General view of Mandalay showing the 450 Pagodas
Photographer: Beato, Felice (1825-c.1907)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of Mandalay taken by Felice Beato in the 1880s. The view is taken from Mandalay Hill looking down onto the Kuthodaw Pagoda in the foreground. The Kuthodaw was built in the late 1850s by King Mindon Min as a meritorious work when Mandalay was founded and was one of the features needed to consecrate the city as the new royal capital, taking over from Amarapura. The Kuthodaw, popularly described as the world's largest 'book', is revered for the 729 marble slabs carved with the entire Tipitika or Buddhist canon that form part of the main stupa and are contained within the many shrines, or '450 pagodas' surrounding it. To the right of the pagoda is the Atumashi Kyaung, a royal monastery also built by Mindon Min as part of the foundation of Mandalay. The pyramidal building was composed of fivegraduated terraces covered in a layer of white stucco but was destroyed by fire in 1890. The photograph is from an album devoted almost entirely to Lord Elgin's Burma tour of November to December 1898. Victor Alexander Bruce (1849-1917), ninthEarl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine, served as Viceroy of India between 1894 and 1899.