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2 - Analysis of Construction Technologies in Pyu Cities and Bagan

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 February 2018

Kyaw Lat
Affiliation:
architect and town planner
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Summary

A remarkable fact about Bagan is that presently over three thousand monuments are found concentrated in an area of forty-two square kilometres (sixteen square miles). An Inwa dynasty king, Moe-Nyin- Thado, recorded 4,474 structures there in the 15th century. There are presently 3,122 monuments and mounds in the list of the archaeological department. If there were over 4,400 monuments in the 15th century, it is possible that approximately a thousand monuments are no longer standing, either in scattered ruins, rebuilt into new structures not listed in the inventory, or possibly eroded away by the Ayeyarwady River over the past five centuries.

This chapter examines the construction techniques utilized at the Pyu sites such as Sriksetra and Bagan and compares these construction techniques with selected historical sites in Southeast Asia from the period between the beginning of the first millennium ce and the 14th century. This period starts with incipient urbanization and concludes with the end of Bagan in Myanmar history.

Overview of Ancient Civilizations in East Asia

The earliest complex societies in Asia were found in the Indus Valley and the Yellow River and Yangtze River valleys. These societies developed parallel to the civilizations of ancient Egypt, Mesopotamia and Crete.

The Yellow River and Yangtze River valleys were two core regions from where the Shang dynasty drew influences. Traditional records mention a series of legendary pre-Shang rulers, such as the Yellow Lord (Huang Di), who invented the key features of civilization like agriculture, the family, boats, carts, bows and arrows, and the calendar. It is believed that these rulers existed before the 22nd century bce. They were superseded by the Shang dynasty (1570–1045 bce), which coincided with the beginning of written and archaeological records. Chinese accounts of the Shang rulers match inscriptions on animal bones and tortoise shells that date from the 20th century bce at the city of Anyang in the valley of the Huang He (Yellow River) (Lawler 2009; Long and Taylor 2015).

Type
Chapter
Information
Bagan and the World
Early Myanmar and Its Global Connections
, pp. 15 - 44
Publisher: ISEAS–Yusof Ishak Institute
Print publication year: 2017

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