ruay [Burmese]

In Burma, ? – 20th century, two units of mass. chart symbol Also romanized as rwé¹ and rweh².

The big ruay is in concept the mass of a seed of Red Sandalwood (Adenanthera pavonina). Currently³, approximately 0.2551 grams (approximately 0.009 ounces avoirdupois). The big ruay is also called a rwe-gyee⁴ or ywegale.

The small ruay is in concept the mass of a seed of the rosary pea (Abrus precatorius L.), and by convention is half the mass of the large ruay. It may be called a kyeng-rwe.⁴

Both plants produce hard, bright red seeds that have extremely consistent seed-to-seed weights, the rosary pea weighing about a tenth of a gram, and Adenanthera about a fourth of a gram.

1. John Crawfurd.
On the Peoples and Cultures of the Kingdom of Burma.
SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, vol. 3, no. 2 (Autumn 2005).

Page 505.

3. United Nations, 1966.

4. H. J. Chaney.
Our Weights and Measures. A Practical Treatise on the Standard Weights and Measures in Use in the British Empire
London: Eyre and Spottiswoode, 1897.

Page 41.

sources

1

the Abrus precatorius; (), the seed of the said tree used as a weight, six of which make a pè () and 8 a great pè

Robert C. Stevenson.
Judson's Burmese-English Dictionary. Revised and Enlarged.
Rangoon: Printed by the Superintendent, Government Printing, 1893.
Page 300.

2

the Adenanthera pavonina; the seed of said plant used as a weight, one being equal to two of the Abrus precatorius (), and therefore making a great pè, and three a small pè.

Robert C. Stevenson.
Judson's Burmese-English Dictionary. Revised and Enlarged.
Rangoon: Printed by the Superintendent, Government Printing, 1893.
Page 957.
Obviously what was intended was "and therefore four making"; perhaps a misunderstanding in dictation.

3

Ruay, seeds used as weights in Burmah, the small ruay being that of Abrus precatorius and the large ruay the seed of Adenanthera pavonina.

Simmonds (1892), page 489.

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