Mag-way, Pagoda and River, looking north
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a pagoda set on the bank of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River at Magwe from 'A Series of Views in Burmah taken during Major Phayre’s Mission to the Court of Ava in 1855' by Colesworthy Grant. This album consists of 106 landscapes and portraits of Burmese and Europeans documenting the British embassy to the Burmese King, Mindon Min (r.1853-1878).
The mission took place after the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852 and the annexation by the British of the Burmese province of Pegu (Bago). It was despatched by the Governor-General of India Lord Dalhousie on the instructions of the East India Company, to attempt to persuade King Mindon to sign a treaty formally acknowledging the extension of British rule over the province. The mission started out from Rangoon and travelled up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) to the royal capital at Amarapura. Grant (1813-1880) was sent as the official artist of the mission. In recognition of his skill, he was presented with a gold cup and ruby ring by the Burmese King.
Grant wrote that: 'The banks of the river now change their character. The right or western side becomes low, whilst the left rises into bold elevations. Mao-way - the largest town yet seen by the Mission...No opportunity was afforded to sketch the town, as the steamers passed up and anchored some little distance above it, at a richly wooded and picturesque spot, surrounded by palms of extraordinary magnitude, and a variety of trees of more umbrageous character. The chief subject of this drawing is a very beautiful pagoda, the principal temple of the place, to which much sanctity is attached, crowning a bold promontory that commands an extensive view of the broad river. This temple is called the ‘Mya Thalwon’, (or ‘the Emerald Couch’) from being reputed to contain a relic of the bed of Gautma...'