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Archaeology - Pagan

Individual Documents

Title: Conservation of Cultural Heritage Buildings in Bagan Area
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "This research paper would be conducted to integrate with cultural heritage buildings and new public buildings within the whole area of Bagan harmoniously. New public buildings such as hotels, motels, guest houses, inns, museum and viewing tower are constructed within old Bagan area, new Bagan area, area of inside city wall and Nyaung Oo area. The authority demarcated laws an d regulations, and building control plans within archaeological zone, monumental zone and preservation zone for constructing of new public buildings and then new public buildings must not construct within their demarcated areas. In present, new public buildings are influencing within the area of Bagan according to their site and setting, form and height. Bagan archaeological museum is influencing not only the environment of Gawdawpalin temple but also the whole Bagan area according to its massive form. And, viewing tower is also influencing with the height of building. Construction of new public buildings such as Bagan archaeological museum and viewing tower which can be compared in relation to their height and massiveness such as the height and form of Bagan monuments can lose the essence of Bagan from visual aspects. While taking every respect of old cultural heritage buildings, it is very important to consider ( i ) not to lose the value of cultural heritage buildings ( ii ) not to influence with site and setting ( iii ) not to influence with the form of building and ( iv ) not to obstruct with the height of building. Therefore, in depth research work should be conducted for the emergence of new public buildings in Bagan environment.".....Paper delivered at the International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015.
Author/creator: San Nan Shwe
Language: English
Source/publisher: International Conference on Burma/Myanmar Studies: Burma/Myanmar in Transition: Connectivity, Changes and Challenges: University Academic Service Centre (UNISERV), Chiang Mai University, Thailand, 24-­26 July 2015
Format/size: pdf (1.9MB)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 21 August 2015


Title: Burmese Buddhist Imagery of the Early Bagan Period (1044-1113)
Date of publication: 2007
Description/subject: Abstract: "Buddhism is an integral part of Burmese culture. While Buddhism has been practiced in Burma for around 1500 years and evidence of the religion is found throughout the country, nothing surpasses the concentration of Buddhist monuments found at Bagan. Bagan represents not only the beginnings of a unified Burmese country, but also symbolises Burmese 'ownership' of Theravada Buddhism. ¶ While there is an abundance of artistic material throughout Burma, the study of Burmese Buddhist art by western scholars remains in it infancy due to historical events. In recent years, opportunities for further research have increased, and Bagan, as the region of Buddhism's principal flowering in Burma, is the starting point for the study of Burmese Buddhist art. To date, there has been no systematic review of the stylistic or iconographic characteristics of the Buddhist images of this period. This thesis proposes, for the first time, a chronological framework for sculptural depictions of the Buddha, and identifies the characteristics of Buddha images for each identified phase. The framework and features identified should provide a valuable resource for the dating of future discoveries of Buddhist sculpture at Bagan. ¶ As epigraphic material from this period is very scant, the reconstruction of Bagan's history has relied heavily to this point in time on non-contemporaneous accounts from Burma, and foreign chronicles. The usefulness of Bagan's visual material in broadening our understanding of the early Bagan period has been largely overlooked. This is addressed by relating the identified stylistic trends with purported historical events and it is demonstrated that, in the absence of other contemporaneous material, visual imagery is a valid and valuable resource for both supporting and refuting historical events. ¶ Buddhist imagery of Bagan widely regarded to represent the beginnings of 'pure' Theravada practice that King Anawrahta, the first Burman ruler, actively encouraged. This simplistic view has limited the potential of the imagery to provide a greater understanding of Buddhist practice at Bagan, and subsequently, the cross-cultural interactions that may have been occurring. In this light the narrative sculptural imagery of the period is interrogated against the principal Mahayana and Theravada texts relating to the life of Gotama Buddha. This review, along with the discussion regarding potential agencies for stylistic change, reveals that during the early Bagan period, Buddhism was an eclectic mix of both Theravada and Mahayana, which integrated with pre-existing spiritual traditions. Towards the end of the early Bagan period, trends were emerging which would lead to a distinctly Burmese form of Buddhist practice and visual expression." ...The thesis is put online in 4 sections: (1) Abstract and Table of Contents; (2) Text; (3) List of figures and 1st set of figures; (4) 2nd set of figures. The links to these are in the main URL and in the alternate URLs.
Author/creator: Charlotte Kendrick Galloway,
Language: English
Source/publisher: The Australian National University via SOAS BULLETIN OF BURMA RESEARCH 5 2007
Format/size: pdf
Alternate URLs: http://thesis.anu.edu.au/uploads/approved/adt-ANU20071112.160557/public/01front.pdf (Abstract, TOC etc., 31.7K) http://thesis.anu.edu.au/uploads/approved/adt-ANU20071112.160557/public/02Volume1_Text.pdf (Main text, 1.8MB)
http://thesis.anu.edu.au/uploads/approved/adt-ANU20071112.160557/public/03Volume2_ToFig127.pdf (List of figures and 1st set of figures 3.9MB)
http://thesis.anu.edu.au/uploads/approved/adt-ANU20071112.160557/public/04Volume2_Figs128-238.pdf (2nd set of figures, 3.7MB)
Date of entry/update: 21 April 2008


Title: Redesigning History
Date of publication: June 2005
Description/subject: Burma’s ancient capital of Pagan is shaping up to be an eyesore while the former Lao royal capital of Luang Prabang strives to preserve its ancient monuments... "What a contrast between two ancient capitals, both redolent of distinct, historic cultures. One, Burma’s former capital Pagan, is moving towards what promises to be an ugly future motivated more by commercial interests than a desire to preserve the past; the other, Laos’s old royal capital of Luang Prabang, is trying to keep as much as possible of its traditional appeal intact. The main difference in approach is that while the Lao Government has fully embraced the UN cultural agency UNESCO’s active guardianship of Luang Prabang as a World Heritage Site, the Rangoon generals seem to have eschewed such a move over Pagan. This despite the fact that Pagan dates back 1,000 years and is home to more than 2,000 stunning ancient monuments. Burma’s decision makers have their own ideas of what to do with the beautiful former capital. The most recent addition to the magnificent site is a glass and concrete viewing tower which, at just over 60m, is now the ancient city’s second tallest structure. The official line is that by offering tourists a panoramic view without the need to clamber up the already crumbling walls of nearby temples, the Nanmyint (royal tower) will actually help preserve Pagan’s historic monuments. The fact that the tower, which opened on April 10, features a restaurant, meeting rooms and offices, and construction of a chalet–style resort is underway at the tower’s base, however, suggest more commercial motives..."
Author/creator: Harry Priestley
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 13, No. 6
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 28 April 2006


Title: The Origins of Bagan: The archaeological landscape of Upper Burma to AD 1300.
Date of publication: 2005
Description/subject: " The archaeological landscape of Upper Burma from the middle of the first millennium BC to the Bagan period in the 13th-14th century AD is a landscape of continuity. Finds of polished stone and bronze artifacts suggest the existence of early metal-using cultures in the Chindwin and Samon River Valleys, and along parts of the Ayeyarwady plain. Increasing technological and settlement complexity in the Samon Valley suggests that a distinctive culture whose agricultural and trade success can be read in the archaeological record of the Late Prehistoric period developed there. The appearance of the early urban “Pyu” system of walled central places during the early first millennium AD seems to have involved a spread of agricultural and management skills and population from the Samon. The leaders of the urban centres adopted Indic symbols and Sanskrit modes of kingship to enhance and extend their authority. The early urban system was subject over time to a range of stresses including siltation of water systems, external disruption and social changes as Buddhist notions of leadership eclipsed Brahmanical ones. The archaeological evidence indicates that a settlement was forming at Bagan during the last centuries of the first millennium AD. By the mid 11th century Bagan began to dominate Upper Burma, and the region began a transition from a system of largely autonomous city states to a centralised kingdom. Inscriptions of the 11th to 13th centuries indicate that as the Bagan Empire expanded it subsumed the agricultural lands that had been developed by the Pyu."
Author/creator: Bob Hudson (PhD thesis)
Language: English
Source/publisher: University of Sydney
Format/size: pdf (258K, 3.8MB, 29.4MB)
Alternate URLs: http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/638/3/adt-NU20050721.14490701front.pdf
http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/638/2/adt-NU20050721.14490702whole.pdf
http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/2123/638/1/adt-NU20050721.14490703charts.pdf
http://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/handle/2123/638
Date of entry/update: 01 December 2005


Title: Sacred and Profaned: Misguided restorations of the exquisite Buddhist shrines of Pagan in Burma may do more harm than good
Date of publication: December 2002
Description/subject: "...as we rattle along rutted dirt tracks in a battered jeep, Aung Kyaing, chief archaeologist of Pagan's breathtaking 1,000-year-old Buddhist temples, points out an enormous pentagonal pyramid sparkling in the morning sunlight, dominating this arid central Burma plain. "Dhammayazika,â€� he informs me as we bounce past a golden, bell-shaped dome with red banners and a flashy marble walkway. "Secretary Number One paid for the restoration himself.â€� ..."
Author/creator: Richard Covington
Language: English
Source/publisher: Smithsonian Magazine
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 10 July 2010


Title: Reconstructing History: Pagan Gets a Facelift
Date of publication: August 2002
Description/subject: "When the generals seized power following the bloody coup in 1988, they declared that they had rescued the future of Burma from plunging into anarchy. Now, with the help of international restoration experts, the generals are getting ready to save Burma�s past as well. In June, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) announced that Burma�s famous temples of Pagan (Bagan) are slated to become the country�s first World Heritage site. The move will likely breathe life into the country�s moribund tourism industry, and the generals are hoping that their engagement and cooperation with the UN agency will boost their legitimacy at home and abroad. But some scholars worry that, if history is any guide, the preservation efforts may actually accelerate the deterioration of the temples..."
Author/creator: Htein Linn
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol 10, No. 6, July-August 2002
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Old iron-producing furnaces in the eastern hinterland of of Bagan, Myanmar
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: "In November 2001, we located and surveyed around 1000 old furnaces east of Bagan. One was excavated, and this 8 page pdf report contains a pictorial record of what we found... Field survey and initial excavation. "In November 2001, an investigation was made of a number of sites known from local informants around the villages of Zi-o and Panidwin, east of Bagan, to contain remains of furnaces and what appeared to be large quantities of ironmaking debris. The group on the field trip included U Aung Kyaing, Deputy Director General of Archaeology for Upper Myanmar, U Win Maung (Tanpawady), a classical architect and antiquarian from Mandalay, U Nyein Lwin, archaeological research officer and excavator from Bagan, and Bob Hudson, from the Archaeology Department, University of Sydney, Australia. The outcome was the survey and mapping of 12 separate sites which between them contain hundreds of furnaces, and the subsequent excavation of a furnace to determine its structure. Samples were also recovered for future radiocarbon dating, and are held at the University of Sydney and at the Archaeology Department at Bagan..."
Author/creator: Bob Hudson & U Nyein Lwin.
Language: English
Source/publisher: University of Sydney (Australia)
Format/size: pdf (1.57MB)
Alternate URLs: http://acl.arts.usyd.edu.au/~hudson/furnaces.PDF
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 3: The Pagan Period. Part 1 - Introduction and City Plan of Pagan
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: A. Introduction and General History... "Pagan, the most important historical site in Burma, lies within a major bend of the Irrawaddy River where its east-west course turns and flows south. This capitol city, constructed entirely on the left bank of the river, is in the most arid part of the dry zone of Central Burma. Founded at sometime before the 9th century AD, Pagan was the capitol of the first Burmese kingdom from the 11th-14th centuries after its first great ruler, King Anawrahta, politically consolidated all of central Burma by conquering both the Pyu and the Mon peoples. Art and Architecture flourished during the Pagan Period and classic models were established that were copied by later kingdoms..."
Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 3: The Pagan Period. Part 2 - Architecture 1 - General Characteristics and Stupas
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: "Stupas are solid structures that typically cannot be entered and were constructed to contain sacred Buddhist relics that are hidden from view (and vandals) in containers buried at their core or in the walls. Temples have an open interior that may be entered and in which are displayed one or more cult images as a focus for worship. Although this categorization between Stupa and temple is useful, the distinction is not always clear. There are stupas such as the Myazedei that have the external form of a stupa but are like a temple with an inner corridor and multiple shrines..."
Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 3: The Pagan Period. Part 3 - Architecture 2 - Temples and Monasteries
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: "... Pagan temples may be divided into two basic types according to floor plan: one type has an open central sanctuary and the other has a solid core that is ringed by a corridor. The two types, however, were at times combined in a single structure in which the solid core was hollowed out to create a sanctuary that was then encircled by a corridor..."
Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: THE ART AND CULTURE OF BURMA - Chapter 3: The Pagan Period. Part 4 - Sculpture, Conclusion, and Bibliography
Date of publication: 2002
Description/subject: "... The buildings still standing at Pagan are impressive, not only in their numbers but also in their architectural techniques, size, decoration, and creative floor plans. This leads logically to an expectation that there would also be a vast number of extant images since each temple would have had at least one major cult image and no doubt several secondary images. Surely, there would have been also an abundance of small images for personal use in household shrines during a wealthy period of more than two hundred years. Alas, that is not the case. Other than images that have remained within the temples, there are relatively few images extant from the Pagan Period numbering in the hundreds rather than the thousands. This situation is explained in part by the fact that the major image(s) in most temples were made of brick and stucco and, over time, all of these images were gutted by vandals while seeking the contents of the small deposit boxes that were placed behind the neck and navel. If this explanation accounts for the brick and stucco images, why then are there so few images of stone or metal? Sandstone was primarily used for secondary images placed in temple niches for only a short period during the late11th & early 12th centuries and was then abandoned. Why there are so few metal images remains a mystery..."
Author/creator: Richard M. Cooler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Northern Illinois University
Format/size: html
Alternate URLs: http://www.seasite.niu.edu/burmese/Cooler/BurmaArt_TOC.htm (Table of Contents)
Date of entry/update: 10 July 2010


Title: Pagan and Early Burma
Date of publication: October 2001
Description/subject: "Pagan, today a small town of perhaps 2,000 inhabitants, was the capital of the first Burmese kingdom for about 250 years between the mid-eleventh and the end of the thirteenth centuries. During this period, more than 2,500 religious monuments, mostly Buddhist temples, stupas and monasteries, were constructed in and around the city. At the end of the thirteenth century, the city ceased to be a political center, having falled victim to demographic disruptions, economic exhaustion, and military pressure from the Mongols, though it kept its status as a sacred center and a place of learning until the end of the last Burmese kingdom..."
Author/creator: Tilman Frasch
Language: English
Source/publisher: Newsletter, Issue 25, International Institute for Asian Studies
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Temples and Rainfall in Ancient Pagan
Date of publication: 1997
Description/subject: This article examines unusual features of various religious buildings located at Pagan, such as below-ground monasteries and brick-lined water-catchment basins, to establish that low rainfall of less than 24 inches annually was a constant in the local climate throughout the Pagan period. Confirming this fact sheds light on the critical role the construction of religious structures played in linking the inadequately watered capital to outlying irrigated agricultural lands, thus ensuring the necessary provision of food to the city. As the population of Pagan grew, the need to increase food supplies from the outlying areas created an incentive for focusing the practice of the Merit Path to Salvation on the erection of still more religious buildings, thus creating the "forest of temples" seen at Pagan today.
Author/creator: Richard Cooler
Language: English
Source/publisher: Journal of Burma Studies Vol. 1 (1997)
Format/size: pdf (1.64MB)
Alternate URLs: http://www.niu.edu/burma/publications/jbs/vol1/index.shtml
Date of entry/update: 10 July 2010


Title: Buddhist Painting in Bagan
Date of publication: 1993
Description/subject: Buddhist art developed in Pagan. Scenes from the life of the Buddha were drawn on the walls of Kubyaukgyi, Abheyadana and other temples in Bagan. These Buddhist paintings are the beginning of Myanmar texts on the life of Buddha, such as "Marlarlingarya" and Zinattha Pakathani.....Subject Terms: 1. Painting-Myanmar-Bagan period... 2. Buddhist Art..... Key Words: Bagan
Author/creator: Zawgyi
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (Metadata: English and Burmese)
Source/publisher: "Collected Works of Saya Zawgyi", Vol.1, pp9-14, 1993, Union of Myanmar Literary and Journalist Organization via University of Washington
Format/size: pdf (234K-reduced version; 876K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/ZG0002.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 November 2014


Title: Mahayana Painting in Bagan period
Date of publication: 1993
Description/subject: Interior walls of Abheyadanar, Kubyaukgyi and Nandamanya pagodas were painted with scenes from the Buddha; they were influenced by Mahayana Buddhism. Paintings of Boddisatvas were mainly Mahayanist.....Subject Terms: Painting... Key Words: Mahayana Painting
Author/creator: Zawgyi
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (Metadata: English and Burmese)
Source/publisher: "Collected Works of Saya Zawgyi", Vol.1, pp15-18, 1993, Union of Myanmar Literary and Journalist Organization via University of Washington
Format/size: pdf (199K-reduced version; 742K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/ZG0003.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 November 2014


Title: Nature of Painting in Bagan
Date of publication: 1993
Description/subject: Painting in Bagan developed because the kings and wungyi valued and rewarded the painters. Buddhism developed in Bagan and Buddhist art stimulated the development of Bagan painting.....Subject Terms: Paintings-Myanmar-Bagan period..... Key Words: Art... Pagan
Author/creator: Zawgyi
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (Metadata: English and Burmese)
Source/publisher: "Collected Works of Saya Zawgyi", Vol.1, pp3-8, 1993, Union of Myanmar Literary and Journalist Organization via University of Washington
Format/size: pdf (258K-reduced version; 948K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/ZG0001.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 November 2014


Title: Bagan Restoration
Date of publication: December 1976
Description/subject: This paper was originally written in Myanmar and read at the Saturday Literary Circle meeting held at the Po Wa Ziya Hall of the Hanthawady Press, Mandalay on 20th Sep, 1975. It was later read in English to the special meeting of the Burma Research Society on 15th October, 1975. Normally Bagan monuments are Ceti style with a solid structure or Ku, which were places of worship where people could enter the building to offer homage. In addition, there was also a House of the Law and House of the Monks of the Order. Many Bagan inscriptions record the donors as well as those who repaired the monuments. Some repairs were were necessary but others destroyed the original edifice. The author suggests three points for restoration of Bagan monuments: (1) Use no heavy materials on the top of time weakened brick supports. (2) Match the body with the correct finial and (3) Permit no mis-fit of materials or appearances.....Subject Terms: 1. Restoration-Bagan... 2. Religious Buildings-Bagan Period, 1044-1287
Author/creator: Than Tun, Dr.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Journal of the Burma Research Society", Vol. 59, Part 1&2, December 1976, pp49-96, 1976-12, via University of Washington
Format/size: pdf (1.8MB-refuced version; 3.1MB-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/TT0001J.pdf
Date of entry/update: 30 November 2014


Title: Myazedi Inscription
Date of publication: 1974
Description/subject: Analyzes the Myazedi inscription created by Rajakumar, son of Kyansittha. The Myazedi inscription was written in four languages, Pali, Mon, Pyu and Myanmar. The author explains how and why the Myanmar languages were used on the inscription....Subject Terms: 1. Myazedi Inscription... 2. Myanmar - History - Bagan Period... 3. Inscriptions - Myanmar... 4. Myanmar - Inscriptions... 5. Rajakumar - Inscription..... Key Words: Myazedi... Myanmar inscriptions
Author/creator: Pe Maung Tin, U
Language: Burmese/ ျမန္မာဘာသာ (Metadata: English and Burmese)
Source/publisher: "Nawarat Ko-thwe", 2nd editon, pp18-27, Sabei Oo Sarpay via Univeristy of Washington
Format/size: pdf (188K-reduced version; 898K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/CU0002.pdf
Date of entry/update: 27 November 2014


Title: Religious Buildings of Burma, AD 1000-13000
Date of publication: 1959
Description/subject: This paper was read at the Annual Research Conference of the Burma Research Society on 24 December 1959. It describes religious architecture between AD 1000 and 1300: the construction plans of pagodas both solid and hollow, monastries of brick and wood, and others religious edifices including alms houses, rest-houses, libraries, and reservoirs which contributed to propogation of the Buddhist Sasana.....Subject Terms: 1. Religious buildings-Bagan... 2. Religious art and symbolism... 3. Religious education... 4. Pagodas... 5. Monasteries... Key Words: 1. Ku (Guha)... 2. Kalakapot... 3. Puthuiw (miniature pagoda)... 4. Kalaklon (brick monastery)... 5. Ceti (solid pagoda)... 6. Tipitaka (Buddhist scriptures)... 7. Jatakas
Author/creator: Than Tun, Dr.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "Journal of Burma Research Society", Vol. 42, Part 2, 1959 via University of Washington
Format/size: pdf (492K-reduced version; 834K-original)
Alternate URLs: http://www.lib.washington.edu/myanmar/pdfs/TT0013J.pdf
Date of entry/update: 28 November 2014