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No. 74. Amerapoora. Gautama's Shrine.

No. 74. Amerapoora. Gautama's Shrine.

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(74)

Item number: 61174

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, taken at Amarapura in Burma (Myanmar). In 1855 a British mission was sent to King Mindon Min of Burma to negotiate a settlement regarding Pegu, annexed by the British following the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. Linnaeus Tripe was the official photographer on this mission, his pioneering architectural and topographical views of the country are an important photographic record. 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 city was built on a square plan, surrounded by a wall and a moat. Each side of the wall measured 1.6 km and had three gates leading into the main streets that divided the city into equal square blocks, with a massive wooden palace at its centre. The palace was dismantled in 1857, and its materials reused to build the new royal capital, Mandalay. Of this shrine with figures of the Buddha receving homage from a white elephant and a nat, Tripe wrote, 'This is at the Sontoung-pyee-tiyne Pagoda. The white elephant and a Nat are making offerings to Gautama. The Nats, in Burman belief, are an order of being superior to man, some being beneficent, others mischievous'.

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