No. 53. Amerapoora. Nagayoung Pagoda. [Naga-yon temple]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe showing the Nagayon temple at Amarapura in Burma (Myanmar), from a portfolio of 120 prints. Tripe wrote of this temple, 'This symbolises a legend in the history of Gautama, when he was sheltered by a dragon in its folds'. The large 'naga' or serpent, which gives the unusual early 19th century Nagayon its name, looms protectively up over the shrine which shelters the main image of the Buddha. 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. 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.