Pyus

   A people speaking a Tibeto-Burman language, who established states in the valley of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River during the early centuries CE and are often described as the "advance guard" of the Burmans (Bamars). Most of what we know about them comes from the Buddhist pilgrims I Tsing and Hsuan-tsang, the official history of the T'ang Dynasty (618-906), and other Chinese sources, as well as extensive excavations that have been carried out since British colonial times at Sri Ksetra (Thayekkhittaya), one of the Pyus' major cities. Deeply influenced by India and possibly ruled for a time by an Indian dynasty, the Pyus practiced a religion that combined Hindu and Buddhist elements. According to the Chinese, they exercised suzerainty over 18 states and nine walled cities. Apart from Sri Ksetra, they had sizeable urban centers at Beiktano (in present-day Magwe [Magway] Division) and Halingyi (in Sagaing Division). The Pyus paid tribute to Nan Chao and may have been conquered by that state in the ninth century CE.
   According to Chinese descriptions, they had a high level of culture. At the beginning of the ninth century, a band of Pyu musicians accompanying a Nan Chao mission to the T'ang capital of Ch'ang-an gave a performance before the emperor. A didactic verse by the great Chinese poet Po Chü-I recommended that the emperor pay more attention to the sufferings of the peasants than to the exotic music of P'iao (Pyu): "Music of P'iao, in vain you raise your din/Better were it that my Lord should listen to that peasant's humble words." No trace remains of the Pyus as a people today; they were probably assimilated by the Burmans.

Historical Dictionary of Burma (Myanmar). . 2014.

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