Lord Kyaw Thu's Precedent: a Sixteenth-Century Burmese Law Report

Andrew Huxley

in Legalism

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199664269
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744686 | DOI:
Lord Kyaw Thu's Precedent: a Sixteenth-Century Burmese Law Report

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This chapter examines a law report on a disputed inheritance within a Tai (Siamese) noble family under the rule of an all-conquering Burmese king. The text itself is generally known as Shin kyaw thu pyatton (‘Lord Kyaw Thu's Precedent’). Pegu's Golden Palace was the centre of government for a vast mainland empire created by the early Toungoo-dynasty kings. The greatest of the conquerors was the White Elephant King of Hanthawaddy, known to history as King Bayinnaung (r. 1551-82), and The Precedent is the leading source on law and kingship under Bayinnaung's rule. It reveals a vibrant legalism quite different from those of its neighbours in East and South Asia. Some aspects of sixteenth-century Burmese legalism are reminiscent of Western European approaches to law and kingship, and the end of the chapter pursues this similarity by way of a contemporary English law report.

Keywords: Lord Kyaw Thu's Precedent; Burmese law; legal texts; King Bayinnaung; legalism; kingship; English law

Chapter.  13237 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Law ; History of Law

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