Parabaik (Burmese: ပုရပိုက်; pronounced: [pəɹəbaiʔ]) is a type of paper, made of thick sheets of paper that are blackened, glued and folded together. Parabaiks were the main medium of writings and drawings of ancient Burma (Myanmar).
There are two types of parabaiks. Historically, black parabaiks were the main medium of writing while the white parabaiks were used for paintings and drawings. The extant black parabaiks consist of works of scientific and technical importance like medicine, mathematics, astronomy, astrology, history, social and economic commentary, music, historical ballads, fiction, poetry, etc. The extant white parabaiks show colored drawings of kings and court activities, stories, social customs and manners, houses, dresses, hair styles, ornaments, etc. The majority of Burmese chronicles were originally written on parabaiks.
A 1979 UN study finds that "thousands upon thousands" of rolls of ancient parabaiks were found (usually in monasteries and in homes of private collectors) across the country but the vast majority were not properly maintained.
- Raghavan 1979: 4–14
- Raghavan 1979: 6
- Hla Pe 1985: 37
- Hla Pe, U (1985). Burma: Literature, Historiography, Scholarship, Language, Life, and Buddhism. Singapore: Institute of Southeast Asian Studies. ISBN 9789971988005.
- Raghavan, V. (1979). "Preservation of Palm Leaf and Parabaik Manuscripts and Plan for Compilation of a Union Catalogue of Manuscripts" (PDF). UNESCO.