Maulmain Great Pagoda
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (ca.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Kyaik-Than-Lan Pagoda at Moulmein (Mawlamyaing) in Burma (Myanmar), taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. This is a view of the pagoda looking along an approach road. It is the tallest of five temples and monasteries built on a ridge of hills in east Moulmein and was probably the setting for Rudyard Kipling's poem 'The Road to Mandalay', which begins: "By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' lazy at the sea / There's a Burma girl a-settin', and I know she thinks o' me;". The main shrine is a tapering, conical stupa 40 m tall, which stands on a platform reached via flights of steps ascending the hillside. The stupa is surrounded by a cluster of pagodas with multi-tiered roofs or pyat-that, an element of Burmese religious architecture denoting sacred space. Smaller stupa shrines and pyat-that towers are built on the hillside below. Moulmein, the third largest city of Burma and the capital of the Mon state, developed as the chief town of British Burma from 1827 to 1852, and was a major centre for the teak trade. Klier, of German origin, started his career as professional photographer in 1871 in Moulmein. He specialised in art photography, his work was published in art books, and he eventually became a dealer in arts and crafts.