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Panels in wall of [Taik Taw] monastery, [Mandalay]

Panels in wall of [Taik Taw] monastery, [Mandalay]

Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1904

Shelfmark: Photo 1004/1(186)

Item number: 10041186

Length: 20

Width: 15

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of panels on the façade of the Taik Taw Kyaung (monastery) at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar), from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1903-07. The photograph was taken by an unknown photographer in 1904 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. This is a close-up view of wooden panels carved with bands of foliage, mythical beasts including serpents in roundels and birds, with a deva (a celestial being from the Burmese Buddhist pantheon) acting as a guardian figure on the corner post at left. The exterior of the Taik Taw monastery was richly decorated with wood carvings, a traditional art form at which Burmese artisans excelled. The monastery was built in 1859 by King Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78), the founder of Mandalay, Burma’s last royal capital, and it is thought that the building included architectural elements from the Royal Palace at Amarapura, the former Burmese capital. As a consequence of royal patronage there was a wealth of monastic architecture in the city. Taw Sein Ko wrote of the monastery in his ‘Report on Archaeological Work in Burma for the year 1908-09’ (Rangoon, 1909): “Under the Burmese regime, it was used as the official residence of the Thathanabaing or Buddhist Archbishop, and no effort was spared to impart to it an air of splendour and magnificence…it forms, with the Salin, Shwenandaw and Myadaung [Queen’s Golden] monasteries, a quartette of exquisite specimens of Burmese wooden architecture.”

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