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Burmese Royal Barges

Ridiculously awesome looking barges from Burma highlighted here on the British Library’s Asian and African Studies Blog.

A Pyigyimon Royal barge: It’s basically 2 boats joined together, with the giant figures behind the prow being Naga, Garuda and Sakka. These huge figurines looks crazy but there are real life equivalents of these huge statues in Theravadian Buddhist temples today.

This barge is also the inspiration for the Karaweik Hall.

 (not sure if it’s an actual floating barge or a structure that extends out to the lake though) 

(top) Nawaraja boat: Five sculptures of Brahma on the prow and four on the stern.
(bottom) Manuk Siha boat: Basically a sculpture of a lion-centaur on the prow. 

Nawayupa golden barge: For ferrying ministers and royal officers, and is my absolute favourite of all the ones featured on the blog. The sculpture is larger than life and absolutely looks menacing. Like a minotaur barge or something.

All the images featured on the blog are from the 19th century, but a quick google describes boat/seafaring traditions from many centuries back. 

I wasn’t able to have more than just a cursory read but here’s a paper that seems to detail a lot more on Myanmar’s traditional boats. Lots of pictures and diagrams so that’s awesome: Myanmar’s Traditional Boats 

Written by Mun Kao. This post was originally published December 25, 2018 on the A Thousand Thousand Islands Patreon

2 Responses

    1. (Just wanted to say that I’d personally not heard of this story before — thank you for sharing!)

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