sculpture / architecture
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Wood carving representing a canopy under which is seated a projecting figure with his head turned and in his hand a fan.
- Made in: Burma
- Found/Acquired: Finghoo Monastery
- (Asia,Burma,Finghoo Monastery)
- Height: 2.1 feet
- Height: 74 centimetres (approximately)
See AOA Christy Correspondence (File C - actually currently in oddment file) undated, unsigned note (possibly from donor) stating: 'Two Pieces of Carved Wood Work taken from a Phongee House "Burmese Monastery" at Finghoo. They are very rough but curious and the specimens are rare and good.' Copied from letter accompanying the above.Finghoo monastery cannot be identified. In addition, there is no 'f' sound in Burmese. It might be a poor rendition of Pingu. Pingu is associated with the site of Pindaya (caves containing numerous Buddha images) in the Shan States. Legend has it that the name Pindaya comes from 'pingu' meaning spider and 'ya' meaning to get. The story goes that princesses got caught in a cave by a giant spider and were rescued by a prince who killed it. Finghoo monastery (or Pingu monastery) might have been in this region of the Shan States. However, monasteries can change names or are disbanded, so it is now difficult to identify Finghoo.
It has also been suggested that this is Phe' Khon monastery at Inle Lake.
Panels such as these are found on monastic and royal buildings. Burmese wood-carving was produced in very high relief, almost in the round, as can be seen on the seated figure here. The crown on the figure suggests that it is a protective deity. The stylised floral motifs are typical for Burmese architectural embellishments. The layered roofs above the figure are a common architectural form extant in Burma from the 11th century, and they indicate rank. The more layers there are, the higher the status of the person sitting beneath them.
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Object reference number: RRI529
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