The Two Pillars of the Kingdom of Bagan, Myanmar: How Royalty and Religion Shaped the Settlement Patterns of an Empire
Author(s): Ellie Tamura
Bagan was the political, economic, and cultural centre of Myanmar during the country’s Classical Period (c. 800 – 1400 CE). This immense empire operated primarily on two institutions: the crown and the sangha (Buddhist monkhood). Kutho (merit) was arguably one of the most important Buddhist doctrines in Bagan as it was believed to guarantee better social status upon reincarnation. Kutho, for the elite, was most commonly obtained by contributing large donations to the sangha. These donations took the form of labourers, tax-free lands, or precious materials that were used for the construction of temples and monasteries, of which thousands continue to survive today. The construction of these buildings would have displaced a sizeable amount of the commoner population whilst also establishing new settlements. Despite the extensive archaeological potential in this region, no settlement studies have been conducted in Myanmar. Through inscriptions, murals, and ground survey along with the application of entanglement theory, this study will determine how the crown and the sangha worked together influencing the settlement patterns of the commoner population. This study will bring insight into a relatively new area of research in a region that is only beginning to open for archaeological work.
Cite this Record
The Two Pillars of the Kingdom of Bagan, Myanmar: How Royalty and Religion Shaped the Settlement Patterns of an Empire. Ellie Tamura. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 443322)
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min long: 92.549; min lat: -11.351 ; max long: 141.328; max lat: 27.372 ;
Abstract Id(s): 21776