No. 98. Mengoon [Mingun]. Pagoda from South East.
Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, showing 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. Mingun, 11 kms from Mandalay on the opposite bank of the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) is best known for its immense and incomplete pagoda begun by King Bodawpaya (ruled 1782-1819) who founded Amarapura. He intended it to be the tallest Buddhist monument in the world, rising to a height of 150 ms, but died in 1819 before it could be finished. This photograph gives a view of the massive pagoda (purportedly the largest mass of brickwork in the world) showing the cracks and splits caused by the damaging 1838 earthquake. Tripe wrote of this view, 'This corner shows the effects of the earthquake most completely. On reaching the top by it, the surface is seen rent into broad and deep fissures - a glacier in brickwork'.