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No. 28. Tsagain Myo [Sagaing]. Tazaung.

No. 28. Tsagain Myo [Sagaing]. Tazaung.

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(28)

Item number: 61128

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of a tazaung at Sagaing in Burma (Myanmar), from a portfolio of 120 prints. Tripe, an officer from the Madras Infantry, was the official photographer attached to a British diplomatic mission to King Mindon Min of Burma in 1855. This followed the British annexation of Pegu after the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. Aside from official duties, the mission was instructed to gather information regarding the country and its people. Tripe's architectural and topographical views are of great documentary importance as they are among the earliest surviving photographs of Burma. Mandalay in central Burma was the capital of the last Burmese kingdom. Clustered around it on the banks of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) river are other earlier capitals, such as Ava (Inwa), Amarapura and Sagaing. The latter, 21 kms south-west of Mandalay, is on the opposite bank of the river from Ava and has long been revered as the religious centre of Burma. People come from all over the country to meditate at Sagaing, popularly described as 'Little Pagan' since there are hundreds of stupas and monasteries at this site. Founded in 1315 by a Shan chieftain, it was capital for only a few decades before the kings shifted to Ava. Tripe wrote of this tazaung, an open-sided wooden structure with a series of sloping roofs, 'This is rather Moresco in character; I do not remember having seen a similar building in Burmah'. A tazaung is an adoration hall where people offer flowers, light candles and joss sticks and pray before rows of Buddhas.

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