Mandalay. Maha Lawka Maya Zain Pagoda [Kuthodaw Pagoda]
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Kuthodaw Pagoda at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar), taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. Mandalay, in Upper Burma, was the last capital of the Burmese kings, founded in 1857 by King Mindon (ruled 1853-78). The Kuthodaw or Maha Lawka Marazein Paya lies to the north-east of Mandalay and its construction began with the founding of the city because the pagoda was one of the features needed to consecrate Mandalay as the new royal capital. The walled complex of the Kuthodaw contains what is popularly described as the world's largest book. The huge central stupa is surrounded by a multitude of small shrines, 729 in all. Each little pagoda houses a marble block on which is carved in Pali script part of the sacred Theravada Buddhist texts, and taken as a whole they comprise the entire Pali canon or Tipitakas (Tripitakas in Sanskrit). The stupa is said to be a replica of the 11th-century Shwezigon Paya at Bagan (Pagan). This is a view to the south-east from Mandalay Hill looking down onto the central pagoda surrounded by the smaller shrines.