Lecture Series: Between Invisibility and Autonomy
Wann: Mo, 07.11.2022, 18:00 Uhr bis 20:00 Uhr
Wo: Warburgstraße 26, 20354 Hamburg
Between Invisibility and Autonomy: Negotiating Gender Roles in Manuscript Cultures
Women in Thai-Lao Manuscript Cultures: Alternative Worship of Text(ile) in Compensation of Monkhood
Dr Silpsupa Jaengsawang (Hamburg)
Being regarded as possessing inferior religious status to males that have been ordained into the monkhood, females play a comparatively smaller role in the Sangha of Theravāda Buddhism. Females are generally allowed to be involved in the creation of items to be donated to the Sangha, except for the writing of religious manuscripts which require literacy in the Dhamma script; the skill belongs to monks and novices since the script is taught at monasteries. To compensate for not having the chance to obtain monkhood status, women weave textiles for wrapping religious books or donate their hair to bind palm-leaf manuscripts. Cloth-weaving skills compensate for their lack of literacy in the Dhamma script, whereas donated hair compensates for their lack of masculinity or monkhood. Besides, women can invest in tools, sponsorship, and financial support in the provision of commissioning religious manuscripts. Although women are scarcely allowed to get involved in the creation of manuscript texts, textile products and other kinds of compensation are acceptable.