Carving in gable of Lily Throne Hall, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of carvings on the gabled roof of the Lily Throne Room in the Nandaw (Royal Palace) 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 1903 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. Founded in 1857, Mandalay was Burma’s last great royal capital. The palace stood at the centre of the walled city and was one of the first buildings to be constructed, re-using many parts of the teak buildings from the former capital Amarapura. Following Burmese tradition it was built on an east-west axis, with the public state rooms on the east and the more private women’s quarters on the opposite face towards the rear. The Lily Throne Room, one of eight in the palace, was situated on the west face in the area occupied by the Chief Queen and other female members of the royal family, and was used for audiences held by the King and the Chief Queen. This is a general view of the exterior. Its tiered roof was a symbolic form demarcating sacred space which was restricted to royal and religious architecture. The eaves of the roof are edged with bands of carved scrolling, crowned by rows of flame-like, pointed nat-saw designs with flaring, upturned ends. Burma has a long tradition of woodcarving, at which its artisans excel both technically and aesthetically, and both the interior and exterior of the Royal Palace were lavishly ornamented. The original palace was destroyed by fire during Allied bombing raids in 1945 during the Second World War but has since been partially reconstructed.