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Not currently on display at the V&A

Plaque

15th century (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This ceramic plaque depicts two of the daughters of Mara elegantly posed against a green background. They are wearing decorative red and green garments and elaborate headdresses and jewellery, each with one hand to her side, the other raised and holding a fan. The plaque probably formed part of a larger series illustrating the Buddha's triumph over evil and the rout of Mara's army. The army was placed around the base of the Shwegugyi pagoda in Pegu to disrupt the Buddha while he meditated and sought enlightenment. It may have been combined with another series showing part or all of the Jataka stories (a series of tales recounting the Buddha's previous lives).

The practice of decorating pagodas with glazed terracotta plaques modelled in relief with Jataka scenes probably began in Burma in the Mon capital of Thahton. It was brought to Pagan by the Burmese king Anirhuddha about the middle of the 11th century, and their use there, as in Pegu in the later 15th century, was probably as much educational as decorative.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Terra cotta, glazed with cream, green and brown
Brief Description
Plaque depicting two of the daughters of Mara (God of Death), lead-glazed earthenware, possibly from the Shwegugyi pagoda in Pegu, Burma, 15th century
Physical Description
Depicts two of the daughters of Mara (God of Death) standing side by side against a green background in elegant pose, wearing decorative red and green garments and elaborate headdresses and jewellery, with one hand to their side, the other raised and holding a fan. There is an inscription pressed above their heads.
Dimensions
  • Height: 43.5cm
  • Width: 35cm
Credit line
Given by Col. E.H. Power
Object history
Pitt Rivers has four more of this series, given by Richard Temple
Production
Possibly from the Shwegugyi pagoda in Pegu, Burma
Summary
This ceramic plaque depicts two of the daughters of Mara elegantly posed against a green background. They are wearing decorative red and green garments and elaborate headdresses and jewellery, each with one hand to her side, the other raised and holding a fan. The plaque probably formed part of a larger series illustrating the Buddha's triumph over evil and the rout of Mara's army. The army was placed around the base of the Shwegugyi pagoda in Pegu to disrupt the Buddha while he meditated and sought enlightenment. It may have been combined with another series showing part or all of the Jataka stories (a series of tales recounting the Buddha's previous lives).



The practice of decorating pagodas with glazed terracotta plaques modelled in relief with Jataka scenes probably began in Burma in the Mon capital of Thahton. It was brought to Pagan by the Burmese king Anirhuddha about the middle of the 11th century, and their use there, as in Pegu in the later 15th century, was probably as much educational as decorative.
Bibliographic References
  • B.M. Catalogue - Buddhism "Art & Faith"; 1985; pp.164; pl. 226 Text for Mrs. J.T. Bailey's Slide Lecture on Burmese Art; pp.48 May 1968 An illustration of similar plaques is given in pl. 10 of "Note of a tour in Burma in March and April 1892" by Gertel; Rangoon, 1893 A similar plaque is in the B.M. Both are illustrated in "Notes on Antiquities in Ramamadesa", by Sir Richard Camac Temple in Indian Antiquary, 1893 Dec. Vol. XII
  • Burmese art / John Lowry. London: H. M. Stationery Office, 1974 Number: 0112901794 :cat. no. 21
Collection
Accession Number
173-1875

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record createdMarch 7, 2004
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