Street, and Eastern gate of Umeerapoora
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour in pen and ink of a view of the eastern entrance of Amarapura 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 (reigned 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. Amarapura was originally laid out on a square plan, with high brick walls surrounded by a moat. The walls were inset with twelve gateways crowned with tiered wooden pavilions characteristic of sacred Burmese architecture known as “pyathat”.
According to Grant this gate, Ywè-dau-yoo-Taga, was only used for grand public ceremonies or for the movement of the royal elephants. From left to right, he identifies the Yooung Dau or chief hall of Justice, the gilded spire of the Palace, the Swè-dau-zeen temple and the Teya Yooung or court for the trial of civil cases. The tower in the centre was used for time-keeping. Grant wrote that: 'two men are seen to sound the periods of the day, by alternate strokes on a large bell, and a drum or gong. The former is struck on the outside, with the end of a bar of wood, which appeared to be slung like a battering-ram; - the latter with a massive round-headed mallet, swung with the full impetus afforded by a long handle and a strong arm. The periods are timed by a water clock.'