A Temple of Bode
Engraver: Daniell, William (1769-1837)
Medium: Aquatint, coloured
This engraving by William Daniell was made from an original drawing by Samuel Davis and became plate 4 in their book, 'Views in Bootan'.
The kingdom of Bhutan is in the eastern Himalayas, between Tibet in the north and Bengal in the south. The name Bhutan is possibly derived from the Sanskrit word Bhotant, meaning 'end of Tibet', or Bhu-uttan, meaning 'high land'. Natives call the country Drukyul, meaning Land of the Thunder Dragon, which is an allusion to its dominant Vajrayana Buddhism. Practised since the 8th century, this has its origins in Tibetan Buddhism.
Davis portrays a temple known as a chorten, which is flanked by tall prayer flags known as tall dashis. The flags are inscribed from top to bottom with the sacred Buddhist mantra 'om-mani-padme-hum'. In the distance is a Rajah's small villa. Davis, a keen amateur artist, was in service with the East India Company and accompanied Samuel Turner's embassy to Tibet in 1783, but did not proceed beyond Bhutan.