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Pumpkin Pagoda [Bupaya Pagoda], Pagan, Upper Burma

Pumpkin Pagoda [Bupaya Pagoda], Pagan, Upper Burma

Photographer: Jackson, J.

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1868

Shelfmark: Photo 1099/(36)

Item number: 109936

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Bupaya Pagoda at Pagan (Bagan), Burma (Myanmar), taken by J. Jackson in c.1868, part of an album of 43 views of Burma from the Sladen Collection. The pagoda sits above the Irrawaddy (Ayeyarwady) River within the old walled city of Pagan. This is a view from the riverbank, looking up towards the outer wall and the bulbous dome. It was built in c.850 by King Pyusawti and is a stupa, a solid domed structure enshrining Buddhist relics. It takes its name from the bu or gourd plant, and is traditionally connected to the legend of Pyusawti. This recounts that the young hero vanquished Five Great Menaces ravaging the city of Pagan. One of these was the invasive growth of gourd plant vines. In reward he was given the hand of the king’s daughter in marriage and on acceding to the throne built pagodas at each of the places where he had triumphed over the Menaces. It is one of more than 2000 Buddhist monuments built by kings, nobles and monks as meritorious acts on the plain at Pagan on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy in central Burma. Most date from the period of Pagan’s golden age, between the 11th and the 13th centuries when it was a royal city and the capital of an extensive Burmese kingdom. The temple was completely destroyed in the devastating earthquake of 1975, but has since been rebuilt.

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