Taik Taw kyaung, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of the Taik Taw Kyaung (monastery) 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 1904 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. The monastery was built by King Mindon Min (reigned 1853-78) in 1859. This is a general view of the monastery, which is raised on piles and composed of several wooden halls surrounded by a verandah and steps, with tiered roofs, and a pyatthat (spire) over the main shrine room. These roofs were restricted to royal and religious architecture and were symbolic forms demarcating sacred space. As a consequence of royal patronage there were many religious foundations in Mandalay, and a wealth of monastic architecture. The city was Burma’s last royal capital and was founded in 1857 by Mindon in fulfilment of a Buddhist prophecy that a religious centre would be built at the foot of Mandalay Hill. Taw Sein Ko commented in his ‘Report on Archaeological Work in Burma For the year 1908-09’ (Rangoon, 1909): “Under the Burmese regime, it was used as the official residence of the Thathanabaing or Buddhist Archbishop, and no effort was spared to impart to it an air of splendour and magnificence…it forms, with the Salin, Shwenandaw and Myadaung [Queen’s Golden] monasteries, a quartette of exquisite specimens of Burmese wooden architecture.” The interior of the monastery was heavily gilded and the exterior decorated with bold and vivid carvings including posts which were thought to have come from the palace at Amarapura, the former Burmese capital.