The Lily Throne in the Lily Throne Hall, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Lily Throne in the Nandaw (Royal Palace) 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 1903 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. This view shows the throne set between gilded pillars in the Lily Throne Hall, where the King and the Chief Queen held formal audiences for women of the court. The hall was situated on the west face of the palace in the Queen's Audience Hall, in the area occupied by the Chief Queen and other female members of the royal family. Following Burmese tradition the palace was built on an east-west axis, with the main public state rooms on the east and the more private women’s quarters on the opposite face towards the rear. The throne was one of eight in the palace and was a magnificent gilded wooden structure, surmounted with a pediment decorated with flaring stylized ornamental forms known as saing-baung, derived from the haunches of a wild ox. It was decorated with floral designs, glittering glass mosaic work and carved imagery including divine beings, and lotuses, from which the throne takes its
name, as Charles Duroiselle explained in the "Guide to the Mandalay Palace" (Rangoon, 1925): “This apartment was called Lily Throne Room, because the throne in it was ornamented with carved lily flowers. The lily or lotus, was the very first
flower which appeared in the genesis of the world, and is therefore considered as the most excellent; hence its appearance as a motif of decoration on the throne of the Chief Queen.” The palace stood at the centre of a square fortress in Mandalay,
Burma’s last great royal capital founded in 1857, and was built using many parts of the teak buildings from the former capital Amarapura. It was completely destroyed by fire during Allied bombing raids in 1945 during the Second World War, but has since been partially reconstructed.