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No. 96. Mengoon [Mingun]. Ruined Griffins.

No. 96. Mengoon [Mingun]. Ruined Griffins.

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(96)

Item number: 61196

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, with a rear view of the massive headless chinthes (temple guardian lions) in front of the Mingun Pagoda, at Burma (Myanmar) with the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) river beyond. 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. Tripe wrote of this photograph, 'In front of the Pagoda. These were 95 feet high; but, like the latter, were shattered by the earthquake of 1839. The heads and necks lie scattered about their pedestals in masses'. Mingun is located 11 kms upriver from Mandalay, on the opposite bank. In 1790 King Bodawpaya (ruled 1782-1819) began the construction of a stupa at Mingun, intended to be the highest Buddhist monument in the world and to reach a height of 150 m. Only its base had been completed when the project was abandoned at the King’s death in 1819. This terrace is considered the biggest pile of bricks in the world. The imposing structure with its chinthes guarding it to the east was much damaged in an earthquake in 1838.

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