Moulding on the gate and arch of [Atumashi] monastery, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the façade of the Atumashi Kyaung (Incomparable 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. This is a view looking along the stucco-covered masonry base of the monastery towards a flight of dragon-headed steps at the entrance. The base is all that remained after the building was destroyed by a fire in 1890. The monastery was erected by King Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78) in 1857 as part of the consecration of Mandalay, the last royal capital of Burma which was founded to fulfil a Buddhist prophecy that a religious centre would be built at the foot of Mandalay Hill. It stood near the hill next to the Kuthodaw Pagoda, another meritorious work. It had an unusual design of five graduated terraces of timber covered with a layer of ornately carved and relief-moulded white stucco, creating the impression of a rectangular pyramid. Monasteries in Mandalay usually took the form of wooden pavilions surmounted by tiered roofs and a pyatthat spire decorated with flamboyant wood carvings. Stucco was traditionally used to decorate brick temples and pagodas. In addition, the Italianate arches on the base are attributed to the influence of European architectural ideas in 19th-century Burma. The monastery has recently been reconstructed to a new design.