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Maniket ( Burmese: မဏိကက်, also spelt Manikhet), from Pali: Maṇikakkha (မဏိကက္ခ), is considered to be the earliest extant play in modern-day Myanmar, complete with dialogue, song lyrics, and stage directions. [1] The storyline of Manikhet is based on the Sattadhanu Jataka, the 20th story in the Paññāsa Jātaka, a non-canonical collection of stories of the Buddha's past lives from Lan Na. [1] [2]


The play is generally attributed to Padethayaza, a minister during the Nyaungyan period, who composed a pyo (a lyrical poem) in 1714. [3] [1] Other historians note that Manikhet may have originated during the reign of Bodawpaya, whose crown prince appointed a literary committee in December 1789 to translate songs and plays acquired from Thailand after Burmese conquest. [1]


Manikhet is the name of a celestial horse with a precious stone eye. [4] The story follows the life of Suthanu, a prince in the kingdom of Varanasi, and his accompanying horse, Manikhet. [5]


  1. ^ a b c d Kaung, Thaw (December 2006). "Myanmar Dramatic Literature, its Rise and Decline" (PDF). Myanmar Historical Research Journal: 8–104.
  2. ^ Kaung, Thaw (2002). "The Ramayana Drama in Myanmar" (PDF). Journal of the Siam Society. 90: 137–148.
  3. ^ Rubin, Don; Pong, Chua Soo; Chaturvedi, Ravi; Majundar, Ramendu; Tanokura, Minoru (2001). The World Encyclopedia of Contemporary Theatre: Asia/Pacific. Taylor & Francis. ISBN  9780415260879.
  4. ^ Diamond, Catherine (August 2000). "Burmese Nights: the Pagoda Festival Pwe in the Age of Hollywood's 'Titanic'". New Theatre Quarterly. 16 (3): 227–248. doi: 10.1017/S0266464X00013865. ISSN  1474-0613. S2CID  190693966.
  5. ^ "Phra Suthanu (Biographical details)". British Museum. Retrieved 2018-09-01.