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Myanmar (Burma) Bagan (Pagan) 11th-13th centuries Fisher, pp.183-186 Myanmar Present capital is Yangon (Rangoon) People: Mon, Burmese, Karen, and Shan Old capitals: Pagan (11th-13th centuries) Amanrapura, Mandaley (18th-19th century)

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myanmar burma

Myanmar (Burma)

Bagan (Pagan)

11th-13th centuries

Fisher, pp.183-186

  • Present capital is Yangon (Rangoon)
  • People: Mon, Burmese, Karen, and Shan
  • Old capitals: Pagan (11th-13th centuries) Amanrapura, Mandaley (18th-19th century)
  • Sources of history: The Great Chronicle composed in 1829 by a committee of scholars; the Glass Palace Chronicle (translated into English in 1923, covered largely Pagan period)
bagan period
Bagan period
  • King Aniruddha (Anawratha) (r. 1044-77)
  • King Kyanzittha (c. 1084-1111): legends had it said that he was boren as brahmin who worshipped Kassapa Buddha
  • Bagan was destroyed by the Mongol invasion in 1283
  • Religion: Theravada Buddhism (from Sri Lanka), Mahayana Buddhism (from Pala region in India), and Hinduism
  • Animism calls Nats: Spirits of people who had died violent, unjust deaths; 37 nats; Mt. Popa is their abode
  • Nats revolve around land, sky, and water spirits and links to agriculture;
  • built small wooden enclosure containing images; offering of food and drinks (offering of the Taungbyon brothers are soft drink and liquor and fried chicken)
religious structures
Religious structures
  • Stupa: Bupaya dated to 9th century; decorated with stucco or ceramic tiles
  • Temple: Generally a single story in the early period. Later temples include large edifices of two stories or a series of pyramidal tiers surmounting the base; most constructed with bricks; decorated with stucco on the exterior and painting in the interior;
  • Ananda temple (early 12th century); continues today as a center of worship
  • Buddha images mainly made of brick, coated in stucco and painted; carved from sandstone, covered with lacquer and gilt; bronze
  • More than 13,000 stupas and temples may be dated to the Pagan period.
ananda temple
Ananda Temple
  • Built during the reign of King Kyanzittha

(r. 1084-1111)

  • Greek Crossed (Cruciform) plan; square shape; topped with a tapering pagoda (172 feet from the base)
  • Four standing Buddhas; each enshrined in a nich
  • Interior has life scenes of the Buddha (389 scenes) and last ten jatakas
shwedagon pagoda
Shwedagon pagoda
  • Most important shrine in Myanmar (14th century; rebuilt several times) (344 feet high)
  • Legendary history dated it to the founding in the life of the Buddha
  • Encased within it is said to be a golden barge, studded with jewels, in the form of a mythical bird; the golden vessel encloses eight sacred hairs of the Buddha (gave to two merchants, Taphussa and Bhallika from Myanmar)