Myanmar Ceramic Society, in his Tradition of Myanmar Glazed Ceramics and its Historical Status in Southeast Asia, published by the Society in 2000. The references have been gleaned from a variety of sources, which for reasons of space, cannot all be acknowledged. Among the earliest references cited by Dr Myo Thant Tyn are those of two Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, I-tsing and Huien Thsang (or Yuan Chwang) who visited the Pyu kingdom (or Sri Ksestra or possibly Old Bagan or Tampavati) and recorded that the inhabitants bartered earthenware jars as well as glazed ware. Their observations were included in the Man-shu, a chronicle published during the Tang dynasty (618-907 C.E.). The famous Islamic traveller, Ibn Batuta, who visited Lower Myanmar in 1350 C.E. wrote: “The Princess made me a present consisting of … four huge Martaban jars filled with pepper, citron and mango, all prepared with salt, as for a sea-voyage.”  However, the production in Myanmar of Martaban jars was unequivocally testified to by a Portuguese visitor to Myanmar, Duarte Barbosa, who recorded in 1516 that; “In this town of Martaban are made very large and beautiful porcelain vases and some of glazed earthenware of a black colour which are highly valued among the Moores, and they export them as merchandise.” After this, similar observations came thick and fast.  Francois Pyrard de Laval reported seeing in 1610 “the most beautiful, best glazed and made jars I have seen anywhere. There are some that hold a pipe or more. They are made in the Kingdom of Marbatan, from where they are brought and from where they take their name throughout India.” One pipe equalled two hogsheads, or about 105 gallons (nearly 400 litres). Preserved in the Public Record Office of London is a memorandum dated 1664 which states: “The Trade of India as ‘tis now managed by the English Company of Merchants trading in some parts of it is very invalid in comparison of what is now drove by our neighbour nation the Dutch… many sorts of clothing are sent into Pegu, a port in the Bay (Bangala) which returns rubies and readie money, the coin or current money of the place, allsoe Martananas Jarres.Hamilton reported in 1727 that; “Martavan was one of the most flourishing Towns for trade in the East… they make earthen Ware still, and glaze them with Lead-oar. I have seen some Jars made there would contain two Hogsheads of Liquor.”  Dr Than Tun relates how King Alaungpaya (1752-1760), after his conquest of Bago (Pegu), took 5000 prisoners of war back to Upper Myanmar. The potters among them were permitted by royal decree to make glazed earthenware at Kyaukmyaung in Shwebo District. Kyaukmyaung remains a thriving centre for making Martaban jars. Hunter in his Account of Pegu in 1785 adds an amusing footnote to the history of Martaban jars. He wrote; “a foreigner may marry one of the natives, on which occasion he pays a stipulated sum to her parents; but if he leaves the country, he is not permitted to carry his wife along with him. So strict is the law in this particular, and so impossible it is to obtain a dispensation from it, that some men, who have had a great affection for their wives, have been obliged, on their departure, to carry them away in secret in (Martavan) jars which were supposed to be filled with water.” Australian scholar Dr Pamela Guttman referred in 1978 to a long tradition of Myanmar glazed ceramics based on the history of Martaban jars.  In a paper presented that year at a symposium in Hong Kong, Dr Guttman surveyed the glazed ceramic tradition of Myanmar from the 7th century to the 18th century and disproved the view that Myanmar had no history of ceramic manufacture or trade.  British academic John Guy also stated in his Ceramic Traditions of South-East Asia (Oxford University Press, 1989) that while Myanmar was not traditionally associated with glazed ceramic production “there is evidence, both archaeological and textual, of a tradition existing in Burma (Myanmar) from at least the ninth century.” In 1977, an American scholar, Roxanna Brown, noted that; “until very recently Burma (Myanmar) was thought to be quite devoid of old glazed ceramics even though there was physical evidence of modern manufacture, literary evidence of ancient production, and a long tradition in Asia calling large storage jars ‘martabans’. (Brown, R, 1977, The Ceramics of South-East Asia – Their Dating and Identification. Oxford University Press). Excavations in 1984 and 1985 along the Myanmar-Thai border resulted in the discovery of Green and White ceramic ware which was proved by chemical analysis to be of Myanmar origin. This finally aroused the interest of an increasing number of international specialists to the possibilities of further revelations of Myanmar contributions to the history of Southeast Asian ceramics.

Myanmar ethnic groups and their migration into Myanmar

November 12, 2010

I learned in middle school history class that there are 3 main ethnic groups in Myanmar. The Tibeto-Burmans, Mon-Khmers and the Shan and they all came into Myanmar from the north / north-east, current Yunnan province of China.
I also read about articles written by Myanmars who went abroad and were greeted by Indonesians, Malaysians and Fillipinos mistakenly as their countrymen but most Indonesians I noticed have Indian / Arabic features.
Later, when I saw photos of Suharto, Megawatti and many Indonesians who do not have Indian / Arabic features, but look like Myanmars, I thought they might be those of the forefront of Tibeto-Burman migration who went ahead and reached Malaysia and Indonesia and settled there in front of the Bamars who came later and settled in Myanmar. When I explainrd to a friend about it when he mentioned how Bamar-like Suahrto looks, he remarked: those early Tibeto-Burmans are lucky to reach and settle in free Indonesia, whereas, we, the late comers are born and held captive in Myanmar under present conditions.
But I learned later that I was mistaken and that the people in Indonesia are not Tibeto Burmans but actually part of the Austronesians_a seafaring group of people who migrated from current day Taiwan across the seas to settle in the Phillipines, Indonesia, Pacific islands and Malaysia, some even reaching India and Magadasca on the African coast. Some of their group reached Myanmar and are the Salones, a subgroup of the Moken / Sea gypsies that also live in Thailand, Malaysia and the Phillipines.
Humans have lived in Myanmar for 750,000 years, from the Anyathian to the present day Myanmar ethnic groups.

40 million year B.P. Pondaungia cottelia (Poundaung Primate) Live in Pondaung area in Lower Chindwin district
40-42 million years B.P. Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) live in Mogaung village, Pale township in Sagaing Division and in Bahin village, Myaing township in Magwe Division.
750,000- 275,000 years B.P. Lower Palaeolithic men (early Anyathian) live alone; the bank of the Ayeyawaddy river.
275,000-25,000 years B.P. Lower Palaeolithic men (late Anyathian) live along the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy river and central Myanmar
11,000 years B.P. Upper Palaeolithic men live in Badahlin caves which situated in Ywagan township in southern Shan States.
7,000 – 2,000 B.C. Neolithic men live in central Myanmar Kachin State, Shan States, Mon State, Taninthayi Division, and along the bank of the Chindwin and Ayeyarwaddy rivers.
1,000- 800 B. C. Bronze Age Culture
600 – 500 B.C. Iron Age Culture


Lower Paleolithic 300,000-70,000 BC Old Stone Age
Middle Paleolithic 70,000-12,000 BC
Upper Paleolithic 35,000-12,000 BC
Mesolithic 12,000-10,000 BC Middle Stone Age
Holocene Neolithic 10,000-4500 BC New Stone Age
Chalcolithic 4500-3000 BC Copper Stone Age
Bronze Age 3,000-2,500 BC Early Bronze Age
2,500-2,000 BC Middle Bronze Age
2,000-1,200 BC Late Bronze Age

History of mankind in Myanmar will not be complete if the Pondaungia cottelia (Poundaung Primate), Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) and Bahinia pondaungensis are left out. Although it has been claimed that “Lu Tharr AhSa Myanmar Ka / mankind originate in Myanmar” the Pondaungia cottelia (Poundaung Primate), Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) and Bahinia pondaungensis are actually preanthropoid primates and they existed 40 m years ago and are far distant in the evolutionary stage from the hominids of the biological family Hominidae which includes not only the human genus Homo but also the genus Australopithecus (our distant ancestors) and the genus Paranthropus. All 3 genera are bipedal and habitually upright in posture.
All humans_ Homo erectus and Homo sapiens_evolved in Africa and migrated all over the world in several Out of Africa migrations.
The oldest Homo erectus date to 1.8 m years ago in East Africa and this suggests that the Homo erectus originated there. 1.7 m yr old fossil human skulls found in Dmanisi, Georgia may represent the ones that first migrated out of Africa.
There is fossil evidence that by the time the individuals the Dmanisi skulls belonged to were living in Georgia, others of their species had already traveled as far east as Java in southeast Asia. Being close to the boundary between Europe and Asia, Georgia might have been a crossroads of dispersal to the west in Europe as well as to southern and eastern Asia.
The evolution from early man Homo erectus into modern man Homo sapiens sapiens did not occur in Myanmar (Anyathian), nor in China (Peking man) and Java (Java man), but in Africa and/or the Southwest Asia.
Anatomically modern humans_Homo sapiens sapiens_ developed about 150,000 – 190,000 years ago from Homo sapiens and migrated to the Near East and then to Australasia about 60,000 years ago, to Europe and into Asia about 40,000 years ago and to the Americas about 30,000 years ago. Some of the earliest migrants to Asia travelled by a southern route along the coasts while most travelled through the land north of the Himalayas that later became the Silk Road.
a common maternal ancestor coming out of Africa existed 50,000 years ago between the people of Ethiopia and the Arabian peninsula, and India. Matches were not found in the Middle Eastern populations.

In another earlier study, it was found that an earlier migration occurred, pegged at 100,000 years ago, involving a common maternal ancestor coming out of Africa by a northern route, settling in the Mediterranean and in Greece.
According to the available archeological record, anatomically modern humans began to move out of Africa/Eurasia at least 60,000 calendar years ago.
Scientists have now identified the human lineages of the world descended from 10 sons of a genetic Adam and 18 daughters of Eve. This ancestral human population lived in Africa and started to split up 144,000 years ago. This time period is when both the mitochondrial and Y chromosome trees first branch out.
Recent DNA tests had provided clues that the Chinese males’ genes do share one similar feature with the Africans, proving that mankind did come out of Africa.
Did the 2 groups_ the modern man Homo sapiens and the earlier Homo erectus, the Anyathian_intermarry and merge into the current Myanmar population? Or did the earlier Homo erectus_the Anyathian_ become extinct?
As archaeologists and anthropologists pointed out, modern men did not come from homo erectus, nor homo sapiens (80-200 thousand years ago), but homo sapiens sapiens (20-70 thousand years ago), instead.
Recent research into mitochondrial DNA, paleoclimate, and archealogical sites help to further clarify the most recent human migration, which began at least 120,000 years ago. The mitochondrial DNA links all modern humans to a common ancestor, known as “Eve,” who lived in Africa 150,000 years ago.
Current data suggest that Homo sapiens sapiens very likely evolved from archaic Homo sapiens relatively rapidly in Africa and/or the Southwest Asia. They have been dated to 115,000-96,000 years ago at Qafzeh Cave in Israel. In South Africa, they have been found at Klasses River Mouth and Border Cave sites dating to 120,000-100,000 years ago. Since these time ranges overlap, it is not clear which area was the earliest to have modern people. However, it was not until 50,000-40,000 years ago that they began to appear in Europe and East Asia. This was during a short temperate period in the midst of the last ice age. It would seem from these dates that the location of initial modern human evolution and the direction of their dispersion from that area is obvious. That is not the case. Since the early 1980’s, there have been two leading contradictory models that attempt to explain Homo sapiens sapiens evolution–the replacement model and the regional continuity model.
Research by Oxford University and collaborators has shed new light on the last 100,000 years of human migration from Africa into Asia. The new genetic study confirms that some of the earliest migrants travelled into Asia by a southern route, possibly along the coasts of what are now Pakistan and India. The researchers identified a genetic marker in museum samples of inaccessible populations from the Andaman Islands in the Bay of Bengal. This allowed them to re-interpret previous genetic studies from the Indian sub-continent.
The Andaman Islanders have been an enigma since the early days of Victorian anthropology due to their distinctive physical appearance. They have a very short stature, dark pigmentation and tight curly hair which contrasts with settled populations practising agriculture in the region. The same features link them to other isolated populations throughout Southern Asia, many of whom are hunter-gatherers. This has lead to speculation that these groups might represent the original inhabitants of the region who have either been replaced or absorbed into more recent population expansions. More fancifully, some people have speculated that they are related to African Pygmy populations.
Relationships between different groups of people can be described by analysing mutations in mitochondrial DNA, a genetic component that is passed on maternally. The majority of people in Asia have been shown to carry mitochondrial DNA of a type known as haplogroup M, which has several subgroups and can be traced back 60,000 years. In the new study, the Andamans have been shown to belong to the M group, and most likely to its subgroup M2, which is around 53,000 years old.

This provides evidence that the Andamanese are no more related to Africans than any of the rest of Eurasian populations, and may indeed be linked to surviving hunter-gatherer groups in mainland India who also carry the M2 marker. These groups are found at high frequency in the south of India, consistent with an original settlement of Asia by a coastal route within the last 100,000 years.

Although there are still those who accept the multifocal origin of modern man, even the Chinese are now proved to share genes with Africans and accepted to have come out of Africa. Bamars and all Myanmar ethnic groups descend from the first modern humans that originated in Africa and/or the Southwest Asia and the Myanmar preanthropoid primates do not lead to the development of humans on Myanmar soil even if they do lead to the development of hominids and then to the early and modern humans elsewhere (Africa and/or the Southwest Asia).
Before the not so distant migration of the current Myanmar ethnic groups into Myanmar, eary humans were living in Myanmar since 750,000 years BP. They are the Anyathian and existed during the Lower Paleolithic age and are not modern man Homo sapiens sapiens but the earlier Homo erectus and were the counterparts of the Peking man and Java man.
Much later, modern humans Homo sapiens sapiens arrived and the first ones are the Negritos that migrated along the southern coastal route along the current Pakistan and India and also those who reached China first and then migrate south during the Upper Paleolithic age and Neolithic age. Upper Palaeolithic men live in Badahlin caves which situated in Ywagan township in southern Shan State.
Thus these 2 group of humans, the Anyarthian and current Myanmar ethnic groups arrived in Myanmar in different eras.
Of the humans that lived in Myanmar, several are no longer seen although they existed a long time ago in Myanmar and has been mentioned in Myanmar history including the inscriptions.
The earliest people who lived in Arakan were Negritos who are mentioned in the chronicles as Bilus (cannibals). They appear to have been the direct neolithic descendents of the Arakanese soil.
There is mention of Rakhites / YetKhas / Bilus / ogres in Myanmar and Rakhine chronicles including the Bilus / ogres mentioned in the myth of the origin of the MaNoke Thiha in Suvannabumi and also in the BuddhaWin and the Indian, Sri Lankan and Thai cultures. Who are they? They are said to be different from humans and ugly. Are the Bilus / ogres the Homo erectus which has now become extinct? Are they the relatives of the KatPaLis / Negritos that now exist only in the Andaman islands but must have lived along the coastal areas of the Indian ocean? Are the KatPaLis / Negritos that live in the Andaman islands the descendents of the Homo erectus? Current mitochondrial DNA evidence points to their being Homo sapiens sapiens and not Homo erectus. It seems that the KatPaLis / Negritos are the remaining descendents of the earliest human arrivals to Myanmar (and India too), the Rakhites / YetKhas / Bilus / ogres who migrated along the coast after coming out of Africa and reach Myanmar earlier than those who migrated along the Silk road to reach China and then entered Myanmar from the north.

Tibeto-Burmans, arrive 2nd into Burma. They came from eastern Tibet along Bramaputra river to Assam and Burma. They are of 3 groups: Pyu, Kanyan and Thet
A group of people known as the Pyu, who spoke a Tibeto-Burman language, began establishing city-kingdoms in northern Myanmar between the 1st century BC and AD 800.
The Pyu first settled around the Ayeyarwaddy from Tagaung to Pyay, built the first walled cities of Tagaung, Binnaka, Mongamo, Sriksetra / ThaRayKhittayar and Halingyi in Myanmar and later established the first Myanmar Empire controlling lower Myanmar including the ThaNinTharYi I / Tenessarim. The Pyus are said to be Tibeto Burmans and their language is similar to Burmese.
1st Tagaung Established by AbiYarzar who came from India. Succeeded by younger son KanYarzarNge. KanYarzarGyi went to KaleTaunNyo and stayed for 6 mths. During the period Pyus, Kanyans asked for king and his son Dusetta was installed in ThunarParanta / LeiKaing. KanYarzarGyi moved to Rakhine.
Myanmar chronicles mention the migration of AbiYarZar and his entourage from northern India Mizzimzadesh / Mizzima DayTha and settled in northern Myanmar establishing Tagaung and whose descendents ruled Tagaung until the Chinese (? Nanchaos) invaded and destroyed it. There was another migration of prince DaZa YarZar and his group from northern India Mizzimzadesh / Mizzima DayTha at the time of Buddha. They reached Malae and met queen NarGa Hsein who was living where after king Beindaka, the 33rd king of the AbiYarZar dynasty died following the retreat to Malae following the destruction of the 1st Tagaung by the Chinese / TaYoke (?Nanchaos as Chinese influence did not reach Yunnan at the time). They married after finding that both are of Tharki race and established the 2nd Tagaung.

Prince Gopala left Hastinapura in Ganges (north central India) and founded Tagaung after various wars with the Mlech-chlas. Inscribed stone slab 416 A.D. Tagaung. Buddha image with Gupta inscription.
17th king ThadoeMahaRaza of the DaZa YarZar dynasty had 2 sons MahaThambawa and SulaThambawa
Duddabaung, son of MahaThambawa, established SriKhittayar in 101 Buddhist year, 382 B.C. 9 kings Last king Thiririz
Who are the Pyus and why did the Pyus become extinct although they once controlled Myanmar? It is mentioned in the Chinese chronicles that over 3000 of the Pyus were taken to Yunnan when the Nanchao overran the Pyu capital in 832 AD. The Pyu were mentioned in the Bagan inscriptions, separate from the Myanmars so they are a different ethnic group, even if closely related, and was last seen in the Ava inscriptions but they are not seen anymore. The Pyu must be distinct from Bamars but as their lineage disappeared, they must be the minority although they ruled the nation during their time from their superior knowledge of life and warfare. It has been mentioned in Myanmar chronicles that when the Tharaykhittayar / Sriksetra fell, the population dispersed in 3 groups: Pyu, KanYam and Thet. The Thet that settled around ThanDwe TaungZin KhuNit KhaYaing became the southern Rakhines. There were Thets living en masse in the western foothills even in the Bagan era as it was recorded that the ThetMin KaTone rebelled and was subdued, apprehended and beheaded.
There were still Pyus up to the time of Innwa as some Ava inscriptions also mention the Pyus but they are no longer present nowadays. The Pyu nation extended the whole of Myanmar and include the Thanintharyi. There is now proof of it from recent excavations in the Thanintharyi, including those around Dawei. The Pyus must have ruled over the Bamars, Mons and all other ethnic groups present at the time.
What they are and why they have gone instinct, and whether there are some descendents left in the foothill regions of the Chin and Yaw areas is still a mystery
I wonder whether there is any significant difference between the genomes of different ethnic groups in Myanmar. If so, it will be a double edged weapon as one’s race can be tested in a lab!

The Mons are traditionslly considered to be the first group of current Myanmar ethnic groups to settle in Myanmar but the Rakhites / YetKhas / Bilus / ogres arrived before them but they no longer exists. The Mons are part of the Austroasiatic Mon-Khmer group that migrated down the Mekong and Thanlwin rivers to settle around their river mouths in Cambodia, Thailand and Myanmar; Khmers to the east in Cambodia and the Mons to the west in current day Thailand and Myanmar. The Khmers established the Funan, Chenla and Angkor Khmer civilizations whereas the Mons established the ancient Suvanabhumi, whose location is controversial, but is mentioned in the Maha ZaNetKa ZatTaw, one of the 10 previous human existences of Buddha / ThiekDatHta prince as the distant overseas place where ZaNetKa went to find riches and on the return journey he met a storm and was the only survivor and also the Dvaravati and Haripunjaya kingdoms in current Thailand.
Mon-Khmer migration came from Laos and Cambodia. The tribes include Wa, Tai, Palaung, Yao, Padaung, En, and Mon
The Mons, a people of Malayo-Indonesian stock, are related to the early inhabitants of Thailand and Cambodia who also spoke Mon-Khmer languages. The Mons who are considered to be the indigenous inhabitants of lower Burma, established their most significant capital at Thaton, strategically located for trade near the Gulf of Martaban and the Andaman Sea

Tibeto-Burmese migration came from the North. They include Kadu, Lashi, Atsi, Rakhine, Chins, Kachin, Sing-po, Lisu, Lahu, Kaw (Akha), Ako
Another group of Tibeto-Burman speakers, the Burmans, also had become established in the northern dry zone. They were centred on the small settlement of Pagan on the Irrawaddy River. By the mid-9th century, Pagan had emerged as the capital of a powerful kingdom that would unify Myanmar
Bamars, the majority of the population in Myanmar are part of the Tibeto Burman group which also include the Chins, Pyu and Thet. The Chin lived along a river, which later came to be known as Chindwin river. The Kadu probably drove them up the Chin Hills. Kadu occupied Tagaung or Thandwepyi of northern Myamamr. The Thet settled in Rakhine around ThanTwe and some parts of central Myanmar.
Are Bamars the descendents of the first human arrivals, the Anyathians who were Homo erectus and have been living in Myanmar for 750,000 years? Or are Bamars descendents of the modern man, the Homo sapiens sapiens that arrived 11,000 years ago? Or are Bamars a result of interbreeding between the Homo erectus and the Homo sapiens sapiens? Or did the Bamars arrive in Myanmar only in the 8th centuary AD when they fled from the Nanchaos? If so, why is there no record of such massive migration of a people in the not so distant past although Myanmar chronicles mention even the arrival of AhBi YarZar and his entourage from mizzimadesh in pre Buddha times and the arrival of the Tagaung prince who later became a Rathe and raised BayDarYi and later of the princes Maha Thambawa and Sula Thambawa to the area near Pyay, and then of PyuSawHti to Bagan.
About 800 A. D.. Bamar and its racial groups came into Myanmar along the Thanlwin river via the Nat Htate Valley in the south-east of Kyauk-se Township. At that time Thet and Kadu were living in the northern part of Myanmar at Tagaung , which was in the east of Ayeyawady river , ancient Rakhine were living at Vesali , Mon were residing at Thaton which was situated near the sea and Pyu were staying at Sri Kshetra which was near Hmaw Zar village near the town
of Pyi.

Myammar followed the route taken by the Kayins to enter Myanmar. They appeared only in the 9th century A.D. They preferred to live in the hot dry regions and so they took central Myanmar. Kyaukse area was their first home in Myanmar. Then they occupied the Minbu area. With center at Bagan, they consolidated their power in Central Myanmar and builts a king dom in the 11th century A.D.

The Burmans had originated in southwest China 3,000 years ago. They populated the Ayeyarewaddy river area through migration and the conquest of the original people of the valley, the Pyu in the 7th century
The Danu, Intha, Yaw, Dawei and Beik inhabitants and the Rakhines speak Bamar dialects and are part of the Bamar tribe and would have migrated together, earlier than or later than Bamars into Myanmar. They would have either gone in front of the Bamar migration or followed the Bamar migration and had to go ahead to find good pasture lands in their quest for YayKyiYar MyetNuYar / where the water is clearer and the grass is greener. However, some say that the Innthars are the group who settled in Inle when king AhLaungSithu took them from Dawei in his tour of the country.
I have a friend who was from Kalaw and I had always thought he is a Bamar until one day he mentioned that he is a Danu. I was surprised as he does not have any accent like other Myanmar ethnic groups or the Rakhines, YawThars, and the Dawei and Beik inhabitants. Another friend also told me about his experience with the Danus. He is a geologist and during his student days, he was sent to a field trip around Kalaw and stayed in a Danu village for the duration. Nearing the field trip, he asked his landlord / AinShin to teach him some Danu words. The landlord / AinShin laughed and told him that Danu is the same as Bamar language although pronounced a little different. Not long ago I heard of several Danu songs. I do not know whether they are specially pronounced in Bamar or whether they are in actual Danu, but I can understand them perfectly, unlike that of the Rakhines which is more different and the Yaw, Beik and Dawei dialects which I do not understand anything.
The Rakhines are the result of many migrations to the area.
The earliest people who lived in Arakan were Negritos who are mentioned in the chronicles as Bilus (cannibals). They appear to have been the direct neolithic descendents of the Arakanese soil. Later, waves of peoples of different races came into this land from the north. Late comers were the Mros and Saks, followed by the Chins, Khamis, Daingnets and the Chaungthas.
All the Arakan Chronicles mention the coming to Arakan of Indo-Aryan peoples from the Ganges valley and the founding of the cities of Dhanyawaddy and Vesali by their kings. The Indian chiefs who came over probably ruled over the the native population, gradually impressing on them their culture and religion. (Similar to the central Myanmar basin where AbiYarzar, DaZa YarZar and Gopala settling in Tagaung).
Arakanese chronicles date the history of Arakan back to 5000 BC when 2 migratory waves from the eastern part of India coming with a group settled at Kira-brin, 16 miles north of Mrauk-U, and the other settled at Dwarawaddy (Thandway). Later on the group at Thandway dispersed and joined with Kira-brin group to establish Vesali. Local dynasty ruled Vesali up to 3325 BC.
Sakkya migration into Rakhine. 1st gr: Vasudeva_ruled Dwarawady [Thantwe]. 2nd gr: Ahzona_married daughter of local chief. [son] Marayu conquered old Vesali and founded Dhanyawaddy 3000 B.C. 55 kings
In 3327 BC, savages (Rakkhaik) overtook Vesali and rendered it without a king. A group led by Marayu an Indian prince, came down the Kaladan river and subdued the savages. He then established the first city of Dhanyawaddy on the east bank of the Kaladan and began to rule Rakhine from 3325 BC. The dynasty set up by Marayu kept the throne till 1059 BC.

According to tradition Indo-Aryan people reached Arakan from India Gangha delta and settled in Kaladan Valley at the very early time. Before migrating to Arakan, those Indo-Aryan are thought to have mixed and intermarried with a migrant Mongoloid tribe in eastern India and Arakan.

An eminent Arakanese archaeologist, U San Shwe Bu, pointed out that the Indo-Aryan came to Arakan from Majjhimadesa who were living on the bank of river Ganges.
In 1531 BC, another migratory wave from Kamarupa (Assam) under Kammaraja came and settled at Kyauk-Badaung (near Paletwa, on the Kaladan). 24 years later the king came downstream and set up the second city of Dhnyawaddy in 1483 BC.
Kyauk Padaung 1507-1483 B.C. Kanyarzargyi from Tagaung settled and married 2 daughters of last Rakhine Q. 4300 ft above sea level, 14 m E of Paletwa.

Then came Kanrazagri and his twenty eight kingly descendents. He founded the second city of Dhanyawadi.
the second Dynyawaddy (1483-580 B.C.) by King Kanrazagree;
2nd Dhanyawaddy 1483-580 B.C. KanYarzarGyi moved to old site of Dhanyawaddy. 28 kings 927 yrs

Shans are part of the Tai people of Tibeto Chinese group. They lived in Yunnan before they entered Myanmar at the Maw valley. The Shan are in Myanmar before the fall of Bagan but they came in force only after ad 1300 when the Nanchao kingdom was taken over by the Chinese.
The Shan of the Shan Plateau have little ethno-linguistic affinity with the Burmans, and their society, unlike that of the plains peoples, was less elaborately structured. The Wa and the Palaung are Mon-Khmer speakers, but, because of the smallness of their numbers and their long residency on the plateau, they are sometimes confused with the Shan.

The Tai appeared historically in the 1st century AD in the Yangtze River valley. Chinese pressures forced them south until they were spread throughout the northern part of Southeast Asia. Their cultural descendants in present-day China include the Pai-i, Lü, and Nua in Yunnan, the Chung-chia (or Puyi) in Kweichow Province, and the Chuang-chia (or Chuang) in Kwangsi Chuang Autonomous Region. Tai cultural identity has remained strongest among the Shan of Myanmar, the Thai (or Siamese) of Thailand, and the Lao.
The Shan inhabit most of the Shan Plateau area of Myanmar, concentrated in the autonomous Shan State. Traditionally, they have been ruled by princes (saohpas, or sawbwas) with semidivine attributes, but the princes have lost most of their former autonomy.

Tai-Chinese (Shan) migration is the last and they came from Yunnan. They sacked Bagan 1299, and controlled upper Myanmar from 12th-15th century AD. They do not evolve into a nation and are ruled by 33 SawBwas.
Shan State is populated by 4 m people of 33 hill tribes, 35 races.
Ethnic Shans consist of 50% of Shan States. With 4 m people they are the 2nd largest ethnic group in Myanmar.
Palaungs live in the NW ranges.
Kachins in the north
Kaws (Akha) live in the extreme NE
Wa live in NE ranges
Padaungs live in the SW


Kachins are part of the Tibeto- Burmans and are the group most close to the Tibetians and entered Myanmar in about 16th century A.D. They live in northern Myanmar from the Kachin to the Shan states and also live in Yunnan. There are many Kachin tribes but the Jingphaws are the majority and also include the Rawans who settle further north around Putao.
Although the Lisu / LiShaw are considered to be part of the Kachins their culture is more closely related to Chinese and I have not read about them being included in the Tibeto- Burmans as the Kachins are.
LaWaw / MaRu are closer to Bamars and the Kachins closer to Tibetians in the Tibeto Burman group range.
The Karens have a history of migration before they reached Myanmar.
Kayins belonged to the Tibeto- Chinese family. They came into Myanmar from the north along the Salween rivers, passed the southern Shan state entered the plains of Myanmar by about the 7th century AD.
The Karen year is signifant as it was counted from 739 BC (2007 = 2745 Karen year). It is not clear what the occasion was that led to the counting of the Karen calendar that year although some took it to be the year the Karens settled in Myanmar while others hold that the Karens entered the plains of Myanmar only in the 7th century AD; if so, 739 BC might be another occasion, maybe the beginning of the Karen migration from their original homeland.
The Karen oral traditions refer to crossing a river of “running sand” as an important event in their history. There are Chinese courses which refer to the Gobi Desert as the “River of sand”, and it is probable that the Karen originated in an area bordering Tibet, crossed the Gobi Desert into China, and gradually made their way into the mountainous areas of Burma.
Historically, the Karen descends from the same ancestors as the Mongolian people. The earliest Karens settled in Htee-set Met Ywa (land of flowing sands) a land bordering the source of the Yang-Tse-Kiang River in the Gobi Desert. From there, we migrated southwards and gradually entered the land now known as Burma about 739 BC.
We were, according to most historians, the first settlers in this new land. The Karen named this land Kaw-Lah, meaning the green land. We began to peacefully clear and till our land free from all hindrances. Our labors were fruitful and we were very happy with our lot. So we changed the name of the land to Kawthoolei, a land free of all evils, famine, misery and strife: Kawthoolei, a pleasant, plentiful and peaceful country. Here we lived characteristically uneventful and peaceful lives, before the advent of the Burma.
The Pho Karen subgroup includes the Pa’O and Pwo languages in Burma and several other languages in Thailand. The Pa’O are the second most numerous ethnic group in the Shan State of Myanmar (Burma) after the Shans themselves. Both Pa’O and Pho are categorised as Southern Karen. Some 600,000 Pa’O live in the southwest of Shan State from the slopes of the mountains near Kalaw up to Thaton region at the foothills of the Bago Yoma ranges.
Kayas were the same group of Kayin, lived in the lower east of Myanmar.

Only a few thousand Danus exist and they live in Kalaw, Pindaya and Pyin-U-Lwin areas.
Their language is a dialect of Burmese.
Inthas are people living on Inle Lake.
There is a saying that they are descendents of people who fled from Dawei to escape wars during the 18th Century.
Their language closely resembles the Myanmar.

Khin Khin Kyawt Intha were from Dawei captured by Myanmar King Alaung Si Thu and made them slaves of the pagoda he built on Inle lake.

Myanmar chronicles mention the migration of AbiYarZar and his entourage from northern India Mizzimzadesh / Mizzima DayTha and settled in northern Myanmar establishing Tagaung and whose descendents ruled Tagaung until the Chinese (? Nanchaos) invaded and destroyed it.

Ko Ko Gyi I think Sino-Shan or Shan-Tayoke would be more correct as NanCho Shans also involved.

Ko Ko Gyi TQ saya. May I SHARE this article in my blog.

Nyi Win thanks all for your interest in my notes

Nyi Win
sayar Ko Ko Gyi, please do SHARE my notes in your blog
thank you for appreciating and wanting to spreading it
I welcome all to share or resend my notes and blogs anytime without needing to ask for my approval
I believe in transfer of Free know…ledge and expression of a thousand thoughts
I read about the 2 school of thoughts on the internet and computers
those who want to make a profit and demand patents and royalties, like Microsoft and Windows
and those who want to share and develop the knowledge and technology of everything including programs and softwares, such as Linux
I am of the free knowledge and technology group
I am sorry for the delay in reply
I was out of regular FB contact for the last month as I was home and the internet was not good in Myanmar, but I managed to post my notes on the night of the 7th Nov
and I had not logged in till today

Harry Hpone Thant
Ko Nyi,
As I had told you before, please see the original book by Sayargyi U Min Naing on the ethnic groups of Myanmar and their migration history. The book is very rare and you might not be able to get it. maybe there might be a book or two… at Pansodan. But the version in English, as translated by me, is still available at Myanmar Book Centre in Yangon. The title is “National Ethnic Groups of Myanmar” Sayargyi U Min Naing devoted his whole life to the study of ethnic groups in Myanmar and had left a treasure trove of his original oil/water colour painting and we were about to publish it. Had photographed all of the paintings but before we could do that U Min Naing died and his heirs quarreled among themselves and we were unsuccessful. The photos are still with us in MM but cannot publish.

Nyi Win ko Harry, thanks for your information and the translation effort you had contributed for the knowledge of ethnic groups of Myanmar and their migration history

Trace Htun Very interesting read U Nyi. Thank you especially for informative notes on Palaeolithic anthropological finds in Burma.

Nyi Win
Trace, you will find mesolithic and neolithic articles at the following urls…09/03/24/the-neolithic-culture-of-the-padah-lin-caves/

and other articles on Myanmar archeology at the
Association Of Myanmar Archaeologists
Myanmar Archaeology Students Blog

Harry Hpone Thant
Ko Nyi,
There are some villages in the Htilin-Gantgaw area who say they are Pyus. I have not been to their villages. They are said to be in the Pondaung Pon Nya ranges but had seen them on the road when I was going to Haka from Pakokku. Ther…e is a stop on the way near a Nat shrine(I forgot the name) at the top of a steep incline and a log truck had overturned and all were stuck. There I met a group of villagers and their speech was very strange and when I asked them they told me they are Pyus and told me they are on their way to Bagan on pilgrimage.There was also one TV story/show on Myawaddy I think based on this village. I just forgot the name of the village. I had overnighted at Kyaw village twice and the people there also said there are Pyu villages nearby. Kyaw village is just before you get to the Pondaung-Ponnya Railways Tunnel under the Pondaung-Ponnya Range on the Pakokku-Gantgaw-Haka Raikways. Anyway there are some villages around on the west bank of the Chindwin near Patohlon Stream(you will know the place. It is where the MM-Chinese geologist recently found big gas deposits) and where the displaced court officials settled when they fled Mandalay in 1885.And the Chins have a saying “Chin Hman Bagan Ga”. The Chins say they fled to the west of the Ayeyarwady after a quarrel with a Bagan king and the word Popa is related to a Chin word. I got this from a Chin shaman(a nat sayar) from Mindat when I was there to document a Chin wedding for my Enchanting Myanmar magazine.

Nyi Win
ko Harry, thanks for the information on the villages in the Htilin-Gantgaw area that might one day be proved to be the Pyu descendents
I read an article about it in a Myanmar journal not long ago and had photocopied it
it remains for the anth…ropologists to make investigations and make public report, whatever the outcome
maybe they had already done something

Harry Hpone Thant Could you scan and send this article to me pls? But as far as I know there were no anthropological surveys done there. Most were around Hanlin and Nyaung gan. Have you seen my article on the Pyu cemetery at Nyaung Gan? Pls follow the link. I have some photos too of the skeletons and the stone bangles.

Nyi Win ko Harry, the photocopy is at my home
the original journal was here in the Mann office
I will look for it and scan / photograph and send it to you if I find it here again or when I go back home on days off in 9-Dec

Ko Ko Gyi
TQ Mr Harry Hpone Thant for the interesting comment.
When even the famous historian Dr Than Tun’s most of the books I had read had stated that the Pyus had disappeared and assimilated with new migrant Myanmars migrated from Yunnan. It is qu…ite interesting.

As I am away from Myanmar but life is sometimes strange enough, I now have a chance to see patients from numerous ethnic minorities and from almost all the different places of Myanmar, here in KL. Recently I have seen few strange looking Myanmars with curious accent from the villahes near Taungope. They are darker and facial features are Tibeto-Burman but different from Bama, Rakhine, Chin and totally different from Chinese and Indian features. They are speaking the Myanmar language with a strange accent. I know the accents of Rakhines, Danu, Inthas, Tavoy, Mons very well. I suspect that may be they were the descendants of Pyu and asking my patients from Taungope. They told me that there were strange looking/speaking few villages on the hills near their town.
By the way when I enquire about Pashus of Myanmar, I got a very few facts only.
Kindly allow to copy your comment and share in my blog.

Harry Hpone Thant I will be honoured to let you share my comments.Pashus are, in my limited knowledge, Malays. When we were young we were always afraid of the Pashus Gaung Hpyat!I am trying to trace back the name of the villages(the so called Pyu villages) around the western Chindwin and the eastern foothills of the Chin Hills. Please also visit my website I had posted many articles on Myanmar’s nature, culture and traditions there.

Ni Ni Sein Very interesting conversation. My husband’s hobby was hunting. He told me about the villagers who speak strange burmese near Mahamyaing forest. He said that those people were the group of people ( ? mandalay palace)who hide in the forest when the english colonised burma in 1885.

Harry Hpone Thant
I have been in the Mahamyaing forest on my way to the Naga Hills via Hkamti by land route from Mandalay, though I had not been able to take my time and do some inquisitive conversations with the villagers. I have been to Thetke Kyin, Mauk k…a daw etc.There is a saying that “Pyaw lo Mingin, Nay lo Taung dwin, Thay lo Mauk ka daw” It means if you want to have a jolly life go to Mingin, if you want to settle down forever go to Taung dwin and if you want to die go to Mauk ka daw.Taung dwin is a village in the Taungdwin Valley of Taung dwin Chaung near Mingin where the displaced people from the Mandalay court settled after 1855. They still practice some ancient rituals. Mauk ka daw is on the banks of the Chindwin and malaria-infested so very dangerous for your health. It is at the edge of the Maha myaing forest and produces very good natural honey.At dusk troops of monkeys would sit in the middle of the road and hold a pow wow!Also most of the owls sold at Sagaing Kaung Hmu Daw pagoda for people to buy and set loose are caught in the Maha myaing forest.

The Pyu nation

September 29, 2010

Pyu sites

The Pyu nation: introduction

Much has been written about the Pyu but there are not much Pyu writings apart from the few religious writings and the funeral urn inscriptions that has been excavated at various Pyu sites. It is only from our chronicles and archeological findings that the Pyu history is based on. Traditionally, the Pyu walled cities of Tagaung, Beiktahno and Sriksetra and elsewhere were considered to be city states that flourished in different eras and Bagan has been considered as the first Myanmar empire. But according to contemporary Chinese sources, and the recent archeological findings including that of Pyu settlements in lower Myanmar including those near Dawei, the Pyu nation covered the current Myanmar territory and it is the Pyu that established the first Myanmar empire.

The ‘Pyu’ in Chinese records

The Pyu are referred to as the ‘P’iao’ in Chinese texts dated from the 3-9C AD, although they are thought to have called themselves ‘Tircul’. Tircul is used, for example, in the 1102 AD palace inscription of Kyanzittha, where Tircul, Bamar and Mon dancing is described (Blagden and Duroiselle 1921). Variants of Tircul are also mentioned by Perso-Arab authors of the 9th and 10th centuries AD. Bordering Nan-chao, these ‘ kingdoms are at war with China, but the Chinese come out stronger.’ (Luce 1985:46)

Early accounts

A long established trade route between China and India passed through what is now Upper Myanmar. The Han dynasty establishment of a prefecture at Yung-ch’ang in Yunnan in 69AD prompted increased mention of these areas although reference to kingdoms precedes mention of the P’iao. The earliest note is in the work of two envoys, K’ang T’ai and Chu Ying, sent to the court of Funan in southern Cambodia, possibly around 240AD. There they met an emissary from India who gave them information about a number of kingdoms to the west.

Upon their return home, K’ang T’ai in particular included these stories in his report (Briggs 1951:21). One passage mentions <span>a kingdom known as Chin-lin located on a large bay over 2000 li west of Funan. Another 2000 li west was the kingdom of Lin-yang, accessible only overland, not by water. The people of this kingdom were said to be Buddhist. Linking the areas named in the Chinese records with names of archaeological sites continues to pose a challenge to academics.

Chen Yi-Sein, formerly Reader in Chinese at Yangon University, has identified Lin-yang with Beikthano, relying on various linguistic conclusions, some elaborated, about a range of dates and associated placenames. Htin Aung identifies Lin-yang with Halin and Chin-lin with Thaton (1967:7,9). Luce also suggested Thaton as Lin-yang and the presence of Lopburi Khmer from central Thailand, although in other articles adopted a more conservative conclusion that Chin-lin may have been on the Gulf of Martaban or the Gulf of Siam, which would place Lin-yang in either Myanmar or Thailand (Luce 1965:10, Wheatley 1983: 167). Even if this early Chinese text is identified with Beikthano, Taw Sein Ko refers to two ancient capitals by this name, one in Magwe, and the other in the Upper Chindwin (Aung Thaw 1968:5).

Other Chinese texts of about the 4th century AD describe troublesome groups living southwest of Yung-ch’ang. These peoples grew millet, hill-paddy, cotton trees and cinnamon, and produced saltwells, gold, silver, jade, amber, cowrie and tortoise shell. There were rhinoceros and elephant, and monkey hide was used to make armour. The peoples were alleged to be cannibals, who tattooed themselves and used bows and arrows. Further to the southwest, some 3000 li, were “a civilised people, the P’iao, where ‘prince and minister, father and son, elder and younger, have each their order of precedence” (Luce 1960:309). They made their knives and halberds from gold, and produced perfumes, cloves, cowries and a white cloth from the cotton-tree.

The Pyu nation: Sriksetra according to Chinese chronicles

The mention of the Pyu in Chinese sources is seen in the following:

  • chronicles of the monks Hsüan Tsang and I Ching who visited India in the 7th century
  • Old Tang History (Chiu-t’ang-shu)
  • New Tang History (Hsin-t’ang-shu) Shinn-T’ang-Shu and the
  • Man Shu, compiled by Fan Ch’o

I do not have any complete translations of them, even with regard to the Pyu, but only articles quoting them. Here is from what Moore wrote:

For full, see Royal chronologies and finger-marked bricks by Elizabeth Moore

Later accounts

Over the three hundred years following the 4th century AD, there was little mention of the P’iao.

However, in the 7th century, two monks, Hsüan Tsang and I Ching, travelled to India and in both records Sriksetra is mentioned. Neither monk visited the city, and although the P’iao are not specifically cited, they do refer to a capital called Sriksetra, or ‘field of glorylocated in a country that to the south, “borders on the sea” (Luce 1985: 48).

The later Chinese sources are linked to the fortunes of the kingdom of Nan-chao. As a result of an alliance forged with Tibet in 755AD to defeat the Chinese, the Nan-chao king Ko-lofeng initiated communications with the Pyu. By the end of the century, however, the Tibetan link was broken as Ko-lo-feng’s grandson strengthened ties to the Chinese court. An embassy from Nan-chao to the Chinese court was sent in 800, 802 and 807AD.

Due to these shifting alliances, information about the Pyu capital was included in records of the time such as the Old Tang History (Chiu-t’ang-shu) and the New Tang History (Hsint’ang-shu). Another document of this period is the Man Shu, compiled by Fan Ch’o after gathering information from Pyu soldiers during the 862AD siege of Hanoi (Luce 1960:318, 1985:77). All the sources contain details about the Pyu capital.

The king’s name is Maharaja မဟာရာဇာ. His chief minister is Mahasena မဟာေသန. [Actually they are not names but designations of the king and chief of staff in ?Sanskrit / Burmese, but Pyu, not Burmese is official language at the time]When he goes on a short journey, the king is borne in a litter of golden cord; when he journeys far, he rides an elephant. His wives and concubines are very numerous; the constant number is a hundred persons. The compass of the city-wall is faced with glazed bricks; it is 160 li in circumference.” (Luce 1960:318)

An account of Beikthano [Tharekhittra, not Beikthano] was recorded in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) Chinese chronicle Man Shu in the chapter ôThe Southern Barbarians as follows:

ôThe circular wall of his (the Pyu King╝s) city is built of greenish glazed titles (brick) and is 160 li. It has 12 gates and three pagodas at each four corners. . . Their house tiles are of lead and zinc. . . They have a hundred monasteries with bricks of vitreous ware, embellished with gold and silver, vermillion, gray colours and red kino.╜ [Taw Sein Kho (1895), The Pottery and Glasware of Burma 1894-95╜,Superintendent of Govt.Printing, Rangoon.]

The li varied at different periods, and during T’ang is thought to have been about 360 metres.

The Man Shu, however, remarks that the time to march around the city was a day, generally taken to be about 50 li (Wheatley 1983: 193). The tiered form of the pyatthat appears to have been used to mark the four corners of the city gates. Inside the walls were more than a hundred Buddhist assembly halls (‘wats’), whose form was similar to the palace of the king.

Pagodas were roofed with tiles of lead and tin and furnished within with embroidered rugs, gold and silver and cinnabar and gum-lac (Wheatley 1983: 177). The population used a silver coinage, and all lived within the city walls. One source noted that there were several tens of thousands of families, a calculation implying up to a 100,000 people. Also recorded in the Man Shu is the respect paid to a white image over 100 feet high:

In front of the gate of the palace where the king of (this) kingdom dwells, there is a great image seated in the open air, over a hundred feet high, and white as snow. It is their wont to esteem honesty and decency. The people’s nature is friendly and good. They are men of few words. They reverence the Law of the Buddha. Within the city there is absolutely no taking of life. Also there are many astrologers who tell fortunes by the stars.

If two persons go to law with each other, the king at once orders them to burn incense in front of the great image and ponder on their faults: whereupon each of them withdraw. If a disaster should occur, or pestilence, or war, or disturbance, the king also burns incense facing the great image, repents of his transgressions, and takes the blame on himself.

The men mostly wear white tieh. The women on top of their heads make a high coiffure, adorned with gold, silver and real pearls. They wear for show blue skirts of p’o-lo (silk cotton) and throw about them pieces of gauze-silk. When walking, they always hold fans.

Women of noble family will have three persons, of five persons at their side, all holding fans.

When there are persons sent to take letters to the Ho-t’an of the Man borders, they take ‘river-pigs,’ white tieh, and glazed jars for barter or trade.” (Luce 1961:90-1)

The ‘river pigs’ were probably river porpoises, and the tieh a silkcotton cloth.

The New Tang History also mentions the image:

They wear gold-flowered hats and caps of kingfisher feathers strung with various jewels. The king’s palace has two bells, one of silver and one of gold; when enemies are at hand they burn incense and strike these bells, thus obtaining omens concerning their fate in the coming battle.

There is a great white image, 100 feet high. Those who are engaged in a lawsuit kneel in front of it, think for themselves whether they are right or wrong, and go away…”

The New Tang History and the Man Shu make it clear that Nan-chao held the upper hand in these relations with the ‘P’iao’. For example, Pyus were conscripted to fight with the Nanchao army in the capture of Hanoi in 863 AD.

Fan Ch’o did not visit the Pyu cities but had been sent on a mission to Yunnan the previous year, and later wrote of Pyu exiled to this area:

“In [AD 832] Man [sc.Nan-chao] rebels looted and plundered P’iao kingdom [sc. Halin]. They took prisoner over three thousand of their people. They banished them into servitude at Chê-tung [approx. Yünnan Fu], and told them to fend for themselves. At present their children and grandchildren are still there, subsisting on fish, insects, etc. Such is the end of their people” (Luce 1985:66).

Luce goes on to note reference by the Chinese to the P’iao as “one of the tribes of the ‘Gold Teeth Comfortership’ (1985:66). The ‘Gold Teeth’ tribes perhaps find authentication in the 1999 finding at Shwegugyi Zeidi south of Halin, of an upper jawbone with eight teeth drilled with a pattern of 102 tiny holes filled with gold foil. The jawbone was from a skeleton found under a large stone slab and an associated pillar about 1.5m long, with gold and silver rings, pottery and iron tools (Hudson 2003:10, Win Maung (Tampawaddy) 1999). As this reference indicates, research on the Pyu bringing together Chinese references, chronicles and artefacts is now ongoing, particularly at Halin, but the identification of the Pyu ‘capital’ among the ‘tribes’ at this time is uncertain. Chinese reference to “hills of sand and a desert tractsuggest Halin rather than Sriksetra (Luce 1960: 317).

Halin is cited also in connection with various references to the exact number of gates at Pyu sites. Chronicles record that the number of gates was thirty-two, “a canonically sanctioned multiple of four” (Wheatley 1983: 194). Descriptions of twelve city gates in Chinese texts are taken to imply a rectangular city wall with regular numbers on each face. However, the number of gates at Halin has not been fully explored, and Beikthano so far appears to have four gates on the north face and two on the east and south sides. In addition, there is no reason that a circular wall such as that of Sriksetra cannot have twelve gates, with nine gates there commonly referred to by name, twelve notes on maps today, and twenty-four named by Taw Sein Ko in his early map of the site (1914a:113). The various accounts are worth noting as the same gate configuration would link what are quite different wall and gate forms at the main Pyu enclosed sites.

The figure of thirty-two is also used in the New T’ang History, which lists thirty-two important settlements or tribes subject to the Pyu, eighteen dependencies, and eight or nine garrison towns. None of these have been definitively identified, although one such stockade may have been located near Myingan, near the Chindwin-Ayeyarwaddy confluence.

Nonetheless, the name of the capital is not given, only the notation that in Pyu tradition it was the city of the Buddha’s disciple Sariputra, who came from Rajagaha in Magadha. Elsewhere, however, this has been identified as Yazagyo in the Chindwin valley (Wheatley 1983:194).

Tagaung is Bamar territory

August 14, 2010

Tagaung is Bamar territory

My father was posted in Katha at the time he married my mother. She went along from Pathein after their marriage to Katha for her first visit there till near her childbirth when she went to Rangoon where my brother was born.

They returned to Katha and stayed there until my father was transferred to Bassein. I was born in Pathein but after my father was transferred to Hinthada / Henzada, Toungoo and Pathein again, he was finally transferred to Rangoon where I attended school and lived till after I got my license and worked at the Myaungmya Jute Mill Construction Project, the first of my jobs outside Yangon.

During my childhood, my parents frequently talked about their stay at Katha. From what they said, it was my understanding that there were plenty of Shan Kadus ရွမ္း ကဒူး around the area, including the family who helped at their home and also took care of my brother. Actress San Shar Tin originated from around there and she is also supposed to be a Shan Kadu. It was my impression that the area around Kathar is Shan Kadu area and the Bamars are only a minority.

When I studied history and read about Tagaung တေကာင္း, I read that Tagaung is derived from a Shan name တေကာင္. This further reinforced my belief. The TharKiWins who came from northern India ruled over the local Shan Kadus and established a city at Tagaung. It was only later when they extended their territory to other parts of Myanmar, establishing cities in MaingMao, Beikthanoe, Sriksetra, and the lower Myanmar including the Thaninaryi that they came in contact with the Bamars who they ruled and also the Mons in lower Myanmar.

There might be earlier Pyu migration into Myanmar than AbiYarzar, as it is written in Myanmar chronicles that when KanRajaGyi went away from Tagaung and reached LeiKaing / ThuNanpara taing, the population there asked for a King as there was no one to inherit the kingdo, he left his son to rule there, going on to Rakhine and settled in KyaukPadaung before shifting to Dhanyawaddy later. This part of KanRajaGyi reaching Dhanyawaddy is seen in Rakhine history and explains the Aryan features of northern Rakhines. It is also mentioned in Rakhine chronicles that Rakhine had connections with northern India since ancient times and that Marayu came from northern India to establish the first Dhanyawaddy in BC 3440.

Before going to Tagaung တေကာင္း, I had a talk with a Bamar friend from a village in Kathar ကသာ township, several miles east of the Ayeyarwaddy, and learned that the villages around there are Bamar villages. One has to look at the population of the villages to know what type of ethnic group is the main one in an area. The towns do not represent the real ethnic distribution as it consists mainly of people who settled from elsewhere. In Khamti, the Shans are the majority in the villages. In Kathar, I found out recently, it is the Bamars.

On my return from Tagaung, I talked to fellow travelers on the ShutPyay, Bamars, and they also told me the same thing. The villages in HtiJyaint ထီးဂ်ိဳင့္ township and Katha ကသာ township are all settled by Bamars. Katha and HtiJyaint townships, north of Tagaung is Bamar territory and my earlier belief that it is Shan Kadu ရွမ္း ကဒူး area is wrong. So the saying Myanmar AhSa Tagaung Ka ျမန္မာအစ တေကာင္းက has the Bamar population around Kathar, HteeJyaint and Tagaung to support it.

Actually, the word Myanmar is the same as Bamar and the usage of it to include all ethnic nationalities is a political one. Bamars are the majority in Myanmar and they have ruled Myanmar since the time of Anawratha (the Pyus ruled current day Myanmar boundaries earlier) even if not continuously, as after the fall of the Bagan was a period of smaller independent countries (Ava, Hantharwaddy, Mrauk U) until TabinShweHti united the country again under Bamar leadership, and again by U Aung Zeya after the fall of the Toungoo dynasty and whose son HsinPhyuShin extended Myanmar to the mamimum since the time of Anawratha / AhLaungSithu, including ZinMae / Chaing Mai, ArThan / Assam, Manipura.

Unforgettable moments at Tagaung

August 7, 2010

Last year’s journey to the North included Tagaung since the planning stage because it is one of the places I have always wanted to visit although Pyone objected to it. Even when Pyone said she does not want to visit Tagaung when we were already in Myitkyina, and wanted to visit the InnDawGyi Phyarr, I stood firm and told her she could return to Yangon by flight if she did not want to visit the MyitKyinns and Tagaung on which I had placed much hope on.

I had planned to experience the MyitKyinns, the 1st to 3rd AyeYarWaddy defiles, by returning from Myitkyina by boat, touching in at Bhamo and Tagaung for short stays. However, the situation was not as I had expected from the prior data I got from friends when I planned the trip. The water level has become low and the ShutPyays no longer come to Myitkyina. One has to go by open boat to Bhamo to see the 1st Ayeyarwaddy defile near HsinBo and one has to stay overnight at someplace, making the trip from Myitkyina to Bhamo a 2 day trip instead of 1. So I gave up the 1st defile and we travelled to Bhamo by bus, hoping to go from Bhamo to Tagaung by Shutpyay to experience the 2nd Ayeyarwaddy defile near Shwegu. However, the ShutPyay only comes twice a week to Bhamo and one had just left. Instead of waiting for the next one, we could go down by boat to Katha, passing through the 2nd defile and then staying overnight there and then take the next morning’s boat to Tagaung. Aung Ko Oo protested that his leave did not cover that much time. So we took the bus to Tagaung with mixed feelings, having lost the opportunity to experience the 2nd defile which I had watched on the MWD tv, which I very  much wanted to visit, especially after watching the movie NayChi PhyarHma Nyway Thaw Kyaunt again, not long ago.

The road to Tagaung was terrible and the hard leaf springs of the small bus instead of the big bus with air bags was also a contributing factor in the sufferings we had, in addition to the loud music, (which was solved by complaining to the conductor / spareman the 2nd time after he turned down the volume after the first complaint but was still unbearable). The bus left Bhamo at 3 pm, and near Shwegu, we were rewarded with a glimpse of the 2nd defile as the road goes along the bank for some time. We were lucky to have seats on the right hand side of the bus; otherwise, we would have missed even that glimpse. After dinner at the stop near the road branch to Shwegu, we arrived at the road branch to Tagaung at 1 a.m.

We got down with all our luggage and after the bus left, we were in the dark on the highway, but there is a security gate nearby and several motorcycles offering to take us to Tagaung. I asked for a Toke-toke and when they knew I was determined and that they could not get any business out of us, they called and waked up the Toke-toke driver, who came to us with his vehicle. We loaded it with our luggage and off we went in the direction in which we came. The engine was not started with a starter or a kick-start, but the driver pushed the Toke-toke for a long time until he thought the speed was sufficient for starting. Then he released the clutch and the engine sputtered and finally after some reluctance, ran regularly. It must have been hard work for him as the slope of the highway was slight. After going for a short distance he took a turn at a crossroads and we went along a smaller road in the dark, miles from anywhere but Tagaung, which is about 2 miles away. About half way to Tagaung, he stopped and got down and checked all the Toke-toke’s wheels. I was worried that if something happened, we would have to stay the night on the Toke-toke and it was quite cold in the open. He informed us that the tyres are low in pressure, but will be able to make it to Tagaung. I was relieved and after we entered Tagaung in the dark, he took us to a motel (the next morning, I saw 2 vehicles, one a Myanmar MeeYaHtar mazda jeep, and the other, a box car with advertisement designs). The place must be the best in Tagaung as motor vehicle travelers stayed there. I wondered what a MaMa car was doing in Tagaung. Is a railway tract being constructed there on the east bank of the Ayeyarwaddy?

When we arrived at the “motel” (motorized travelers can stay there for overnight), it was 1:30 a.m. and the toke-toke operator had to call a long time before someone opened up. It was the “manager”. Having unloaded in the meantime, we went in. There was no electricity and although the manager had a candle, he did not offer us any, and after showing us our rooms, which are on the upper level, he went off, leaving us in the dark. Lukily, we had torches and candles too. Actually it is not luck, but careful preparation from experience in travelling frequently in Myanmar. Take along candles, lighters, hangers, cup, saucer, spoons, fork, knife, bottle opener, etc. It was very cold (seint nay dar bae), like during the winter nights I experienced in Phaunggyi during my “Zeya 60” course, and the Khamti Nansibum Jade mines.

I woke up early in the dark the next / the same (it was already near 2 a.m. by the time we get into bed) morning. When light came, the manager appeared and I arranged to have 2 trishaws for our Tagaung tour. A KaukHnyinPaung vendor came along and we had KaukHnyinPaung and AhKyaws for breakfast.

Little known facts in Myanmar history: P’iao_“one of the tribes of the ‘Gold Teeth Comfortership’

August 7, 2010

P’iao_one of the tribes of the ‘Gold Teeth Comfortership

I first read about the Gold Teeth tribe ေရႊသြားႏိုင္ငံ described by Chinese sources in its description about the people living in northern Myanmar, (in one of Dr. Than Tun’s books in Burmese about the Pyu). Later I found the following in English on the net.

Luce goes on to note reference by the Chinese to the P’iao as “one of the tribes of the ‘Gold Teeth Comfortership’ (1985:66). The ‘Gold Teeth’ tribes perhaps find authentication in the 1999 finding at Shwegugyi Zeidi south of Halin, of an upper jawbone with eight teeth drilled with a pattern of 102 tiny holes filled with gold foil. The jawbone was from a skeleton found under a large stone slab and an associated pillar about 1.5m long, with gold and silver rings, pottery and iron tools (Hudson 2003:10, Win Maung (Tampawaddy) 1999).

Later, I saw the photo in a journal and recently, I obtained it from the Myanmar Archaeology Students Blog, the Association Of Myanmar Archaeologists:

in the article / blog

Halin (Hanlin, Halin-gyi)

As this reference indicates, research on the Pyu bringing together Chinese references, chronicles and artefacts is now ongoing, particularly at Halin, but the identification of the Pyu ‘capital’ among the ‘tribes’ at this time is uncertain. Chinese reference to “hills of sand and a desert tract” suggest Halin rather than Sriksetra (Luce 1960: 317).

a trip to Sriksetra again

July 27, 2010

I have always been fascinated by the Pyu and had visited sriksetra the first time when I was young while going along on my father’s work trip to Prome. He took us to HmawSar and we visited an old building that served as a storage / museum for artifacts found there that has not been sent to the National museum
Later, I got to Beikthanoe when I was on a field trip to ShweSettaw by geologists while I was working for the BHPP-Petroleum in 1992
When we went on vacation to ShweSetTaw, KyaungDawYar, Bagan, Popa, Pyay on 2003, we dropped in at Beikthanoe on the way out and Sriksetra on the way back while making a night stop at Pyay
Last November 2009, I got to Tagaung when I travelled to Myitkyina to visit the MyitHsone before it becomes inundated and while ako was still posted at Waing Maw.
On 18-Jul 2010, I got to SriKsetra again on my way to the AhKaukTaung in KyanKhinn township near HtoneBo.