The pagoda is as much a part of the Burmese landscape as the rice paddy. In every village and along the river banks, wherever elevated ground near a settlement provides the opportunity for visible praise, the traveler will see pagodas, ranging from huge structures like the Shwedagon of Rangoon and the Shwemawdaw of Pegu, whose gilded htis, shining in the sunlight, can be seen from miles away, to little whitewashed shrines a few feet high which a peasant built himself near his home."
Saving Old RangoonWith the easing of sanctions and censorship laws, Myanmar, long isolated by decades of military rule, is on the verge of rapid economic change and a new openness to outside influences. But what will become of its architectural treasures?
BAGAN, Myanmar–Japanese specialists who helped restore murals in ancient Japanese tombs are working with Myanmar to preserve centuries-old Buddhist images at the sprawling Bagan temple complex here.
The site ranks alongside the grandeurs of Angkor Wat in Cambodia and Borobudur in Indonesia.
Of the many thousands of Buddhist temples, pagodas and monasteries constructed between the 11th and 13th centuries, more than 3,000 survive in Bagan.
Richly colored murals have deteriorated in many places due to rain seeping into cracks in walls caused by earthquakes and weathering. This has damaged the plaster on which the works were painted.
Myanmar is working with the Japanese government-affiliated National Research Institute for Cultural Properties, Tokyo (Tobunken) in carrying out repair and preservation work.
The institute repaired murals in the Takamatsuzuka and Kitora tombs, both located in Asuka, Nara Prefecture, and constructed from the late seventh century to early eighth century.
During the reign of King Mindon (1853-1878), Burmese artists were officially appointed at the royal court. One of the duties of the royal painters was to record important events at the court and scenes from royal life in folding books (parabaik).