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Pagahm Mew

Pagahm Mew

Engraver: Daniell, William (1769-1837

Medium: Aquatint, coloured

Date: 1831

Shelfmark: X746(10)

Item number: plate 10

Genre: Print

This aquatint was made from plate 10 of 'Views in the Burman Empire' by Captain James Kershaw. Pagan or Bagan is one of the most spectacular sites not only in Burma but in Southeast Asia. Its unique collection of ruins spreads over 40 square kilometres beside the Ayeyarwaddy (Irrawaddy) River. There are thousands of stupas and temples, large and small. Evidence shows that Bagan was inhabited almost 2,000 years ago, but these buildings date from a fervour of construction spanning 250 years from the mid-11th century. The great King Anawrahta, who ruled from AD1044 to 1077, built its greatest monuments, making it a major centre of Theravada Buddhism.

Kublai Khan's Mongols purportedly ransacked it in the 13th century, but the causes for the decline of this city-state is debated by scholars. In 1826, the Burmese army made a bold last stand here, perhaps influenced by "the vicinity of the former field of glory", as Kershaw noted. Defeated by the British, the Burmese had to yield to the terms of the Treaty of Yandabo.

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