Splendour in Wood by Sylvia Fraser-Lu
The Buddhist Monasteries of Burma
Burmese wooden monasteries and related pavilions have not received the scholarly attention that they deserve. This is unfortunate, given the especially ephemeral nature of wood in a damp tropical climate, with voracious insect life and the ever-present risk of floods, fire and earthquakes. Many extant structures are in a very dilapidated condition; the original donors have moved away, and/or their descendants no longer have adequate financial resources to maintain a forebear?s work.
This book introduces the reader to the beauty and genius of Burmese craftsmanship as expressed in the construction and embellishment of Buddhist wooden monasteries. The five chapters of Part I review the development of Buddhism and monasteries in Burma, the place of monks and monasteries in society, and the processes in building a monastery. Detailed accounts of monastic establishments in the pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial eras are also presented. In the three chapters of Part II are descriptions of nearly ninety different edifices visited by the author in the course of her research, in Upper and Lower Burma, and Central Burma and the Shan states. For posterity, the details of many wooden monasteries are recorded ? not only the ?old? and the ?beautiful?, but also others with architectural features of note. The book is copiously illustrated with sketches of floor plans and architectural details of many monasteries, and photographs of significant features.
200 Colour Plates
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