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     AT PAGAN there are over two thousand extant Buddhist monuments scattered across the arid and dusty plain. Built mainly of a red-baked brick, they glow like rich jewels, elevating believer and non-believer alike.'
     Though Pagan's origins are in the mid-9th century, the large scale construction of temples did not begin until, the mid-11th century under the first historical ruler Anawrahta (1044-77).z In this unlikely place, with the lowest rainfall in all Burma, the first Burmese Buddhist civilisation, on an imperial scale, grew up. Nurtured with the teachings and philosophy. of the Buddhist faith that at this time underwent a-royally promoted purification, the early Burman rose above tribalism and formed a nation, the first `Union of Burma', composed of ethnic groups such as the Mon, the survivors of the Pyu, the Arakanese and others.' Each race lent something of its own cultural life, indigenous or alien, to the young Burmese. Pagan must have been a cosmopolitan place: here, the North Indian of Bengal met with southern Tamils and Singhalese, the Chinese diplomat with the Cambodian merchant, the Mon monk with the Hindu brahman and the Arakanese consort with the Indian concubine.
     Pagan: Arimaddanapura, `the City of the Enemy Crusher', or Tambadipa `the Land of Copper', are some of the original names of old Pagan used in the lithic inscriptions.' Pagan itself, as a name, is first written in an inscription erected before 1050 on the Panrang River in Annam, it talks of the city of Pukam, and in Burmese 'Pukam' is not actually written until 1196, in a stone inscription.
     .Suggestions that once the plain of Pagan was afforested and that the trees were cut during this period to fire the kilns that baked the brick, thus causing a climatic change, would seem to be ruled out, for other early inscriptions refer to the city as the Tattadessa or `parched land'. In other brick-based cultures, for example Mohenjo Daro in the Indus Valley, deforestation may have been responsible for some climatic change, and it is likely that the original Pagan was once a greener place.' Tree planting in Pagan times was a meritorious activity and many a lithic inscription mentions the planting of shady fruit-bearing trees about a dedication, from which the clergy might gain shelter in addition to sustenance. No kilns for brick baking, have been found, though a little to the south of Myinkaba village there are artificial depressions, most likely caused by the digging, of clay. However, a number of the bricks used during the Pagan dynastic periods were marked with the name of the place of their production-riverside locations, as far south as Minbu and as far north as Monywa on the Chindwin;
     places of more abundant firewood, and conveniently close to the water for transportation!'
     The original site of the city was on the inside of bend in the Irrawaddy's course. The city walls meet the river on the up and downstream side of the bend thus the broad river formed two sides of the capital" defences and water from the river filled the moat. These walls are still traceable. The river's erosion ha depleted the part of the city that was close to the river" banks, washing away many temples and their treasures. ures. Starting close to the present Irra Inn, the walls curve inland to the Tharba Gateway, through which the Pagan main road now runs, along to the massive That-byin-nyu, and round it on its outer side, to continue back to the river, meeting it close by to the old Circuit House.` The moat is now dry, yet its course may still be followed along the outer side of the tumbled walls. Within the walls stood the palace for which there is the date 1101/2, in the reign o> Kyanzittha (1084-1113), as documented in an elucii dating inscription found near the Tharba gate." The inscription also describes in some detail the Brahmanic manic rituals used in the ceremonial construction o> the palace. The walls are older; Duroiselle, the firs; archaeologist to seriously work in Burma, dated them to c.850, as did the chronicles."
     There would have been other palaces before Kyanzittha's, possibly at the village of Thiriyapyitsaya, south of Pagan, on the road to Chauk, as is told by many of the local Pagan people to this day.'' Nothing survives. Built of wood, such structures perish quickly in so harsh a climate. Indeed Pagan was a city oiwood. The empty spaces between the surviving pagodas were once filled with richly carved wooden architecture: elaborate wooden monasteries, rest) houses, and, of course, the homes of the people why once populated the city. The few fragments of woodcarving that survive, and depictions of wooden architecture in the mural paintings of the time, give some impression of the brilliance of the Pagan woodcarvers craft, a tradition that has continued in Burma up to the present." One may wonder whether the Pagan Burmese, perhaps leading a nomadic or migratory existence before settling in this strategic location, first came to express themselves artistically in the medium of wood before progressing to stone. Unlike the older Pyu city of Sri Ksetra, where the entire population and the land that they cultivated, were within the bounds of the walls, at Pagan only the king, court and certain crown service groups were quartered within the now more limited confines of the city walls. Burma, by the 11th century, was a more cure place to live in as the artisan and mercantile population, not to mention the sacred monastic communities, could be safely accommodated beyonde city's defences. This sets the pattern for laterBurmese cities right up to the foundation of the lastroyal city of Mandalay in 1856.
     The city is located at the heart of the `dry zone' with '' a of the lowest annual rainfalls in Burma. Despite e inclement climate and problems of water supply at continue thereto this day), the location of the administrative and military nerve centre of a rapidly expanding young empire here was excellent. In command of the Irrawaddy river, sited just a few miles downstream from its great tributary the Chindwin, that flowa down from India and Assam, Pagan stood ` midway between the delta trading ports of the Mons l d the China road, between the river and overland routes to India, and the scattered trails that still weave ugh the hills to the east, to the remainder of South East Asia.' Pagan was the crossroads for traders as ell as armies-contemporary inscriptions refer to Pagan as the `hub' or, kharuin. Thus, the dynasty's n and architecture reflected the multitude of cultural cross currents that met here with indigenous elements. x Though Pagan may be said to have undergone a process historians name as 'Indianisation', elements of indigenous culture survived and integrated with the :' ported. Indeed, 'Indianised' states had for several centuries evolved to create their own unique variant terms of Indianbased religious and cultural life. Thus, ., Pagan received not only a direct input of Indian artistic forms, from the mid11th century onwards, but also an adapted version from the hands of the pre-Pagan Mon end Pyu kingdoms, whose cultural life had been corporated into that of Pagan, before the rise of the city to statehood. Pagan was to rise above being a ere syncretism, her art is never hybrid, for Burmese convictions rose to mould the imported into shapes t satisfied their own temperaments.
     The Pyu have been said to be the first wave of a ' migration of the Burmese people, possibly, according Luce, from the Nanchao region of north-west " China. Luce believed that, further to this, from the 9th century onwards, a second migration of the Early Burmese took place. Their settlements expanded in central Burma, where they learnt, under the tutelage the Pyu, how to cultivate wet rice, and developed urbanised states, particularly in the area known as the :rice bowl of Burma' around Kyaukse. One of these states was Pagan, who rose to be the dominant settelment, and established precedence over her ri vals. However, as Pagan's early iconography and architecture indicates, there was little difference be tween her and the Pyu's cultural life. It may be questioned whether there was a clear racial distinction -:between the Pyu and Burmese, and surmised that Pagan succeeded Sri Ksetra, and the other early city ~-states, in the political vacuum left by the Nanchao raid
of c.732.
     Influenced by Indian conceptions of statecraft and government brought to the emergent city-power by brahmans from India, no doubt attracted by the riches service to so great a state would bring, Pagan was to develop into an empire under the military prowess of Anawrahta (1044-1077). It would, though, be a grave mistake to assume that Anawrahta was the first king of Pagan-Burma. He was most likely an exceptionally capable chieftain, from a long line of forebears, whose good accumulation of kamma enabled him to unify Burma, just as Asoka had once done in India. Theravada Buddhism assisted Anawrahta in his territorial conquests. The later chronicles make it clear that any conquest was inspired by motives of Buddhism, usually an attempt to secure some powerful relic, or a set of rare scriptures. However, most likely the motives were more economic and Anawrahta sought, in addition to the riches of the Mon canon, the riches of her seaports."
     The chronicles, not always a reliable source, tell how Anawrahta, moved by religious zeal and under the influence of one Mon Theravada monk, Shin Arahan, requested a set of the Tipitaka, the Theravada Buddhist scriptures, from the Mon king, Manuha of Thaton. He was refused and therefore seized the scriptures by military force and brought them to Pagan together with the captive king, Manuha, and his court, not to mention artists and artisans." Once returned to Pagan, and under this Mon influence, he set about eliminating heterodox sects in favour of Theravada Buddhism, and commencing what was to be one of the greatest temple building eras in the history of mankind. As there is no lithic evidence to support such a theory of `pious motivation' the raid may be said to be simply an act of aggression on the lucrative delta ports, capturing much needed manpower for resettlement in Upper Burma, in addition to gaining access to the international maritime world of the period. Possibly, according to Luce, Anawrahta sought to intervene in a Cambodian campaign against Peen. The significance of the raid is that it led to an injection of Mon culture into Pagan that was to have a profound effect on religious, and moreover literary, life after 1260. It is, though, misleading to think of the Mon as Theravada purists, whilst possessing the literature of the Jatakas, as seen in the carvings of the original Kalyani Thein and the plaques of the Thagya Pagoda; Brahmanic and Mahayanist elements had been incorporated into Mon culture, for not inconsiderable amounts of Vaishnaivite sculpture have been found in the Mon country." It must be emphasised that Mon cultural influence on 11th century Pagan extended to literature only, not the visual arts as has been originally supposed.
     By the advent of the Middle Period, in the reign of Sithu II (1113-70), the empire extended from Katha, in the north, to Thaton and possibly even Mergui in the south. Awaken was never fully incorporated into the empire, yet paid tribute, and was claimed by Pagan; the chronicles mention a marriage connection be tween Anawrahta and a princess of the Vesali kingdorm, which may well have been the Vesali of ancient Arakan. Through the construction of pagodas, and enshrining within them clay votive tablets bearing his seal, Anawrahta, at the outer limits of the empire, indicated the extent-of his territories.

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