Meen-gyan, from the Steamer
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a view of Myingyan seen from the steamer 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 described the view as follows: 'At Meen-gyan, indeed, the Mission were more the spectacle than spectators, as a multitude of full four or five thousand Burmese had assembled on the shore to witness the arrival of the strangers and their marvellous ships; whilst the over-powering heat of the weather, the sun, and the place, rendered it advisable to refrain from venturing to stroll on the shore until evening...In the centre of the drawing will be observed two bamboo and mat buildings; a red flag decorating and marking either end of the front of the principal one. These were the Pooé houses or Burmese Theatres...The lesser construction, or booth, on the right, appertained to the exhibition of puppets, but the larger was devoted to the ‘regular drama;’ an operatic performance which is said frequently to last all night, and over several days!...In the extreme distance to the right, not embraced in this view, was still to be seen the ‘cloud-capped’ hill of Paopa-toung, an object of attention and interest from the time of arrival at Yea-nan-gyoung...The departure of the Mission at 8 the next morning, was watched by another vast concourse of many thousands of people, lining the bank of the river from end to end of the town.'