Jun 17, 2013

Festive Burmese in their best clothes stroll around the Great Golden Spire of the Shwedagon Pagoda during Thadingyut

Festive Burmese in their best clothes stroll around the Great Golden Spire of the Shwedagon Pagoda during Thadingyut

1951

Henri Cartier-Bresson

(French, 1908–2004)

Gelatin silver print

Image: 16.1 x 24.1 cm (6 5/16 x 9 1/2 in.); Paper: 16.1 x 24.1 cm (6 5/16 x 9 1/2 in.)

Gift of George Stephanopoulos 2012.317

Description

Buddhist manuscripts and images are kept in monasteries that are also sites of monuments called stupas or pagodas, which contain sacred relics. Many Buddhists visit the monasteries on festival days, such as Thadingyut, shown here. Thadingyut commemorates the return of the Buddha back to earth after spending a season in heaven giving teachings to his mother, who died seven days after he was born.

The colossal Shwedagon Pagoda in Myanmar’s capital of Yangon (Rangoon) was first constructed in the 6th century. Its current expanded form, covered with gold plates, was completed in 1775 by King Hsinbyushin (Burmese, reigned 1763–76). Dwarfing the visitors, its spire soars to nearly 350 feet. Only the moldings of the base terraces and clusters of smaller stupas are visible in the background.

See also
Department: 
Photography
Type of artwork: 
Photograph

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