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A door in the hall of [Taik Taw] monastery, [Mandalay]

A door in the hall of [Taik Taw] monastery, [Mandalay]

Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1904

Shelfmark: Photo 1004/1(185)

Item number: 10041185

Length: 20.5

Width: 15

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a door in the façade of the Taik Taw Kyaung (monastery) at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar), from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1903-07. The photograph was taken by an unknown photographer in 1904 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. This is a close-up view of a carved door set between pilasters and surmounted with a pediment in the wall of the monastery. The exterior of the Taik Taw monastery was richly decorated with wood carvings, a traditional art form at which Burmese artisans excelled. The doorway features relief carvings of door guardians in the form of two devas (celestial beings from the Burmese Buddhist pantheon) holding sprays of foliage. The pilasters and pediments consist of rosettes, horn-shaped projections known as saing-baung and flame-like pointed elements (nat-saw). The monastery was built in 1859 by King Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78), the founder of Mandalay, Burma’s last royal capital, and it is thought that the building included architectural elements from the Royal Palace at Amarapura, the former Burmese capital. Taw Sein Ko wrote of the monastery in his ‘Report on Archaeological Work in Burma for the year 1908-09’ (Rangoon, 1909): “Under the Burmese regime, it was used as the official residence of the Thathanabaing or Buddhist Archbishop, and no effort was spared to impart to it an air of splendour and magnificence…it forms, with the Salin, Shwenandaw and Myadaung [Queen’s Golden] monasteries, a quartette of exquisite specimens of Burmese wooden architecture.”

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