Carving on railing of [Taik Taw] monastery, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of carvings on the railings 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. The monastery was built by King Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78) in 1859. Taw Sein Ko commented 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.” The monastery included architectural elements which were thought to have come from the palace at Amarapura, the former Burmese capital, and the exterior was decorated with bold and vivid woodcarvings, a traditional artform at which Burmese artisans excelled. This view shows carvings of mythical beasts and celestial beings from the Burmese patheon ornamenting the railings of the veranda surrounding the monastery buildings.