|1996||Tentative list||Submitted as tentative site by State Party|Clyde (Malta):
the highlight of these monasteries is Shwe Kyaung in Mandalay. Several antique wood carvings in good condition. Pakhangyi is the second best in my opinion. I think it is quite difficult for these monasteries to gain WHS status but you never know.
Date posted: March 2013 Paul Tanner (UK):
The Schwekyaung monastery included as part of this site is presumably also included in the Mandalay part of the “Ancient Cities” site since it is the only surviving building of Mandalay Palace (though is situated outside the original walls - see later!)? But never mind, it is a superb building and any visit to Mandalay must/will include it.
It was built by King Mindon during the 19th Century as a palace building and was originally sited at a previous Capital in nearby Amarapura. In 1857 he decided to move his capital (and many of its buildings!) to nearby Mandalay. Accordingly it was dismantled and rebuilt. There it became part of the Glass Palace and one of the royal apartments. King Mindon died there in 1878. His son King Thibaw subsequently used it for meditation but felt that his father’s spirit haunted the building and ordered it to be dismantled again and rebuilt outside the city. In so doing he gave to be a monastery as a "work of merit" for his father and it was rebuilt as such. As a result it is the only original building from the Mandalay palace, which was completely destroyed by Allied bombing of the Japanese supply dumps there in 1945.
The relative ease with which it could be dismantled and rebuilt arises from the design - of which it is one representative among 7 in this T List site. The Konbaung dynasty reigned from 1752 to 1885 when they finally succumbed to the British after losing 3 consecutive wars across 60 years. During this period Burmese teak architecture reached a peak in terms of its carving and these survive reasonably well in this example both internally and externally (though the latter are suffering and some had obviously been replaced), It stands on huge teak pillars carved with dragon figures which support a platform on which stands a multi-tiered structure encompassing several rooms but with a main “altar"/Buddha figure in the middle. It would have been gilded and the interior still contains gilded ceilings, statues and balustrades.
As is so often the case when viewing Buddhist art I found it worthwhile to have a good guide to explain the significance of the multitude of figures and motifs. But I guess they can just be enjoyed as works of art. The Tatmadaw military government of Myanmar has rebuilt the palace but it lacks the quality of this building which provides some feeling as to what the original must have been like. Unfortunately we were there on a very wet day. Shoes and socks have to be removed to climb up to and enter the building – beware of the slippery wood if your visit is on a wet day too!
Date posted: November 2012
Have you been to Wooden Monasteries of Konbaung Period : Ohn Don, Sala, Pakhangyi, Pakhannge, Legaing, Sagu, Shwe-Kyaung (Mandalay)? Share your experiences!