Carving on balustrade and railings of Queen's Monastery, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the veranda on the Queen’s Kyaung (Monastery) in Mandalay, 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. The walled city of Mandalay was Burma’s last great royal capital and was founded in 1857 by Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78), Burma’s penultimate king, in fulfilment of a Buddhist prophecy that a religious centre would be built at the foot of Mandalay Hill. As a consequence of royal patronage there were many religious foundations in the city and a wealth of monastic architecture. The
Queen’s Golden Monastery was constructed in 1885 on the orders of Queen Supayalat, wife of Thibaw, the last king of Burma (reigned 1878-1885). It was barely completed when she was exiled to India with her husband following the annexation of Upper Burma by the British Empire. Now destroyed, the monastery stood inside the palace grounds and was a magnificent wooden building lavishly decorated with ornate woodcarving and mirrored glass mosaics. This is a view of the veranda surrounding the monastery buildings, which is enclosed by screens carved with floral scrollwork and small figures representing characters from the Burmese
pantheon. The monastery is raised on piles which are decorated with pairs of sinuous carved dragons or serpents, auspicious mythical beasts. A flight of steps curves down to the ground at left and in the foreground is a masonry and stucco enclosure in the form of a row of upright leaves known as sein-daung.