Animals.—The feliehr, or cat family, abound, tigers, leopards, and tiger-cats being met with in every part of the country. Of the pachydermata, the elephant and rhinoceros are the most noteworthy. The elephant, buffalo, and Indian ox have been domesticated.
Ethnology.—The Burmams belong to that- branch of the Mongolidm characterized by a monosyllabic language; they are short-headed, broad-skulled, and flat-faced. The hair is black, and the skin of a deep brown color. Their dress is simple, but peculiar. The in-gie, a white linen jacket, is common to both sexes. Wrapped around the lower part of the body, the men wear the put-so, which is several yards in length; the women, the te.inine, a scant garment of cotton or silk. Silks, muslins, and valuable gold ornaments arc worn on special occnsions. Betel-nut chewing and cigar-smoking are greatly prac tized by both men and women. The Burmans are, generally speaking, fine, well-made men, and excel in wrestling, boxing, rowing, foot-ball, and other athletic exercises; they are clever as carpenters and smiths. Burman houses are made of a framework of bam boo, thatched with the leaf of the water-palm, and are invariably raised on posts several feet from the ground. The women are more industrious than the men; they buy, sell, weave, and attend to the domestic concerns. Both sexes delight in merry-making, feast ing, buffoonery, and sight-seeing. A poogy, or theatrical representation, is a very favor ite amusement, and a buffalo-fight attracts crowds of spectators. The Burman has little patriotism, but is attached to his home. Without individual cruelty, he is indifferent to the shedding of blood by his rulers. Though temperate and hardy, he dislikes disci pline and continued employment; and when in power, is too often arrogant, arbitrary, and corrupt.
Besides the true Burman, a great variety of races inhabit the Burman territories. The Telaings, or Moons, descendants of the ancient Peguans, are pretty well amalga mated with the Burmans. The Shorts, or Tai, perhaps the most numerous and widely diffused of the Indo-Chinese peoples. are scattered over the peninsula. from Munnipore to Bangkok. Of the eastern Shan states, some are tributary to B.. others to Siam, while those w. of the Irrawaddy are wholly under Burman, rule. , The Singphos cluster round the mountains of the n., and along the western mountain-boundary of 13., wild /12fiew,
and many tribes under different names, live in varying degrees of civilization. The Karens are met with chiefly in southern Burmah.
Religion.—Buddhism (q.v.) is the prevailing religion of 13., where it has been pre served in great purity. Its monuments—temples, shrines, and monasteries—are innum erable; its festivals are carefully observed. and its monastic system is fully established iu every part of the kingdom. While directing the reader to the special article on But:autism for an account of its doctrines, history, etc., we may here glance at its devel opment, institutions. and edifices among the Burmans.
The members of the monastic fraternity are known in 13. as pon-gyees, meaning " great glory;" but the Pali word is rahan, or holy man. The pon-gyees are not priests, in the usual acceptation of the term, but rather monks. Their religious ministrations are confined to sermons, and they do not interfere with the worship of the people. They are a very numerous class, living in monasteries, or kyoungs, and may a once be known by their yellow robes (the color of mourning), shaven heads, and bare feet. They subsist wholly by the charity of the people, which, however, they well repay by instructing the boys of the country. The kyoungs are thus converted into national schools. The vows of a pon-gyee include celibacy, poverty, and the renunciation of the world; but from these he may at any time be released, and return to a secular life. Hence, nearly every youth assumes the yellow robe for a time, as a meritorious act, or for the purpose of study, and the ceremony of making a pon-gyee is one of great impor tance. The ostensible object of the brotherhood is the more perfect observance of the laws of Buddha. The order is composed of five classes—viz., young men who wear the yellow robe and live in the kyoungs, but are not professed members; those on whom the title and character of pon-gyees have been solemnly conferred with the usual cere monies; the heads or governors of the several communities; provincials, whose juris diction extends over their respective provinces; and, lastly, a superior general, or great master, who directs the affairs of the order throughout the empire.