Shwesandaw Pagoda at Prome
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Shwesandaw Pagoda at Prome (Pyay) in Burma (Myanmar), taken by an unknown photographer in the 1870s. Prome, established during the Pagan era, is an important transshipment centre for cargo moving along the Irrawaddy river between Upper and Lower Burma. The Shwesandaw Pagoda is situated on a hill in the centre of Prome, overlooking the town and the river. Reputed to enshrine hair relics of the Buddha, the shrine is one of Burma's most important pilgrimage sites. The gilded, bell-shaped stupa rises from a base of square terraces with a spire culminating in an ornate hti or umbrella. Eight smaller stupas mark the terrace corners, and the base is ringed by square single-cell shrines with spires. Outside the railings stand two silver flowering trees known as pan, arranged in offering vases or kalasa, and in the centre between them is a sacred umbrella and a planetary post used by worshippers in temple ritual. The photograph is one of a series of images documenting Burmese pagodas in the Temple Collection which were taken from a set of slides used by Sir Richard Carnac Temple to illustrate a lecture on 'Developments in Buddhist Architecture'.