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No. 23. Pugahm Myo [Pagan]. Figures in Damayangyee Pagoda. [Dhamma-yan-gyi]

No. 23. Pugahm Myo [Pagan]. Figures in Damayangyee Pagoda. [Dhamma-yan-gyi]

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(23)

Item number: 61123

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of sculptures 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 the Dhamma-yan-gyi 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. Linnaeus Tripe wrote of these four figures, 'These are in the east vestibule. They represent four favourite disciples of Gautama seated, a lotus flower being the footstool of each. There were two smaller figures (one only remains) kneeling on the lotus, intimating perhaps that as the disciples of Gautama adored him so they in turn were adored by ordinary mortals'.

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