Salin monastery, [Mandalay] 10041166
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 pavilions raised on piles and surrounded by a veranda, from which flights of steps with curving balustrades descend. This is a view of the western end. 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…To the extreme west is the Anauk-tan-ya which is joined to the main building by the kyaung-zu. In this small building to the west the novices and probationers live and pursue the studies which will qualify them to eventually become monks.” Its tiered roofs are magnificently decorated with flamboyant wood carving. The tiered roofs and pyatthat spire are symbolic forms demarcating sacred space and their use was restricted to royal and religious architecture.