1855 Burma Landscape  

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West Entrance to the Shwe-San-dau pagoda, Prome

Object - Photograph
Place of origin - Burma ( made )
Date - 1855
Artist/Maker - Tripe, Linnaeus (photographer)
Materials and Technique - Salted paper print from waxed paper (calotype) negative
Current Location - Victoria & Albert Museum
Museum number - 1485 -1909
Gallery Location - In Store

Physical description

This image shows the entrance to the pagoda (zedi/stupa). Just visible behind the tiered roof structure of of the entrance is the wide spire of the pagoda. Unlike Indian or Sri Lankan stupas, the Burmese zedi were constructed so that worshipers could enter the sacred space.

The entrance is surrouned by other built stuctures and trees and foliage.

Object history note

This photograph was one of a series from Burma Views which was presented to the V&A in July 1909 by Lady Ida Low, wife of Malcolm Low, Esq., of the Bengal Civil Service and daughter-in-law of General Sri John Low. As a member of the Council of India in 1857, Sir John Low received the Burma Views (1857) set on 15th April 1857.
See Registry files for papers on acceptance of gift.
See Dewan p.222 for listings of other copies of the same photograph elsewhere.

This photograph was published in the album Burma Views 1857, by Captain L. Tripe, official photographer to the Government of India's Mission to Ava [Burma]. Tripe made over 200 photographs during this trip, and the captions to the images are thought to be a collaboration between Tripe and the secretary to the Mission to Ava, Henry Yule.

Tripe’s Burma Views were distributed widely and were very well received. Tripe sent 50 copies to Calcutta. Fourteen sets from these were distributed by the Government of India, including seven sets to members of the Mission to Ava, former capital of Burma. Twenty sets were ordered by the East India Company’s Court of Directors, and most were given to members of the Court. It is not known what happened to the remaining sixteen sets. Due to Tripe’s ownership of the negatives, he printed a selection of his photographs for further distribution. A set of 92 views of Burma was given to the King of Prussia, and more sets were given to the Madras Photographic Society and associated figures. Two hundred and ninety additional prints were offered for sale at 2 Rupees per print at Griffiths and Co., Madras.

Historical context note

In April 1855 Lord Dalhousie, governor general of India, advised on a political trip to Amerapoora, Burma following the annexation of Pengu (part of Burma) by the British after the 1852 Anglo-Burmese war. Tripe was sent to accompany the party in 1855 as official photographer. The photographs he made during his stay resulted in his album of 122 images, Burma Views, published in 1857. These photographs result from this project, and have Tripe’s original numbering and titles on their mounts.

Descriptive line

Photograph, 19th century, No 3 from series 'Burma Views' by Linneaus Tripe, 'Prome. West Entrance to the Shwe San-dau Pagoda', salted paper print, Burma, 1855

Bibliographic References (Citation, Note/Abstract, NAL no)

Dewan, Janet. The Photographs of Linnaeus Tripe: A Catalogue Raisonné. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2003, p.222.

Labels and date

West Entrance to the Shwe-San-dau Pagoda (Shwesandaw)
Prome (Pyay), 1100–1200
By Linnaeus Tripe (1822–1902)

Shwesandaw, said to enshrine hair relics of the Buddha, is one of the holiest pilgrimage sites in Prome. Unlike Indian or Sri Lankan stupas, the Burmese zedi were constructed so that worshipers could enter the sacred space. This image shows the wide spire of the stupa or zedi just visible in the background, behind the tiered structure of the entrance.

Albumen print, 1855
Museum no. 1485-1909

Associated names - Tripe, Linnaeus

Attribution Note

Edition number unknown. This print was probably made to go into the album 'Burma Views', of which 50 full sets were produced. Additional prints were produced by Tripe for different sets of Burma images.

Subjects depicted -Buddhist

Categories - Photographs; Architecture; Buddhism

Production Type and Product Note - Limited edition

Collection code - IND

This entry was posted on Sep 20, 2009 at Sunday, September 20, 2009 and is filed under . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .


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