Silver kyaung of Queen Soopyalat, Mandalay
Photographer: Beato, Felice (1825-c.1907)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Silver Kyaung or Monastery of Queen Supayalat at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar), taken by Felice Beato in c.1890. Mandalay was founded in 1857 and became Burma’s last royal capital. Queen Supayalat was the wife of Thibaw, the last king of Burma. He ruled from 1878 until 1885, when Mandalay was annexed by the British Empire and they were exiled to India. This is a general view of the monastery. It is a magnificent building constructed in the form of a raised pavilion with tiered roofs, surrounded by a veranda with steps at the cardinal points of the compass. The spire or pyat-that marks the main shrine room. The building is richly decorated with ornate wood carving and mirrored glass mosaic work set into the wood panels. As a consequence of royal patronage Mandalay had a rich heritage of religious architecture. The photograph is from an album devoted almost entirely to Lord Elgin’s Burma tour of November toDecember 1898. Victor Alexander Bruce (1849-1917), ninth Earl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine, served as Viceroy of India between 1894 and 1899.