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No. 31. Tsagain Myo [Sagaing]. Litters under a shed.

No. 31. Tsagain Myo [Sagaing]. Litters under a shed.

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(31)

Item number: 61131

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of some sedan chairs in a shed 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.

Linnaeus Tripe wrote of these intricately-carved wooden sedan chairs, 'These were left by will to the Aong-mre-lo-ka Pagoda [Aungmyelawka Paya] near them, by members of the Royal family; equipages belonging to them, being considered too sacred to be used by others after their death, are presented to the Temples. They are of great size and weight, and would require about forty men to carry them'.

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