Panoramic view of Umeerapoora. Looking S.
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour in pen and ink of a panoramic view of Amarapura looking towards the south 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 started out from Rangoon (Yangon) and travelled up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River to Amarapura, a royal city founded in 1782 on the east bank of the river. Amarapura remained the capital of the Konbaung dynasty kings until 1823, after which time the capital moved several times between Amarapura and nearby Ava. In the late 1850s, Mindon Min moved the capital to Mandalay. Grant, the official artist of the British mission in 1855, made a series of panoramic drawings of the city from the residence of General D’Orgoni, a French adventurer, situated to the west of the walled citadel. The city was originally laid out on a square plan, with brick walls surrounded by a moat.
Grant wrote that this view: 'down the continuation of the Yattan road on the left, and into the dense foliage which there begins to spread out...is the ‘Naga-Phiya’, or ‘Naga-you-Phiya’, a temple built partly in the form of a Dragon. The lower part, raised on a handsome double platform, is a highly wrought Tzoum-like temple, the hinder part of which, like the hobgoblin of a dream, merges in the body of the scaly monster whose terrible head is reared aloft and forms a spire over the temple. It is said to typify a legend in the life of Gautma...'.