Shwe Nandaw kyaung, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Shwenandaw 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. The monastery was built in 1880 using material obtained from King Mindon Min’s apartment in the Royal Palace, which was dismantled after his death. Mindon (reigned 1853-78) founded Mandalay in 1857 in fulfilment of a Buddhist prophecy that a religious centre would be built at the foot of Mandalay Hill. As a consequence of royal patronage there were many religious foundations in the city and a wealth of monastic architecture. The monastery was a splendid structure ornamented with fine teak carvings, mirrored glass mosaic and gilding. Taw Sein Ko wrote of it in his ‘Report on Archaeological Work in Burma for the year 1904-05’ (Rangoon, 1905): “The whole building is heavily gilt and adorned with kashi or glass mosaic work. Its architecture compares very favourably with that of the Queen’s Monastery in A Road.” This general view shows the tiered roof crowning the building, which is raised on piles and surrounded by a veranda from which flights of steps descend.