[Burmese monk and attendant.]
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a Burmese Buddhist monk and attendant, taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. This is a full-length studio portrait, set against a painted backdrop of a woodland scene. The monk is accompanied by a young Chinese servant who holds an umbrella over him. Buddhism in some form had always existed in Burma since ancient times (though not to the extent of superseding other indigenous beliefs), and legend held that the great Buddhist King Ashoka of India (?273-232 BC) had visited Burma. In the 11th century, King Anawrahta who unified the country adopted Theravada Buddhism as his religion and thereafter this form of Buddhism became established in Burma. Buddhist monks are accorded a reverential status by Burmese society and the monkhood or Sangha occupies an important place in the country’s religious and secular life.