[Ceremonial barge, ?Inle Lake.]
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Burmese ceremonial barge, probably taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. Ceremonial barges were magnificent gilded vessels used by kings, courtiers and high officials in spectacular processions and during water festivals. The location of this image is possibly Inle Lake in Shan State where the Hpaung daw-u Festival is held each autumn, during which holy images are carried by a ceremonial barge around the lake to bless local monasteries. The canopy of the barge consists of an ornately-carved tiered roof with three spires known as pyat-thats denoting sacred royal or religious space, and the prow figurehead is a sacred bird.