No. 21. Pugahm Myo [Pagan]. East facade of Damayangyee Pagoda. [Dhamma-yan-gyi Temple]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of the Dhamma-yan-gyi temple in the Pagan (Bagan)
region of 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 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. Capital of the first kingdom of Burma from the 11th to the 14th century, Pagan is one of the most important archaeological sites in South East Asia, with the remains of over 2000 stupas, temples and monasteries scattered over a 30 km radius. Tripe found that the Dhamma-yan-gyi, '…is one of the best examples of design, and in some parts of it, of workmanship at Pugahm...' He continued, 'In the vestibule on the east face, the vaulting of brickwork has been laid bare, and shows less careful work in that important part, than in the walls below. This, with its having been more neglected than the other temples, may account for its dilapidated condition. The central aisles have been blocked up, but not so carefully as to escape notice. This shuts up all the centre of the building; for what purpose is unknown. A strong wall 12 feet high, surrounds it. It dates from about the year 1154 A.D.' Noted for its fine brickwork, the powerful shape of this massive temple is one of the most enigmatic in Pagan, both its history and its architecture have afforded scholars much debate. Built in the late 12th century, possibly by Narapatisithu , the interior has been blocked up by brickwork for some unknown reason.