Association Of Myanmar Archaeologists

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The Shwe-zigon pagoda (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

The Shwe-zigon pagoda (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

The Shwe-zigon is one of the most important Buddhist pilgrimage site in Burma. According to the GPC the Shwe-zigon was built to house the sacred hair relic which Anawrahta took by force from Srikshetra. He destroyed the city and the pagoda housing the relic and returned with it to Bagan. The relic was placed on the back of a white elephant and at the site where the elephant knelt the Shwe-zigon was built. The GPC says:

“ When the relic-chamber was ready, the lord’s frontlet-relic adorned itself
with the greater and lesser signs and the six rays, and rose all-glorious
with grace transcendent, and shouldering the eight priestly requistites
ascended the sky and prophesied, saying, in the days of yore this king was
a Pulali elephant, and during the three months of rains once ministered to
me. Now also he has exalted my religion. In time to come he shall be lord
like me ! ”

“ At Shin Arahan’s behest, Anawrahta cast a golden image which was
enshrined in the relic chamber. ”

The Shwe-zigon pagoda was not completed during Anawrahta’s reign. The GPC refers to the enshringing of the relics and building of three terraces. The temple was completed during Kyanzittha’s reign. Why Anawrahta did not continue building works at this site is pussling, given it was the place of the prophecy that he would eventually be reborn a Buddha, surely the most important event to have occurred in his lifetime. It appears, however, that only the octagonal terraced bases were constructed before the building focus shifted to the Shwe-hsan-daw. Perhaps the scope of the construction was beyond the capabilities of the available builders.

Shwe-zi-gon_001 (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_002 (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

The Shwe-zigon is mentioned here as part of the chronology of monuments built by Anawrahta. There are, however, no figurative images within the Shwe-zigon compound that can be reliably attributed to Anawrahta’s reign.

 

Shwe-zi-gon_003 (Jataka Plaque, Sabbasamharaka Jataka) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

 

Shwe-zi-gon_004 (Jataka Plaque, Guttila Jataka) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

The Shwe-zigon is one of the principal Buddhist pilgrimage sites in Burma. The foundations and lower terraces were laid under Anawraha’s patronage to house the tooth and frontlet relices. The attribution of the Shwe-zigon is heavily dependent on two pillars installed within the compound which are inscribed on all four sides with Mon script and tell of Kyanzittha’s move to his new palace, and recount other events of his reign. Luce notes that Kyanzittha’s original name for the stupa was prefixed with the word, nirvana, “implying (I imagine) that he was no longer in the Mahayanist fold (which regarded Nirvana as a sort of opium for the masses), but a Theravardin with Nirvana as his declared goal. If this is right, the Shwezigon marks the final break with Mahayanisam, and stands as the first great monument of the Reformed Church in Burma.”

 

Shwe-zi-gon_005 (Kassapa & Kakusanda Buddha) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_006 (Konagamanda & Gotama Buddha) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Sincee the Shwe-zigon is a stupa, there are no central shrine images. There is still an abundance of imagery, however, within the Shwe-zigon compound, some of which is attributable to Kyanzittha’s reign. These images are housed in shrines which

Shwe-zi-gon_001 (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_002 (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_003 (Jataka Plaque, Sabbasamharaka Jataka) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_004 (Jataka Plaque, Guttila Jataka) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_005 (Kassapa & Kakusanda Buddha) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

Shwe-zi-gon_006 (Konagamanda & Gotama Buddha) (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

 

 

 

 

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6 responses to “The Shwe-zigon pagoda (Early Kyanzittha Period) (1084-1088)

  1. maylay June 7, 2010 at 12:37 pm

    i like this site.because it give to many knowledge

  2. Dr. Waldemar C. Sailer September 4, 2012 at 5:42 am

    Sir, I will read this with care. You have a MANDALA in your picture. More later.

    See: The World of Buddha Footprints.

    Sailer

    • Waldemar Sailer September 14, 2012 at 5:41 am

      Also, the images you show, four of of them, there is ONE Buddha in the Patna Museum that is the same.

      On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM, Association Of Myanmar Archaeologists wrote:

      > ** > Dr. Waldemar C. Sailer commented: “Sir, I will read this with care. You > have a MANDALA in your picture. More later. See: The World of Buddha > Footprints. Sailer”

    • Waldemar Sailer September 14, 2012 at 5:42 am

      The four pictures you give, are Pala. There is a Buddha image in the Patna Museum, Bihar, India, and it is the same.

    • Waldemar Sailer September 15, 2012 at 12:22 am

      I hope we meet some day. Life is never sure. Your country is changing, but change is always present.

      On Fri, Sep 14, 2012 at 12:41 PM, Waldemar Sailer wrote:

      > Also, the images you show, four of of them, there is ONE Buddha in the > Patna Museum that is the same. > > > > On Fri, Sep 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM, Association Of Myanmar Archaeologists comment-reply@wordpress.com> wrote: > >> ** >> Dr. Waldemar C. Sailer commented: “Sir, I will read this with care. >> You have a MANDALA in your picture. More later. See: The World of Buddha >> Footprints. Sailer”

  3. Pingback: Shwezigon pagoda | Shakashakere

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