Snake dagonedine at Myangoon, Maulmain
Photographer: Watts and Skeen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from the Curzon Collection of a dagun-daing, or prayer post, at a Buddhist shrine near Moulmein (Mawlamyaing) in south-east Burma (Myanmar). The stepped base is ornamented with sculptures of sacred and mythical figures including lions, images of the Buddha, and on the upper tier, serpents or nagas. Their interlaced tails decorate the tower in a lattice pattern. Serpent iconography is common in Burmese religious architecture, and may be a residual trace of serpent worship, one of the earliest known forms of animistic religion. Prayer posts are generally topped with a sacred hintha bird and a streamer, but this example culminates in a miniature stupa or pagoda. In the left foreground are three white-painted stupas.