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Pyus of Burma

Pyus of Burma

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Published by KoungNyunt

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Published by: KoungNyunt on Mar 13, 2010
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Dear alumni,Here is an interesting thesis of Dr Than Tun, an eminent historian of Burma. Excuse me for sending outthe long discourse, but it's only the gist. Enjoy.Yours sincerely,Dr Maung Maung Nyo
Where have the Pyu gone to?
Dr Than Tun(Translation in gist by Dr Maung Maung Nyo)PrologueI am always intrigued with the Pyu, an early Tibeto-Burman tribe that entered Burma sine the beginningof the Burmese History, since my high school days. We read in the Burmese History books that the threebig tribes entered Burma to populate it namely Pyu, Kamyan and Thet. The Pyu became Burman later,Kamyam became Arakanese and Thet became Chin. However, Profesor Luce and modern Burmesehistorians write that the Pyu disappeared completely by about AD 9th Century as their city probablyHanlin or Halin was destroyed in AD 832 by the Nan Chao forces. However, the Burmese traditionally saythat the Pyu became Bamar and the Bagan of Pagan was established by the Pyu of the Sri Ksetra(Prome or Pyi) when the latter was destroyed by the Nga Sagaw Army. Sayagyi Luce hypothesized thatthe Nga Sagaw Army may belong to the Sagaw Karen of today.And I cannot believe that a whole tribe of Pyu disappeared because there are no longer Pyu writings andPyu speaking people. It may be due to these people no longer using their writing alphabets andlanguage. Look at the countries of the English speaking people nowadays: In USA the native Indian'slanguages have disappeared tribe by tribe. So is the Aborigine's language in Australia and Maorilanguage in New Zealand. I also know that in Malaysia changing the script from the Urdu script to Romanscript made Malay no longer able to read or write their old Malay scripts. By not using these old Malayscript does not mean the Malays have disappear! The Malay people are still here in Malaysia. So is thechange in Vietnam when the script as changed from the old Vietnamese pictograms to the presentRoman script. This could have happen to the Pyu of Burma as they are absorbed into Bamar or Burmanor they became Burman. This view is being put forward by Dr Than Tun, an eminent Burmese historian.
Where have the Pyu disappeared?
This is the title of the book written by the late Sayagyi Dr Than Tun, the celebrated historian of Burma. Itwas published in July 2006. Dr Than Tun writes:1) If some one asks where have the Pyu disappeared I would say," I'm here!" It's because the Pyu andMyanmar (Bamar) are the same. I'll give the irrefutable evidence. Today Burma comprising Shan (Tai) inthe east, Rakhaing in the west, Mon in the south, Chin and Kachin in the north, Myanmar in the centre hasgreat cities starting with Bagan (Pagan). If we talk about Pagan, we must start with Pyu Saw Hti (Pyusawti),the king of Pyu. Where are those Pyu? They are mixed with Bamar now. But this assimilation is not solong. We see Pyu writings in the Myazedi Inscription in AD 1084 and the latest one in the 16th century.Some people say the Pyu still live in the Yaw region of Magwe Division. Why did this happen?It's due to the influence of the Bamar. Let's see the defence forces or potential of the Pyu. Pyu had 9 fortsor fort towns:(1) Taungdwingyi(2) Hsipaw(3) Halin (Hanlin)(4) Nahtogyi(5) Maingmaw (Mongmao) near Kume(6) Htichaingt (Hticheint)
(7) Hmawzar (East Thegone)(8) East Bhamo (Kanthidar)(9) Mauria near Mway YinMauria is situated to the west of Irrawaddy River, but its exact situation is not known. Majority of the Pyulived in Bhamo, Htichaingt, Shwebo District, Kyaukse District, Taungdwingyi areas. These areas are Bamar places and the Pyu have come and lived there since the 1st century AD.The Pyu places are as follows:1) Around Kyugoke (Kyu-Gok)2) Rakhaing (Arakan) Coast (Some places)3) Around Thabeikkyin4) West of Irrawaddy River between Katha and Shwegu5) Around Monywa6) Near Panlong River and Zawgyi River Confluence7) Near Salin8) Htilin area9) Pagan10) Sittang River basin11) Around Tagaung12) Around Toungu13) Around Pegu14) Around Mottama (Martaban) and ThatonThe Pyu in the above places married with the incoming Bamar and their children no longer use the Pyunames. It's the reason these Pyu seemed to disappear.In the foreign relations, the Pyu had relations with India especially Orissa from the estuary of Hugli River tothe southern end of Malay Peninsula and all the coastal regions of India, Vietnam, Champa. But thepeoples in those foreign lands forget the Pyu and they called Burmese peoples as Shan (Tai), Mon andBamar (Myanmar) only. I mean the Pyu disappeared by assimilating with the Bamar. In this book I'll pick or take out the Pyu that have lived hidden staying underground. (Dr Than Tun, 12.05.2008)
The Ancient Pyu
The "Further India" was populated mostly by the Indonesian peoples from Annam to Java Islands. Burmaat that time was populated by cannibals and also by the tailed hominids, according to Ptolemy. ChineseRecords describe the inhabitants of Burma as Piaou, polite ones. The Chinese Records say, "There areestablished ways of correct relations between king and ministers, father and son, senior and junior in rank,"The Piaou wear silk cotton dresses. They use swords and axes made with iron , copper metal, and gold.They use spices and herbs, clove. The Tang Dynasty Historians called the Piaou as Tu Lou Kyu or Tu LiChu. They are also known as Ti- Sul or Trit-Cul. These Piaou are Pyu. They live in Halin, Sri Kestra andBeikthano. There are urns with inscriptions of names ending in Vikrama. There are other inscriptionsending with Gupta or Varmans. They show the influence of Indian civilization in the Pyu areas. The Pyuburn the dead and put the ashes in the urn.The Tang Dynasty records have detailed description of the Pyu culture. The Pyu called the king Maha Rajaand the Chief Minister as Mahasena. They have established ways of King Travel. The King has manyqueens. They would not wear silk for fear of killing the silk worms. They are devout Buddhists. There isevidence of Siva and Vishnu worships in the Pyu cities.Sri Kestra is the largest city of the Pyu. The Pyu went north when it was destroyed, but the Bamar or Pyustill have great aspects for the city by calling it the City (Pyi). The Pyu writing was first found in the MyazediInscription that has four surfaces, each written in Bamar (Myanmar), Pyu, Pali and Mon respectively. The
Pyu are Tibeto-Burman, closely related to the Burman.The Pyu are dominated by the Nan Chao who sent the Pyu delegation to the Chinese Emperor who likedthe Pyu Dances. The Pyu Dance and Music are well recorded by the Tang Dynasty. The Nan Chaodestroyed the Pyu City, probably Halin (Later research points to Sri Kestra), in 1832 and ended the PyuReign. The Nan Chao took away 3000 Pyu whose remnants may be still seen in China living as destitutefishermen.(GH Luce. The Ancinet Pyu. JBRS, XXVII, iii, pp 239-253 and BRSFAP, I, 307-322 translated by Dr ThanTun to Burmese, retranslated in gist by Dr Maung Maung Nyo to English.)
The Pyu According to the Burmese Chronicles (Classic Histories)
From the study of the Pyu insciptions it may be inferred that the Pyu language has no consonants and has8 syllables. It is a Tibet-Burman language, close to the Burmese. (Tin in General Linguistics.)The Pyu has different names. They called themselves Tu Lao Kyu , Chinese called them Piaou. Javanscalled them Ku Li Chu. The Persian called them Tirsul or Tir Cul. Kyanzittha Palace Inscriptions mentionedthem as Tircul. They had been in Burma since the 3rd century AD. A Hanlin Inscription of Pyu indicates thePyu script resembles the Southern Indian Script.The Sri Kestra Inscriptions indicate there are two Pyu kings- Harivikrama and Zayachandrawikrama. Theyare contemporary kings in Sri Kestra. Hariwikrama founded the city. This city is still extant although ruined.It's circular in shape. It has many Pyu pagodas or stupas. The Bawbawgyi Pagoda or Stupa is still visibleand it is bell shape. There are many Pyu coins with Hindu symbols.The Buddhist votive tablets are alsofound. The Pyu have relations with China (Yunnan) and India. The Pala have relations with the Pyu.
The Pyu City That Was Destroyed
It is stated that the Nan Chao destroyed the Pyu City in AD 1832. Professor Luce and older historiansthought it was Halin. However, Dr Than Tun now thinks it was Sri Kestra, not Halin. It's because if the NanChao had destroyed the city why would the Pyu go north to establish another city nearer to the enemy. InAD 763-764, the Nan-Chao King Ko Lo Peng has overtaken the Upper Irrawaddy Basin or Upper Burma.So the Pyu city destroyed must be Sri Kestra and the Pyu moved north.As the carbon dating has become available in 1993 I (Dr Than Tun) would like to change the datesconcerning Sri Kestra.(1) That Sri Kestra is established in AD 638 is impossible.(2) I also do not agree it is established in 1st century AD.(3) I like to alter the dates of Vikramas too:(a) Suriavikrama (Regnal years 63-688)(b) Hirivikrama (r 688-695)(3) Sihavikrama(695-718)
The Pyu Foreign Relations
The so-called Pyu coins are found in Sri Kstra, Halin , Shan State, Kayah State, Thailand and Kampuchea.The symbols are Hindi indicating sun, moon, conch, trident, sriwisra, geha etc. These coins are used from2nd century BC to 14th Century AD. They are now known to be minted by the Cambodian Kings. TheBurmese called the old Cambodians Kwan or Gwan.The Pyu State extends as follows:East... Chenla (Kampuchea or Cambodia)South... Bay of BengalWest... IndiaNorth...Yung Chan or Pao-Shan

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