No. 50. Amerapoora. Thamboukday Pagoda. [Thanbodde Paya]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of the small Thanbodde Pagoda, its surface honeycombed with apertures, at Amarapura 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. Amarapura, on the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) river, was twice the capital of the Burmese kings of the Konbaung dynasty: from 1782 (the year of its foundation by King Bodawpaya) to 1823 and again from 1837 to 1860, after which Mandalay, 11 km to the north, became capital. Amarapura was the site of the first British Embassy to Burma in 1795, and played host again to Tripe's Mission. The Thanbodde Paya (stupa) in Amarapura was built in 1782, with its sides covered by regular tiers of hundreds of small niches, each housing an image of the Buddha. Tripe wrote, 'This curious little pagoda is literally covered with small niches (about 1100) containing figures of Gautama. The worshippers have carried their attentions so far as to give each figure a yellow muslin robe'.