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The Palace. The centre of the universe, Mandalay

The Palace. The centre of the universe, Mandalay

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1895

Shelfmark: Photo 15/6(25)

Item number: 15625

Length: 20.8

Width: 28

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the palace at Mandalay, taken by an unknown photographer in the 1890s. Mandalay, the second largest city in Burma, was founded in 1857 by King Mindon Min (who shifted his capital here from Amarapura) and became the country's last great royal capital. The city was built as a walled palace-fortress in the form of a perfect square surrounded by a moat. The royal palace or Nandaw was one of the first buildings to be constructed and reused many parts of the teak buildings from the old royal capital of Amarapura. This is a view of the main buildings of the royal palace or Nandaw, with its gilded spire or shwepyathat. The Great Audience Hall, with two-tiered roofs, stood at the eastern end of the palace facing the main city gate. Above it rose the seven-tiered spire, known as the ‘Centre of the Universe’ which marked the sacred royal space of the Lion Throne room directly below. The palace was destroyed by fire in 1945.The photograph is from an album devoted almost entirely to Lord Elgin’s Burma tour of November to December 1898. Victor Alexander Bruce (1849-1917), ninth Earl of Elgin and 13th Earl of Kincardine, served as Viceroy of India between 1894 and 1899.

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