Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Rangoon
Photographer: Klier, Philip Adolphe (c.1845-1911)
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Shwe Dagon Paya (Pagoda), at Rangoon (Yangon), in Burma (Myanmar), taken by Philip Adolphe Klier in the 1890s. The Shwe Dagon is Burma’s most revered Buddhist temple. It is of ancient origin, according to legend founded in the 6th century BC to enshrine hair relics of the Buddha. The main shrine is built in the characteristic Burmese form of a stupa or zedi, a solid structure containing sacred relics, precious stones or images of the Buddha, and is gilded a bright and dazzling gold. It stands on a terraced platform on Singuttara Hill, surrounded by many other shrines and pavilions. This is a general view of the stupa from the platform. Its bell-shaped body narrows to a pointed spire culminating in a hti or umbrella, and rests on a series of square and octagonal terraces. The stupa is surrounded by sixty-four satellite stupas (the smaller conical structures) and by statues of manuthihas (sphinxes) and chinthes (leogryphs), the traditional guardian figures of Burmese temples.