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A gable of one of the subsidiary buildings surrounding the Taik Taw kyaung, [Mandalay]

A gable of one of the subsidiary buildings surrounding the Taik Taw kyaung, [Mandalay]

Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1904

Shelfmark: Photo 1004/1(188)

Item number: 10041188

Length: 15

Width: 20.8

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of a carved gable on the roof of a building in the grounds 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 view shows ornate carved panels decorating the eaves of the building, consisting of bands of leaves, serpentine scrolls, flowers and flame-like pointed elements (nat-saw). The horn-shaped projections at each end are known as saing-baung and are derived from the haunches of a wild ox. The diamond-shaped panel at the apex of the roof features a sacred image and is surmounted by figures of devas (celestial beings from the Burmese Buddhist pantheon). Woodcarving is a traditional art form at which Burmese artisans excel, and monastery buildings were richly decorated with carved panels. The Taik Taw 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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