Images at the foot of a tagondain at Rangoon (Shwe dagon)
Photographer: Oertel, Frederick Oscar (b.1862)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a dagun-daing or prayer-post at the Shwe Dagon in Rangoon (Yangon), Burma (Myanmar), taken by Frederick Oscar Oertel during the 1870s. Dagun-daings, the tall prayer-posts found at Burmese temples and used in Buddhist ritual, are usually decorated at the top with a mythical bird known as a hintha, and a long streamer. This image shows the base of the pole and a stepped plinth on which are seated vividly-realised sculptures of spirit figures from the Burmese pantheon known as nats, and bilus or ogres, both guardians of Burmese temples such as the Shwe Dagon. The prayer-post is situated on the platform surrounding the main pagoda or stupa, which can be seen in the background together with smaller satellite stupas. The Shwe Dagon is Burma's most important and iconic Buddhist shrine, tradition associating its origins with the life of the Buddha. This photograph was reproduced in George W. Bird, 'Wanderings in Burma' (London, 1897). It is one of a series of images in the Temple Collection documenting Burmese pagodas which were taken from a set of slides used by Sir Richard Carnac Temple to illustrate a lecture on 'Developments in Buddhist Architecture'.