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) • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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 • 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)