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By: Mark Anthony Cayetano

Yrral Jaime Perez

BURMESE ART AND ARCHITECTURE

Part 1

MYANMAR: BURMA OF THE PRESENT


DAY

MYANMAR: OVERVIEW

Official name: Republic of the Union of Myanmar


(previously Union of Myanmar; Union of Burma)

Burma was named after Barma which is actually an


cultural minority of the country.

Population: 48.7 million (UN, 2012)


Capital: Nay Pyi Taw
Largest city: Rangoon (Yangon)
Area: 676,552 sq km (261,218 sq miles)
Major languages: Burmese, indigenous ethnic
languages
Major religions: Buddhism, Christianity, Islam

Part 2

BURMA: BRIEF HISTORY

PREHISTORY: INTRODUCTION

Earliest evidences of settlement were found


on 11,000 BC in sites near the Irrawady River
Artifacts reveal their familiarity with
agriculture grew a bit later than other
civilizations.
Caves were used as temples.
Annual floods made the soil fertile.
No particular buildings were discovered
except for potholes

Map showing the


cities and
settlements around
the stretch of
Irriwady River

Taungthaman Stone Hoe

Taungthaman Stone Bracelet

PRE-PAGAN PERIOD - INDIANIZATION

First century BC to 8th century AD


The dawn of Burmas urbanization
First appearances of Cities and States
The era of the two major group of
people

The Mon People


The Pyu

PRE-PAGAN PERIOD: THE MON


PEOPLE

Malayo-Indonesian stock related to the


inhabitants of Thailand and Cambodia
The Mons settled in the lower region of
Burma near the coasts of Gulf of
Martaban and the Andaman Sea
Suvannabhumi (Land of Gold) was the
only one of the settlement area known.

PRE-PAGAN PERIOD: THE PYU

Tibeto-Burman stock, settled in upper


Burma
The Pyu people lived relatively near but
not directly near the coasts.
Three city states known:

Beikthano
Halin
Srikshetra

PAGAN PERIOD: INTRODUCTION

9th to 13th Century


Most important capitol city
King Anawrahta unified all of Burma.
Developed irrigation, strengthened
agricultural sector. Rice was not only the
staple food but also served as currency.
Buddhism was the main ideology but other
religions were merely subordinated
Art and architecture became more directed.

POST-PAGAN PERIOD: FALL OF THE


PAGAN

Chinese-Mongol invasion led by Kublai Khan


ended the reign of the Pagan culture.
Struggle for power between Shans, Mons, Thais,
Laotians, Chinese, and Khmers
Several capital cities managed to push through
Shan-Burmese city of Ava, and Pegu restored by
the Kind Daylinnaung,
Port of Rangoon by King Allaungpaya.
Mandalay by King Mindon
Became a province of the Indian Empire in (1886)

PAGAN PERIOD: ART FORMS

Buildings were accompanied by


different images and iconography
usually of a primary cult entities many
other secondary cult entities.

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Animism was the earliest religion

Religious beliefs and practices in small scale


society
Defined to be the belief of spirits exist in
everything around men.
Spirits of Ancestors
Spirits of the Locale (Nature and Natural
Phenomenon
Practices include flattery, offering, songs, and
rituals
Shamanship was passed through apprenticeship

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Burmese Animism developed into the


Cult of 37 Nats (Cult of the 37 Spirits)

Nats - Spirit
Leaders called Nat Ka Daw are considered
to be married to a spirit
Artifacts were made of organic objects
Earliest Nats were the sibling spirits Min
Mahagiri and Shwemyethna

Min Mahagiri

Shwemvetna

Nats found in a
Pagan Temple

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Buddhism arrived by the time of the Mons and the


Pyus.
Indian influence grew stronger as the cities started
to emerged.
Indianization
In the reign of Pagan, Theraveda Buddhism became
the main ideology. Hinduism and Animism were
subordinated.
Burmese architecture always come with religious
artifacts and relics. Religion has become the main
subject for art forms.

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Bhumisparsha mudra

A gesture in which the Buddha is most frequently


shown seated with legs folded; left hand in his lap,
palm upward; right hand on his shin, palm inward with
fingers pointing toward the earth
With his hand on his shin, Buddha summoned the Earth
Goddess (Vasundari/Wathundaye in Burmese) which
aided him to achieve Nirvana (escape from rebirth;
purification)

Padmasana

Gesture of sitting, crossing the legs with both soles of


the feet visible

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Bhumisparsha Mudra

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

A painting of Buddha
with the Earth
Goddess under the
lotus throne

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Goddess of Earth wringing a


tidal wave out from her hair

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

In Buddhism, it is believed that on the


peak of Mt. Meru, thirty-three gods of
Buddhism and Hinduism are nestled
within the Himvanta Forest. These
creatures were one of the subjects or
images present in buildings and
temples.

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Chinthe

These are leonine creatures described to


have burning mane and body. They are
known to be guardians of Buddhism.
Usually a pair is located by the doorway
guarding a temple

Manukthiha

Two-bodied-lion with a single head.

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

A sculpture of a Chinthe

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Manukthiha two
bodied lion with a single
head.

PAGAN PERIOD: ART FORMS

Kinnara (male) and Kinnari (female)

Human creatures with avian characteristics


They are described to be the love birds of the
Himvanta Forest

Hamsa

Bramani Duck
Creature with the normal anatomy
Symbolizes marital fidelity
Holds a branch on its beak symobilizing fertility
and prosperity

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Kinariri

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Bronze Hamsa
market weight

RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND

Nagas and Naginis

Great serpents
In other cultures such as India, Nagas are believed to
be serpent people. The male are known as Nagas
while the female are called Naginis. They resemble
humans from the waist up, and snakes from the waist
down. Sometimes they have multiple heads and vary
in colour. Also, at times Nagas are depicted as
limbless and having a cobra-like frill.
In Burma, Nagas are part serpent, part dragon and
part crocodile. They give rubies to those they favor
and protect many royal people.

Part 3

BURMA: ARCHITECTURAL
CHARACTER

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Generally, buildings are compromised


of kiln-fired bricks.
Clay was used as the mortar
Main building types were the Stupa and
the numerous temples
Pagan architecture used techniques of
vaulting, and pointed arches.

PAGAN PERIOD: ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Burmese pointed arches are


constructed with voussoirs shaped as
trapezium and were spread radially.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Stupas

Mostly a solid, completely enclosed structure


housing Buddha relics and relatively important
objects.
Compared to those of India and Sri Lanka,
Burmese stupas were larger in their proportion
and in some pyramidal bases.
The domes are more bell-like and in most cases
extended into a conical spire.
Other types of domes were also shaped as a
gourd.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Bu Burmese
grown gourd

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

The Ngakywenadaung Stupa

Buhpaya Stupa

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

A metal hti (umbrella) or tiered sunshade


was used to crown the top of the finial.
This ornament is usually associated with
the Burmese crown and is still practiced up
to the present time.
Deposit Boxes were brick-covered buildings
erected to house the ruins of a fallen
stupa.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Metal hti atop Shwedagon


Stupa

Burmese crown

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Deposit boxes housing stupa


ruins

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Temples

Categorized as one type which has a open


central sanctuary and, another type which
has a solid core and is encircled by a
corridor which serves as a continuous
sanctuary.
Square-based temples usually have doors
in all four sides and has images of the Four
Great Events in Buddhas lifeBirth,
Enlightenment, First Sermon, Death.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Myazedei A building an
exterior face like a stupa but its
interior is like a temple.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Myazedei circuambulatory corridor works


as an continuous sanctuary

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

A small stupa in a temple

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Burmese temple roofs were made out of


bricks and were either relatively flat or
slightly curvilinear during the 11th 12th
century
Later on, they have incorporated a stepterraces which on top carries a tower called
shikhara.
The face of the temples were decorated with
stucco carvings, often of demon masks or
Kirtthimukhas.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER

Demon masks (kirtthimukhas)


carved on the temple exterior
wall

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER: STUPAS

Lokanada Stupa

Stupa built in 1059 by the great ruler of


Burma, King Anawratha.
Situated by the east bank of a bay by
Irriwady and it is thought to have served
also a port.
Today, the structure displays a columnar
bell with vertical sides resting upon three
octagonal terraces, two of which are
connected by a short staircase

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER: STUPAS

Lokanada Stupa, distant


view

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
STUPAS

Shwesandaw Stupa

Another stupa built by King Anawratha


Built in the center of the square mandala plan of
the city of Pagan.
Features a bell-shaped dome with a concave profile.
It is also called Mahapeinne or the Ganesha Stupa.
It is named after , Ganeshaan elephant-headed
son of Shivabelieved to remove obstacles to
those who want to enter the stupa.
In its four corners, images of manoukthiha are
erected.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
STUPAS

Shwesandaw Stupa exterior


views

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
STUPAS

Shwezigon Stupa

The 102 feet tall stupa known to be the most


national of all Burmas pagoda.
It became a template of the subsequent stupas of
Burma and it has become a destination for pilgrims.
Sandstone was used to construct, most, if not all, of
this frequently repaired structure. King Anawrahta is
credited with constructing the lower three terraces
that comprise the square pyramidal base. A
staircase connects these terraces halfway along each
side, and there are small stupas at the terrace
corners.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
STUPAS

At the Southeast corner of the stupa is found an


imposing double-bodied lion, the only remaining
stone manoukthiha at Pagan.
Inset in the lower brick terraces are over 500
stone or terracotta, green glazed plaques that
illustrate in simple terms events from the
previous lives of the BuddhaJataka Stories
The stupa stands at center of a very large
walled compound in which there are a wide
variety of structures including several Nat
shrines, rest houses and small temples.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
STUPAS
Shwezigon Stupa
Exterior view

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
STUPAS

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

Nagayon Temple at Pagan

single storey structure consisting of an entrance


hall and a square, central shrine that are
connected by a circumambulatory corridor
which passes in front of and completely
surrounds the inner shrine
The roof slopes upwards to three broad terraces
that are surmounted by a convex shikhara
tower, crowned by a stupa. Smaller shikharas
and stupas stand on the terrace corners.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES
Nagayon
Temple
plan at
Pagan

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES
Nagayon
Temple at
Pagan
external
views

ARCHITECTURAL CHARAC

The temple or gu was dimly lit because


it was meant to resemble a mountain
cave where the religious might worship
and meditate a concept also found in
India.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

Nagayon Temple at Pagan is dimly lit.


Concept is to imitate the ambience
of a mountain cave.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

Ananda Temple

Although single-storey, Ananda Temple imposes an


illusion of being a two-storey structure because its
corridors are high enough to accommodate two
windows.
The cross-shaped plan centers on four shrines set
back-to-back around a solid core. Instead of the
single inner sanctum of his earlier Nagayon temple,
four tall niches have been cut into the central core.
Each niche is occupied by a colossal wooden image
of a Standing Buddha that measures over thirty feet
in height.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

Section showing the colossal images of


Buddha (right), Thirty-feet tall image of
Buddha in the North Shrine (left)

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES
Ananda
Temples
Shikhara
tower
with a
stupa
finial
and a
crowning
hti.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

Nagayon Temple at Ava

The Nagayon Temple, built within the city of


Amarapura, has the exterior form of a dragon or
naga.
This is the Naga Muchalinda who protected the
Buddha while he was meditating and is usually
depicted immediately behind and above an
image of the meditating Buddha. In this case, an
enormous Naga looms protectively above the
entire temple building that within shelters an
image of the Buddha.

ARCHITECTURAL CHARACTER:
TEMPLES

Nagayon Temple at Amapura


external view.