Chief Queen's apartments, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Chief Queen’s apartments 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 1905 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. This is a view of the wooden pavilions occupied by the Chief Queen of the Burmese monarchy. The last queen to occupy them was Supayalat, royal consort of Thibaw (reigned 1878-1885) the last king of Burma. They were exiled to India when Thibaw formally surrendered to the British in 1885 following the Third Burmese War, which culminated in the annexation of Upper Burma. The apartments were situated in the heart of the Royal Palace next to the Glass Palace, occupied by the King, in the middle of a sequence of state rooms leading from the Great Hall of Audience on the east face of the palace, which faced the main city gate of Mandalay, towards the more private women’s apartments occupied by queens of various rank at the western end. This arrangement followed the Burmese tradition of building palaces on an east-west axis. The pavilion is crowned with a tiered roof, a symbolic form demarcating sacred space which was restricted to royal and religious architecture. The Royal Palace stood at the centre of Mandalay, a walled city founded in 1857 which became Burma’s last great royal capital. It was one of the first buildings to be constructed, re-using many parts of the teak buildings from the former capital Amarapura. The original palace was destroyed by fire during Allied bombing raids in 1945 during the Second World War but has since been partially reconstructed.