[Unidentified pagoda, Burma.]
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of an unidentified pagoda in Burma (Myanmar), taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s. A characteristic Burmese Buddhist shrine form, a pagoda or stupa is a solid structure built to enshrine sacred Buddhist relics, precious stones and images of the Buddha. The stupa is composed of a bell-shaped dome narrowing to a conical spire decorated with bands of moulding, crowned with a metal hti or umbrella and resting on a series of square terraces. Either a part or the whole structure is often gilded. The pagoda in this view is decorated with traditional Burmese designs in stucco including floral motifs, mythical creatures and spirits. The flamboyant arched triple pediment over the central shrine containing a Buddha is formed by stylized makaras, mythical sea animals.