A Kioum or Monastry, near the British Residency
Artist: Grant, Colesworthy (1813-1880)
Medium: Watercolour with pen and ink
Watercolour with pen and ink of a kyoung (Buddhist monastery) at 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 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, founded in 1782. The mission was despatched by the Governor-General of India, Lord Dalhousie, and headed by Arthur Phayre with Henry Yule as Secretary. While Grant was sent as official artist, Linnaeus Tripe was the photographer. Grant was presented with a gold cup and ruby ring by the Burmese King in recognition of his skill. He also produced a privately-printed book of notes and a number of his drawings were used for illustrations to Yule’s ‘A Narrative of the mission sent by the Governor General of India to the Court of Ava in 1855’ published in 1858.
Grant wrote that this monastery was a 'strikingly pictorial and handsome building, called the 'Tha-ta-than-a Kioum', is a fair and characteristic example of the general architecture of these monastic edifices, and was long an object of admiration to the gentlemen of the Mission. The judicious and tasteful arrangement of its parts, and the elegance of its ornamental details, and golden spires, formed a combination of the attractive which was supported and heightened by the presence of massive and graceful foliage of tamarind and other trees around. With exception of the steps, which are invariably formed of brick, the entire structure is of wood. It was built by a rich merchant, and the gilding of the interior, which is said to be exceedingly beautiful, is stated to have cost not less than a Lac of Roopees. It was situated on the road from the long wooden bridge to the Residency; was the handsomest specimen of its kind which had been seen, and therefore considered a good subject for a careful and patient delineation.'