Shrines at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Rangoon
Photographer: Watts and Skeen
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph from the Curzon Collection, of shrines at the Shwe Dagon Pagoda, Rangoon (Yangon), taken by Watts and Skeen in the 1890s. The Shwe Dagon is Burma's most celebrated Buddhist temple. It stands on the summit of Singuttara Hill in northern Rangoon and is believed to have originated in the time of the Buddha in the sixth century. In its current form however it dates mostly from the 18th century. This is a view of shrines on the platform surrounding the main pagoda in the temple complex. There are more than a hundred, and they are a mixture of two architectural types: conical structures with terraced octagonal bases known as stupas or zedis; and pavilions with tiered roofs or spires known as tazaungs. The variety and richness of decoration, including wood carving and stucco work, is characteristic of Burmese religious architecture. Of particular note are the flamboyant and intricate carvings ornamenting the tiered roof of the tallest pagoda.