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Home > Main Library > Society and Culture > Religion > Buddhism > Burmese pagodas and other religious buildings

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Burmese pagodas and other religious buildings
See also the Architecture and Archaeology sections

Individual Documents

Title: A Religious Study on the Construction of Oo-­‐Pwar Pagoda and Its Sculptures
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "This paper is written with the purpose of knowing why Buddhist people worship pagoda and Buddhism is not symbolism. Myanmar culture is an integral part of Buddhism. While there is an abundance of artistic material throughout Myanmar, many people do not know that these artistic pagodas and their sculptures are related with the meaningful background. Therefore, this paper is presented based on Oo-­‐Pwar pagoda in Mandalay. Initially, it is presented which one is worthy to be a pagoda and how many kinds of pagoda are there. And then, the history of Oo-­‐Pwar pagoda and the standard of Myanmar art and architecture of that period are presented. And the construction of pagoda and its sculptures are also expressed. In which, each part of pagoda related with the teaching of Buddha is discussed. This topic is divided into three main parts, namely: meaning of pagoda, the construction of Oo-­‐Pwar pagoda and sculptures in the surrounding of the pagoda. This paper shows the background history, religious and traditional customs of the sculptures. And the fact can be seen that although Myanmar people are Theravāda Buddhists, they also do some of the practice of Mahāyana Buddhism and Hinduism as their own tradition. By doing this research, in the compound of pagoda, the tradition of ancient Myanmar are found evidently. The pagodas can be assumed as the religious things and the invaluable cultural heritages. Therefore, conservation of pagoda is beneficial to develop Buddhist religion and to conserve Myanmar cultural heritage.".....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: Hnin Moe Hlaing
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 (811K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 26 August 2015


Title: A Study of the Buddha Image Made of Bamboo-strips at the Myathabeik Foothill in Thaton, Mon State
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Abstract: "After the lord Buddha Parinibbāna (pass away), the Buddhists have worshipped with devotion (1) Sarīrika Cetiya (Relics) (2) Dhamma Cetiya (Teachings) (3) Uddissa Cetiya (Images) (4) Paribhoga Cetiya (Bodhi tree and utensils) (5) Pāda Cetiya (foot-­‐prints of the Buddha) in memory of the Lord Buddha. Among these five different kinds of Cetiyas where there are images of the Lord Buddha on it, are called as Uddissa Cetiya. In traditions, the Lord Buddha Images are made of gold, silver, copper, iron, stone, wood and bamboo-­strips. Just as there are many differences with the materials used in carving sacred images there are also differences in shape, size and style. One image different from another in gesture (mudrā), sitting posture (āsana) and sacred throne (pallaṅka). A wonderful Hneephayargyi made of bamboo-­strips exists at the Myathabeit foothill in Thaton, Mon state. A group of six young craftsmen who made the image was led by Sayar Myint Naing Oo. Unlike other images, there are interesting and wonderful features in the creating of this particular Hneephayargyi. Therefore, this monograph on the brief history of statues and images and the creating of Hneephayargyi are compiled and presented so that Buddhists may not only revere and strengthen their faith, but it may also, be of partial help to those who want to find out and study Buddhists arts. Key words: the impressive capability of the Myanmar’s handicraft."......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: Myint Myint Than
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 (233K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 26 August 2015


Title: “The Encased Buddhist Monuments and Buddha Statues found in Myanmar”
Date of publication: 26 July 2015
Description/subject: Introduction: "Myanmar is the richest Buddhist monuments with the Buddha Statues in the world. There are a large number of Buddhist monuments inventoried by the Department of Archaeology and National Museum in Myanmar. All these monuments for the restoration and conservation works have been undertaken by the Department of Archaeology and National Museum, the Pagoda Trustees, and the Associations of Local Heritage Trust. A number of Buddhist Monuments have been conserved and preserved while a few of them need to be conserved and preserved in Myanmar. Among the Buddhist monuments found in Myanmar, some of them are the encased Buddhist monuments. Most encased Buddhist monuments were recovered at Bagan, located in the central part of Myanmar. Bagan is the richest Buddhist monuments and the richest archaeological sites in Myanmar. There are over three thousand Buddhist monuments still standing at Bagan.1 Among those monuments, there are around sixty encased Buddhist monuments at Bagan2. Some of them were found at Tamote Region and the Ancient City of Myin Saing in Kyaukse District, Aebya Region in Sint Kaing Township, Tagaung Region in Thabeik Kyin Township, Shwe Intein Pagoda to the west of Inle Lake, Ahlotaw Pauk Pagoda in the Inle Lake, Mwedaw Kakku Region in Shan State, Pakhangyi and Ma Oo Region in Yesagyo Township, Anaint Region in Monywa District, the Ancient City of Mrauk Oo in Rakhine State, and Yangon in Myanmar. Sometimes not only the encased Buddhist monument s have been found in Myanmar but also the encased Buddha Statues that were recovered at Ba gan and in the vicinity of Tamote Region. Most of them were the double encased monuments but a few of them were the third encased monuments recovered in the various p arts of Myanmar. Basically the encased Buddhist monuments may be classified into four types. They are the encased Buddhist Stupas, the encased Buddhist Temples, the Moathtaw Zedis (Stupas) with a circumambulatory corridor, and two or three small Stupas encased by a bigger Stupa on the same plinth 3. According to the architectural typologies of the encased monuments found in Myanmar, some of the inner Stupas were built in Pyu period 4 (1st to 9thCentury AD) while the outer Stupas were built in Bagan period and post Bagan periods such as Pinya, Inwa, Nyaung Yan, and Konbaung period. In Myanmar, the earliest encased Buddhist monuments were found in Pyu period while some of the encased Buddhist monumen ts in Myanmar have been found till to 17th and 18th centuries AD. In Myanmar, most encased Buddhist monuments can not be found easily. When the outer stupas were collapsed by the natural disasters such as earthquake, rain water, flood, wind, and vandalism, the inner stupas can be seen from the outside. Norm ally we can not say exactly that is an encased monument or not. Traditionally it was noted that it was an encased stupa and it was an encased temple for some encased monuments in Myanmar but some monuments had the strong inscriptional evidences although the inner stupa can not be viewed from the outside.".....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: Ko Myo
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 (811K)
Alternate URLs: http://rcsd.soc.cmu.ac.th/web/Burma/home.php#
Date of entry/update: 26 August 2015


Title: A TIGRESS ON THE SHWEDAGON: A RESEARCH NOTE
Date of publication: December 2008
Description/subject: "...Donald Stadtner brought the following piece of history regarding the Shwedagon to our attention and sent a photograph of glasswork that recorded the event, together with the text below from Walter del Mar, The Romantic East: Burma, Assam, & Kashmir (London: Adam and Charles Black, 1906, 27-28). We reproduce it further below along with a detail of the glass painting, from a private collection in Yangon. The scene depicts the incident quite literally , with the soldier climbing "to the roof of one of the smaller shrines....." Although del Mar refers to the animal as a tiger, it was in actuality a tigress and the events discussed below occurred on 3 March 1903, the tigress having moved to the vicinity of the Shwedagon from Gyophu Lake..."
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research 6, 2008
Format/size: pdf (292K)
Date of entry/update: 03 October 2010


Title: U Khan Dee: The Hermit on the Hill
Date of publication: June 2002
Description/subject: "More than fifty years after his death, U Khan Dee, the hermit of Mandalay Hill, is still remembered as one of the most remarkable figures of Burma's late colonial period. During the latter half Burma's colonial rule, pious visitors to Mandalay Hill would recount their tales of the venerable hermit monk who possessed remarkable powers. Some spoke of his great height, others claimed he was invisible, still others said he could turn silver into gold. And although people all over Burma today still speak reverently of U Khan Dee, his life was marked by controversy. Also known as Yathee Gyi U Khan Dee (the Great Hermit U Khan Dee), his legendary status was achieved only through a long uphill struggle. In 1908, U Khan Dee first arrived at Mandalay Hill from Yamethin Township, Mandalay, after leaving the Buddhist monkhood where he spent 12 years. He was driven by the strong desire to reconstruct religious buildings and restore Buddhist statues that were severely damaged by the series of fires that ravaged the city around the turn of the century..."
Author/creator: Aung Zaw, Shawn L Nance
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy" Vol. 10, No.5
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 May 2008


Title: Text and New Contexts: Shwedagon and Kyaikhtiyoe today
Date of publication: December 2001
Description/subject: "Texts and Contexts", December 2001 Conference, Universities' Historical Research Centre, Yangon University... Abstract: The paper discusses the use of texts in current renovation of pagodas in Myanmar, taking as examples aspects of work undertaken at the Shwedagon and Kyaikhtiyoe in the last two years. Different types of texts, from inscriptions and traditional accounts to contemporary technical reports, are used to illustrate the complex tradition found in the country today. These are presented in the context of past interaction including Mon influence and the Hsandawshin (Sacred Hair) heritage, as well as present links such as planetary aspects and the role of renovation in encouraging the sustenance of Theravada practice.
Author/creator: Elizabeth Moore,
Language: English
Source/publisher: Myanmar Historical Research Journal, University of Yangon [forthcoming]
Format/size: pdf (747K)
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


Title: Shwedagon Through the Ages
Date of publication: May 1999
Description/subject: History has not always been kind to Shwedagon, Burma's most sacred pagoda, but after two and a half millennia, it still stands as a timeless monument to the spiritual aspirations of Burmese Buddhists.
Language: English
Source/publisher: "The Irrawaddy", Vol. 7. No. 4
Format/size: html
Date of entry/update: 03 June 2003


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: Note [on the Senbyú Pagoda at Mengún]
Date of publication: 1885
Description/subject: The article is undated, but since it refers to the memoranda of Yule (1879) and Sladen (1868) it is likely to have been written in the 1880s. I have arbitrarily dated it 1885 for the sake of the order among the documents in this section.
Author/creator: J. FERGUSSON.
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2004
Format/size: pdf (96 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.soas.ac.uk/sbbr/editions/soas-bulletin-of-burma-research-volume-2-issue-1.html
Date of entry/update: 23 December 2010


Title: Remarks on the Subject [of the Senbyú Pagoda at Mengún]
Date of publication: 17 April 1879
Description/subject: "In a paper describing what I had seen of architectural remains of Hindu character in Java, which was read before the Asiatic Society of Bengal, in October, 1861, there occurred the following passage in reference to that magnificent monument of Buddhism, the Boro Bodor:— “Mr. Fergusson, who gives a good account of the Boro Bodor in his Handbook of Architecture, considers it to be a kind of representation of the great Buddhist monasteries, which are described in the Ceylonese writings as having been many stories high, and as containing hundreds of cells for monks....."
Author/creator: Col. Henry Yule, C.B
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2004,
Format/size: pdf (278 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.soas.ac.uk/sbbr/editions/soas-bulletin-of-burma-research-volume-2-issue-1.html
Date of entry/update: 23 December 2010


Title: Some Remarks upon COL. YULE'S Notes on the Senbyú Pagoda
Date of publication: 23 June 1869
Description/subject: "With reference to the interesting account of the Senbyú Pagoda at Mengun, read at the last meeting of the Royal Asiatic Society, and more particularly with reference to the remarks by Col. Yule on the Buddhas of the Boro Bodor, I would, with the greatest deference to the writer, beg to offer some suggestions derived from personal observation of the manner in which many groups of figures of Buddha (Sákya Muni) are sculptured in Bengal and the North-West Provinces of India..."
Author/creator: C. HORNE, F.R.A.S.
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2004
Format/size: pdf (17 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.soas.ac.uk/sbbr/editions/soas-bulletin-of-burma-research-volume-2-issue-1.html
Date of entry/update: 23 December 2010


Title: Some Account of the Senbyú Pagoda at Mengún, near the Burmese Capital, in a Memorandum
Date of publication: 06 January 1868
Description/subject: "...1. The Pagoda was built in the reign of king Bodo Piyah,1 in the Burmese year 1178 (A.D. 1816), by his grandson, Noungdau Gyee, now known as Bagyeedau Piyah,2 which specifies his relationship as paternal uncle to the present reigning king. 2. It is situated at Mengoon, on the west bank of the Irrawaddy, a couple of hundred yards only from the huge brick ruin which is known as the Mengoon pagoda..."
Author/creator: CAPT. E. H. SLADEN, Political Agent at Mandalé
Language: English
Source/publisher: SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research, Vol. 2, No. 1, Spring 2004
Format/size: pdf (260 K)
Alternate URLs: http://www.soas.ac.uk/sbbr/editions/soas-bulletin-of-burma-research-volume-2-issue-1.html
Date of entry/update: 23 December 2010