Tomb of Paganmin's mother, [Mandalay]
Photographer: Archaeological Survey of India
Medium: Photographic print
Photograph of a royal tomb at Mandalay in Burma (Myanmar) from the Archaeological Survey of India Collections: Burma Circle, 1903-07. The photograph was taken in 1906 under the direction of Taw Sein Ko, the Superintendent of the Archaeological Survey of Burma at the time. The tomb in this view is thought to be that of the Chief Queen of Shwebomin (reigned 1837-1846), who was the mother of Pagan Min (reigned 1846-1853), the seventh king of the Konbaung Dynasty (1752-1885) whose reign was marked by the execution of thousands of his subjects, and of Queen Setkyazeng, the Princess who became the Chief Queen of Mindon Min. Mindon (reigned 1853-1878) succeeded Pagan Min, and by contrast was a progressive monarch who was much admired by his subjects and founded Mandalay as a new royal capital in 1857. In his ‘Guide to the Mandalay Palace’ (Rangoon, 1925), a later Superintendent of the Burma Archaeological Survey, Charles Duroiselle, describes her lineage as “the daughter of the Heir-Apparent, son of King Bodawpaya (1782-1819 A.D.).” The tomb stood in a group of mausoleums inside the square fortress containing the Royal Palace (Nandaw), to the north of the East Gate. It takes the form of a tiered spire known as a pyatthat, enclosed with lattice panels around its base. The pyatthat is a characteristic symbolic feature of Burmese royal and religious architecture which demarcates sacred space. Its eaves are decorated with ornate and flamboyant wood carving, a traditional form of applied decoration in which Burmese artisans were highly skilled.