No. 22. Pugahm Myo [Pagan]. Flat Arch in Damayangyee Pagoda. [Dhamma-yan-gyi]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of an arch 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. 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. Tripe wrote of this view, 'The flat arch here seen is well worth notice. How did the art of it get to Pugahm in the 12th century?'