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The Tooth-Relic Tower, [Mandalay]

The Tooth-Relic Tower, [Mandalay]

Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India

Medium: Photographic print

Date: 1903

Shelfmark: Photo 1004/1(17)

Item number: 1004117

Length: 15

Width: 20.3

Scale: Centimetres

Genre: Photograph

Photograph of the Tooth Relic Tower at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar) from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1903-07. The photograph was taken in 1903 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. Mandalay was founded in 1857 and became Burma’s last royal capital. At its heart was a square citadel containing the Nandaw or Royal Palace. The Tooth Relic Tower stood

inside the palace grounds, on the south side of the road next to the East Gate, the main entrance. The building consists of a plinth crowned by a square relic chamber containing a statue of the Buddha, with a tiered roof. This view shows the flight of stairs on the west side. Buddhist relics are enshrined in pagodas throughout Burma and were highly sought after by Burmese monarchs. However the tower at Mandalay only ever contained the statue. In his ‘Guide to the Mandalay Palace’ (Rangoon, 1925), a later Superintendent of the Burma Archaeological Survey, Charles Duroiselle, commented that: “As a matter of fact, although the building is called the Tooth Relic Tower, there never was any tooth-relic enshrined in

it, either in Mindon’s or in Thibaw’s time. The tower was built simply because it was the tradition to have such a tower at the royal city, a tradition which the Burmese push back only to the time of King Hanthawaddy Sinbyushin in the sixteenth century.”

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