No. 67. Amerapoora. Ouk Kyoung. [Maha Aungmye Bonzan at Ava]
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe of the Maha Aungmye Bonzan kyaung (monastery) at Amarapura in Burma (Myanmar), from a portfolio of 120 prints. Tripe wrote of this kyaung (also known as Ok Kyaung), 'This, as its name signifies, is built of brick (ouk)'. The 1855 British Mission to Burma was instructed to persuade the Burmese King Mindon Min to accept the annexation of Pegu (Lower Burma) following the Anglo-Burmese War of 1852. Its brief was also to collect detailed information regarding the little known country. The Mission spent a little over three months in Burma from August to early November 1855 stopping at various places to allow Linnaeus Tripe, the official photographer, and the Mission's artist, Colesworthy Grant, to perform their duties. 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 brick and stucco monastery in this image was built by the chief queen of King Bagyidaw in 1818. It was damaged in the earthquake of 1838 but repaired by the queen of Mindon Min. The main building housed the monks and at one end of it was the shrine room topped by an elegant tiered roof or pyat-that.