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Arched doorway of the Kondawgyi Pagoda, [Pagan].

Arched doorway of the Kondawgyi Pagoda, [Pagan].

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1909

Shelfmark: Photo 1004/2(752)

Item number: 752

Length: 20.2

Width: 14.25

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the doorway of the Kondawgyi Pagoda in Pagan (Bagan), Burma (Myanmar), from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1907-13. The photograph was taken by an unknown photographer of the Burma Archaeological Survey.

Pagan 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 Pagan 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 AD 1044 to 1077, built some of 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 from about the 14th century is debated by scholars.

The Kondawgyi (Great Royal Mound), dating from the 13th century, has a stupa superstructure above its terraces and its interior walls are decorated with paintings illustrating the Jataka tales and patterns from nature.

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