This book explores in detail the little-known system of ancient bird-shaped weights from Northern Thailand and Burma. The weights are carefully described and analyzed as to their origin anduse, their mass scale and its relation to other mass scales, their composition and production techniques, and their shapes and symbolism. Although historical records fail to mention much about the ancient weights in Southeast Asia, fortunately, records of European traders and of Arab, Persian, and Chinese travelers from previous centuries do exist, and provide an opportunity for comparison. Donald and Joan Gear broaden their study to consider the historical context of the Lan Na weights, comparing them with the weight systems found in surrounding areas. They conclude that from about the 11th century until the mid-16th century, the bird-shaped weights were most likely used by traders along the route through Raheng and Martaban to Pegu. Of interest to historians, collectors, antiquarians, and scholars of Southeast Asia, this unique volume discloses the curious and intricate world of ancient bird-shaped weights.
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