No. 49. Amerapoora. Mhoo-daughee Pagoda [Kaunghmudaw Pagoda, Sagaing].
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of the Kaungmudaw Pagoda at Sagaing in Burma (Myanmar), from a portfolio of 120 prints, the stupa partially obscured by a tree in the foreground. 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. The 46 m high Kaunghmudaw (the name means 'work of great merit') Pagoda dome rises a few miles north of Sagaing rather than in Amarapura and was built in 1636 by King Thalon to commemorate Ava (Inwa) being re-established as capital. The huge whitewashed dome is said to be modelled after the Mahaceti (Great Stupa) in Sri Lanka although legend also states that it represents the perfect breast of Thalun's queen. Tripe wrote that the structure was, 'Very like the Bilsa Topes described by Major Cunningham. This is however quite modern, having been built by a servant of the present King'. Sagaing, 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.