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February 27, 2018

Save mural paintings—our heritage

Mural paintings at Htigyi Pagoda in Minbu.
Mural paintings at Htigyi Pagoda in Minbu.

MURAL paintings created on the walls of caves and pagodas can be found in many parts of Myanmar. However, such kind of heritage in the country’s sub-urban areas have been abandoned and left without preservation for many decades.
Of these is from the cave of the Htigyi Pagoda in Minbu. The mural paintings on the wall of the cave have been left to ruin. Rain seeks through the cracks of the concrete walls in the rainy season, damaging the works.
Some parts of the upper layer of the concrete walls on which the mural paintings were created have been collapsing gradually for many decades.
The wall paintings have also been damaged by the rubbing of cattle from nearby villages on the paintings.
“The wall paintings on this pagoda are in urgent need of preservation. If not, all of these works will degenerate beyond preservation in the future,” said U Kyaw Sein Win, 60, a local art master.
The veteran artist has estimated that the paintings were created in the 18 century. The subjects of the paintings are related to the life of the Buddha and His Teachings.
During the period of the Nyaungyan, Innwa (Ava) and Konbong dynasties from the 14th to 18th centuries, which came after Bagan era, paintings were also created on walls of caves of stupas and pagodas though in a different, distinct style.
The lines used in the paintings have become thicker than those in the Bagan era and the composition of the paintings is not as good. However, the life of ordinary people are found for the first time in the paintings of those eras.
Myanmar traditional painting developed with the arrival of Buddhism to Bagan Kingdom because most of the paintings date back to the period of Bagan, which began in the 11th century AD.


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