Happy Burmese Saleslady— Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Happy

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Happy and in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Smile.

This happy young woman is minding her stall in a market in Kyaikto, Myanmar (formerly called Burma). On her face she has applied thanakha, a paste made from the ground bark of the thanakha tree, which cools her skin as it blocks the sun.

This photo was taken on February 7, 2017. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 400, f/4.5, 1/80 sec, 15.4 mm

Looking across the Ananda Phaya

This is our entry in Lost in Translation’s THURSDAY’S SPECIAL: WINDOWS.

This Burmese monk is framed by many windows as we look across the Ananda Phaya (pagoda, or temple) in Bagan, Myanmar. The temple was designed as a perfectly proportioned Greek cross, with two parallel walkways around a square central room. The photo was taken from the outermost walkway, across the innermost walkway and intervening walls, to capture the image of the monk in the inner room. This Buddhist temple was built in 1105 AD, damaged by the 1975 earthquake, and now completely restored.

Incidentally, the niche in front of the monk contains a mirror that is reflecting silhouettes of us photographers and the grated window to the outside behind us.

This photo was taken on February 9, 2017. Specs are: Olympus TG-4, ISO 800, f/2.2, 1/30 sec, 5.14 mm

Shwedagon Buddha

This is our entry in Lost in Translation’s BLACK & WHITE SUNDAY: HEADSHOT.

The Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon is the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar (Burma). This Buddha statue is one of hundreds there, each as beautiful as the other.

 

This photo was taken on February 5, 2017. The original main colors of the statue are ivory (skin), gold (robe), and red (lips). The photo was converted to black and white in Lightroom. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/3.2, 1/3 second, 9mm

 

An Active Astrological Heritage at Schwedagon Pagoda

This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Heritage.

In February 2017, we visited the Schwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar. Shwedagon Pagoda contains relics of the four most recent Buddhas, which makes this pagoda the most sacred Buddhist pagoda in Myanmar. Around the base of the pagoda are eight planetary posts at the eight compass directions, one for each day of the week. (Wednesday is divided into two days.)  At each planetary post are a large basin of water and three statues: a white marble Buddha, a guardian behind the Buddha, and an animal  in front associated with that post’s day of the week. The picture shows Tuesday’s post, with its lion statue in front. A visitor wishing to perform the ritual first finds the post matching his or her birth day (of the week) and begins with a prayer, followed by pouring three cups of water each over the Buddha, guardian, and animal, in turn.

This photo was taken on February 7, 2017. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/4.2, 1/80 sec, 13.5 mm

Maha Gandha Bell – Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Autumn – Metal

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Autumn – Metal.

The Maha Gandha (“Great Sound”) Bell was donated to the Shwedagon Pagoda in Yangon, Myanmar by King Singu Min on January 17, 1779.  At 7 feet tall and 6.6 feet in diameter at the mouth, this cast bronze bell weighs at least 23 tons.

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Maha Gandha Bell

The twelve lines of inscription on the bell describe King Singu.

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Maha Gandha Bell Inscription

During the First Burma War (First Anglo-Burmese War), in 1825, the British attempted to remove the Singu Bell as war booty, but lost it in the Irrawaddy when the boat carrying it sank. This is a photo of a painting on a wall near the bell, showing a dock collapsing under the weight of the bell. The painting is dated 1987 (original painting) and 2014 (restored).

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Maha Gandha Bell Sinking

Although British engineers could not raise the bell after several attempts, the Burmese used bamboo to raise it to the surface, then tow and drag it back to its original place in Shwedagon Pagoda. This is a photo of a painting on the same  wall, showing Burmese workers as they pull the bell ashore. This painting is also dated 1987 (original painting) and 2014 (restored).

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Maha Gandha Bell Retrieved

 

However, the bell was damaged during its removal and return, and its “great sound” is now silent.

(There are several versions of this story, with slightly different details. We have chosen the version told above.)

 

 

 

Shwemawdaw Pagoda – Broken

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s  Tuesday Photo Challenge – Broken.
The Shwemawdaw Pagoda, also called the Golden Rod Temple, is a stupa in Bago, Myanmar. Earthquake-prone Myanmar has lost many of its ancient pagodas and temples to these natural disasters. Although sturdily constructed, the tall stupas are not earthquake-proof.  The Shwemawdaw Pagoda is no exception.  According to the Journal of Earthquake and Tsunami, the Shwemawdaw Pagoda has fallen or been damaged in recorded history in 868, 875, 1757, 1913, and 1917. After a major earthquake in 1930, which almost completely destroyed this stupa, it was rebuilt and enlarged in 1954. The top of the pagoda, that was broken off in the 1917 earthquake, is preserved in its final resting place in the rebuilt stupa.
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Shwemawdaw Pagoda
Here is a photo of the rebuilt Shwemawdaw Pagoda, with the broken top lying where it fell.  At 114 meters (370.5 feet), it is the tallest pagoda in Myanmar.
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Shwemawdaw Pagoda
Here is a close-up of the broken top, showing the internal brick construction.
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Broken Top of Shwemawdaw Pagoda
Specs for these pictures:
1st picture: Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/8, 1/320 sec, 4.5 mm
2nd picture: Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/11, 1/400 sec, 18 mm
3rd picture: Olympus TG-4, ISO 100, f/6.3, 1/400 sec, 18 mm