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No. 13. Pugahm Myo [Pagan]. Sheen-byeen-baudi Pagoda [Mahabodhi Pagoda].

No. 13. Pugahm Myo [Pagan]. Sheen-byeen-baudi Pagoda [Mahabodhi Pagoda].

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(13)

Item number: 61113

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of the Mahabodhi temple at Bagan (Pagan) in Burma (Myanmar), from a portfolio of 120 prints. With this portfolio of architectural and topographical views, Tripe, an officer from the Madras Infantry, created an early photographic record of Burma. The 1855 British Mission to Burma was instructed to persuade the Burmese king Mindon Min to accept the annexation of Pegu (Lower Burma) following the Anglo-Burmese War of 1852. It was also the intention of the British to collect both cultural and practical information about the country. They travelled in Burma from August to early November 1855, stopping at various places to allow Linnaeus Tripe, the official photographer, and the mission's artist, Colesworthy Grant, to perform their duties. Tripe writes of this view, 'A peculiar specimen of Pugahm architecture rather Hindoo-like in style. The spire and walls outside are crowded with figures of Gautama in niches. In the enclosure in front are some fifty ancient inscribed stones. It dates from about 1200 A.D.' The Burmese Mahabodhi temple is modelled on the temple of the same name built at the spot in Bodh Gaya in India where the Buddha attained enlightenment in 6th century BC. The 140 foot high brick and stucco structure has a large square pyramidal tower topped by a conical spire and umbrella and was built in the reign of Nadaungmya (1211-1234). Its stuccoed exterior is ornamented with numerous niches containing over 450 Buddha images.

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