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No. 111. Rangoon. Side view of East Tazoung [Shwe Dagon Pagoda].

No. 111. Rangoon. Side view of East Tazoung [Shwe Dagon Pagoda].

Photographer: Tripe, Linnaeus

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1855

Shelfmark: Photo 61/1(111)

Item number: 611111

Genre: Photograph

Photograph by Linnaeus Tripe, from a portfolio of 120 prints, with a view of the east tazaung (devotional chapel) of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda at Rangoon (Yangon) in Burma (Myanmar). The tazaung is a square open-sided wooden pavilion with a tiered roof, and in the foreground can be seen the guardian lions or chinthes. Tripe wrote, 'The base of the Pagoda is ornamented by brickwork lions, having altars for offerings before them; their necks and the scrolls above them are inlaid with a mosaic of mirror - in the panelling behind too, were squares of mirror, the rest having once been gilt; the effect of the whole must have been very brilliant'. In 1855 a British mission was sent to King Mindon Min of Burma to negotiate a settlement regarding Pegu, annexed by the British after the Second Anglo-Burmese War in 1852. Linnaeus Tripe was the official photographer on this mission and his architectural and topographical views of the country form an important record. The Shwe Dagon stupa on Singuttara Hill is Burma's most significant Buddhist monument, of great national importance. Traditional history states that it was founded in the 6th century to enshrine eight hairs from the Buddha's head. Its documented history begins from the 14th century from which time a succession of rulers rebuilt it or made improvements to it. The ascent to the stupa on its platform is by four stairways from the four cardinal points. Tazaungs on the platform are adoration halls where offerings are made and prayers are said before rows of Buddha images. Each of the cardinal tazaungs is dedicated to one of the four Buddhas of this era (kalpa or kappa). The eastern tazaung is dedicated to Kakusandha, the first Buddha of this era.

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