No. 45. Amerapoora. Wooden Bridge.
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, showing a view of the wooden bridge at Amarapura in Burma (Myanmar). In 1855 an officer from the Madras Infantry, Linneaus Tripe, was attached as official photographer to the diplomatic mission sent from India to the Burmese capital of Amarapura. The mission's goal was two-fold: to negotiate with King Mindon Min his acceptance of British rule over Pegu, and to gather information about the country in every detail. During the journey up the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) from Rangoon (Yangon) to Amarapura, Tripe produced a portfolio of 120 large views of scenery and architecture which are amongst the earliest - and finest - surviving images of this then little-known kingdom. A few years after they were taken, the royal capital was transferred 11 km upriver to Mandalay. While the U Bein bridge in this photograph still exists, few buildings in the abandoned capital survive and Tripe’s photographs remain the only accurate visual record of the old royal capital. The bridge spans the seasonal Taungthaman Lake to the south of Amarapura and is 1.5 kms long. Built by a mayor, U Bein, in 1784, it was constructed from teak posts salvaged from the ruined former capital city of Ava (Inwa). Tripe wrote of this view, 'Carried over the west limb of the Lake on piles about 7 feet apart with some openings (bridged with loose planks) for the passage through of large boats'.