[Carvings on the Chinese temple at Bhamo.]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of wood carvings on a Chinese temple at Bhamo in Burma (Myanmar), taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s. The photograph is from an album devoted almost entirely to a tour of Burma made in November and December 1898 by Lord Elgin, Viceroy of India between 1894 and 1899. Bhamo is in Kachin State in the hills of Burma’s far north and is the closest and most accessible point to China. In the 19th century the district population included Chinese-Shan settlers from nearby Chinese provinces and Cantonese who came via Rangoon (Yangon). The temple is presumably the 'new Chinese joss-house, which has lately been completed, though part of it has been in existence for some fifty years', visited by Lord Elgin on 29 November and mentioned in a newspaper cutting which accompanies the photograph. The carvings of the figures, foliage and flame-like pediment are Burmese in style, drawing on an ancient tradition of woodcarving at which Burmese artisans excel both technically and aesthetically.