Salin monastery, [Mandalay] 10041165
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Salin 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. Mandalay, in Upper Burma, was the last capital of the Burmese kings, founded in 1857 by King Mindon (reigned 1853-78). The site of the city was chosen 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 consisted of a series of halls raised on piles and surrounded by a veranda, from which flights of steps with curving balustrades descend. This view shows the central and eastern portions. In ‘Wood-Carving of Burma’ (Rangoon, 1903), Harry L. Tilly writes: “The Salin Monastery was built in 1876 AD by the Salin Princess and the carving with which it is adorned is probably the finest in Burma, and is a good example of work which has not been contaminated by European influence. Like all monasteries it is placed to the cardinal points of the compass: at the East end is the pyat-that or seven roofed spire under which is seated the image of Gaudama Buddha. The shrine is joined by the Zinkyan with two roofs, to the Kyaung-ma-gyi or main building with three roofs under which the Sadaw or abbot lives and receives his visitors and expounds the law to them...” The tiered roofs and pyatthat spire of the monastery are symbolic forms demarcating sacred space and their use was restricted to royal and religious architecture. They are magnificently decorated with flamboyant wood carvings.