Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

AyeYarWaddy West bank Mann

December 5, 2010

Mann is on the Ayeyarwaddy west bank and has a long history of civilization and Buddhism. There was a Pyu ThunarParanta Taing near present day Lei Kaing which, during the time of KanYarZar Gyi, was a Pyu nation. KanYarzarGyi after losing a contest with his younger brother KanYarzarNge for the kingship of Tagaung, left it with his entourage and went to KaleTaunNyo and stayed for 6 mths. During the period Pyus, Kanyans asked for king and his son Dusetta was installed in ThunarParanta. KanYarzarGyi moved to Rakhine.

Dusetta, son of Kanyarzargyi, ruled ThuNarParanta (LeKaing-SaKu) after Pyu king Thambula was taken away by Dhanyawaddy army.

825 BCE. King Kan Yaza-dyi is established at Kale on the Chindwin. His son Umidusitta migrates to Kyauppadaung in Arakan and establishes the Arakan Kingdom. King Kan Yaza-nge is established in Tagaung.

…. visit of the Buddha and five hundred yahan to Sagaing. Changes in the earth prophesiedÑthe formation of the Bo-u lake, the rise of Popa mount (volcanic), the retreat of the sea from Thayekittaya near Prome(cf p.50), and the spread of Buddhism

I got to the Mann area in 1992 for the first time as part of a geological field party of BHP-Peroleum to ShweSetTaw. We came by 2 vehicles and stayed at the HtaukSharPin MOGE guesthouse both on the outgoing and return trips. At the time, we visited the NagaPwet taung which is the first time for me and the 2 expatriate geologists: Senior Geologist Jeanette from New Zealand and Matt Yacopetti from Australia. The MOGE geologist U Saw Hla had not told the expatriates that we would be visiting a mud volcano although I knew about it in advance and when we got there, although Jeanette did not show much emotion, Matt was visibly delighted and joyful. He remarked to me that many would pay to visit such a mud volcano. However, tour companies still have not included the NagaPwet taung in their itenieries yet.

The NagaPwet taung is a mud volcano, the only one in central Myanmar although there are said to be several in the Rakhine offshore. It got its name from the legend that says that a Nagar lives underneath in the depths of the mud volcano.

I heard about the  NagaPwet taung from my mother who told me about her visit there with her relatives when she was young, in the late 1920s. The local legend is that a Nagarr lives inside. When they got there, people gave tribute to the Nagarr and when wish / Nagarr Minn ko shit khoe taing taeAhShin NagarrMin / Dragon sir, I believe in you; please show a bubble / pwet pya. par, a bubble burst forth in a short time. Her older brother U Jone Sin was a non-believer and he wished after paying tribute to the Nagarr: AhShin NagarrMin / Dragon sir, I believe in you; please stop showing a bubble / pwet ma pya. par nae._a bubble burst forth in a short time nevertheless.

Is It The Dragon’s Lair?

THE NAGA PYWET TAUNG AT MINBU

By Harry Phone Thant

Enchanting Myanmar

Long, long time ago, even before Buddhism had taken roots in Myanmar people were awed with the forces of nature: the clashing of thunder and bolts of lightning that flashed in the sky must be of Gods fighting in heaven, the visitation of illnesses are but punishment from the Gods to those who had defied them. And smoke and fire belching from a volcano must have seem to them like a dragon(Naga in the Myanmar language) spitting out his fiery breath from the bowels of the earth.

Near Minbu, in central Myanmar, there is a unique geological site. It is called the NAGA PYWET TAUNG”( Mountain where the Naga Breathes). Pilgrims going to the nearby Naga pywet Taung Pagoda invariably also go to see this geological phenomenon. Actually for the scientifically-minded it is an ordinary mud volcano but to the ancient primitive people of the area, with their beliefs in supernatural beings, this must have been seen as a manifestation of the existence of the fiery dragons(naga) living deep inside the earth.

This mud volcano is not very high. In fact it is just about 10-20 feet high. But it belches grey, oozy mud periodically, accompanied by distinctive noxious sulphur fumes, further consolidating the peoples’ belief in the mythical creatures.

However, there is one mystery here. In the Myanmar calender we have a notion that the Naga points its head to a certain direction at certain time of the year. Myanmar people belief that it is bad to travel down the direction of the Naga’s tail as it will bring misfortune, either when travelling or moving house. Better to transverse the Naga’s body or to go in the direction of the mouth. And the curious thing is that the flow of lava from this mud volcano inexplicably shifts direction according to the direction of the naga’s tail as shown in the appropriate Myanmar calender month.

So the US of A has its geysers in Yosemite but we have Minbu Mud Volcano. Maybe this is truly the lair of the fire-breathing dragon. Who knows???????????

Buddha visited central Myanmar for a week during which Buddha’s footprints were made in SetTawYar on Mann chaung not far from NgaPhe near the western Rakhine yoma; Buddha also visited the KyaungTawYar near LaeKaing on the Mone chaung; Buddha also got to Minbu southern edge on the Sabwet chaung at present day SaKaTae pagoda and also north of Minbu, present day AukKyaung, where a monastery of the monk Mahar Ponna who met Buddha in India and later became an Arahant was living. Buddha gave sermons for 7 days at this SandaKuu monastery and later a small pagoda was built on this site, which much later was renovated to this size and shape.

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Kyaung Lein pagoda, Minbu

a Bagan style pagoda / temple in Minbu

I was surprised when I first saw it until I realized that Minbu was Bagan territory which extended till the PyiTawThar Kyun near MiChaung Yae

The pagoda legend says that it was built by MaMinbu who was taken as queen by king Sale NgaKhway 894 – 924 against her wish. She revenged upon him for her sufferings. King Sale NgaKhway reigned a long time before king Anawratha 1044 – 1077.

As the KyaungLein pagoda is a temple of late Bagan era, the MaMinbu stupa would be much earlier, pre Anawratha when Shin Arahan brought Theravada Buddhism to Bagan.

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ancient bricks at wall of the KyaungLein pagoda

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stupa south of the KyaungLein pagoda entrance Chinthes / lions

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MyinPhyuShin Nat Nann near the KyaungLein pagoda

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the KyaungLein pagoda

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KyaungLein pagoda from MaMinbu pagoda

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MaMinbu pagoda

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MaMinbu pagoda before renovation

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MaMinbu pagoda after renovation

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AukKyaung pagoda

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Nann Oo နန္းဦး pagoda

There is a Nann Oo နန္းဦး village with Nann Oo နန္းဦး pagoda near the AukKyaung pagoda

It is said that this is the place where king Narathihapate 1256 – 1287 stayed at first, while fleeing from Bagan when the Mongols invaded and had the Nann Oo နန္းဦး pagoda built

Later, king Narathihapate went to Pathein, but on the way, it is recorded in an inscription that he stayed at HleKya, west of Pyay and while there sent Shin DiThar ParMauk as envoy to Chinese / Mongol capital of Chengdu for armistice. After staying the lent / WarTwinn on the way, the abbot succeeded in persuading emperor Kublai Khan to withdraw the Mongol forces from Myanmar

The Mongols had reached till Tayokemaw, south of Pyay but did not pursue Narathihapate further

On the way back after mongol withdrawal, Narathihapate was poisoned by his son Thihathu of Pyay, forced to take poisoned food under threat of sword / Dahr Moe Pyi AhHseit Khat Htarr Tae SarrTaw Hset Tae ဒါးမိုးျပီး အဆိပ္ခပ္ထားတဲ ့ စားေတာ္ဆက္

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Nann Oo pagoda entrance

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Nann Oo pagoda image

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the king, queen, minister and general

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old bricks of Nann Oo pagoda wall

Kalatharpura / Pot country / Tawnte

November 17, 2010

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Jalfar

Some time back, I saw on MRTV-4, a weekly Industrial Talk show, which that time covered the Sint စဥ့္ / စင့္ / glaze industry of Myanmar. It was mentioned that the Tawnte region that is still producing pots both glazed and unglazed had been doing it since ancient times and that the region was called Kalatharpura / Pot country in a 7th century AD SriKsetra inscription.

There are collections of broken Sint စဥ့္ / စင့္ / glaze pots in Tawnte and over a thousand ancient kiln sites have been identified in Tawnte alone with innumerable ancient kiln sites in the AyeYarWaddy delta too. Inscriptions are present in some pieces. The earliest of them have been proved to be Pyu inscriptions that date to the 7th century AD on paleographic evidence.

The History of Ceramic Pottery
in Myanmar (Burma)

http://www.roadtomandalay.com/MyanmarMiscellany/History_of_Myanmar%20(Burmese)_Pottery.htm

Extracted by the roadtomandalay.com Webmaster from “Burmese Ceramics” by
Sumarah Adhyatman and published by The Ceramic Society of Indonesia, 1985

Nothing has ever been published on Burmese ceramics although the name Martaban, an ancient port in Southern Myanmar has lent itself to a group of large dark glazed earthenware and stoneware jars. A revised edition of the book TEMIPAYAN MARTAVANS concerning martaban jars found in Indonesia which was published in August 1984 by the Ceramic Society of Indonesia contains pictures and references to present production of Burmese jars in Upper Burma.

Several centuries before Christ the Mons – who probably came from Burma (?? ~ Webmaster)- settled down on the estuaries between the Salween and Sittaung rivers. Their settlement area is known as Suvannabhumi or the Golden Land2 from descriptions in Chinese and Indian text. A coastal town of Suvannabhumi is Kalasapura or ‘City of Pots’ mentioned in the Indian Kathasaritsagara of the 11th century.

About 2000 years ago the Pyu people, a Tibeto-Burman tribe settled in Upper Burma, their first capital established in Sri Ksetra near present day Prome. A fragmentary Sanskrit inscription recently found at Sri Ksetra refers to Kalasapura four times in a manner inferring that it was conquered or entered into a special relationship with the Pyus around the end of the 7th century. To be of economic or strategic use to the Pyus, Kalasapura would have been placed either near the mouth of the Salween river in the Martaban-Moulmein area, or near the mouth of the Irrawaddy3.

In the 14th century Martaban was already a busy harbour. It was mentioned by Ibnu Batuta an Arab traveller in 1350 in connection with large jars “… Martabans or huge jars, filled with pepper, citron and mango, all prepared with salt, as for a sea voyage”.

The demand of the Arab, Indian and later the European traders for large jars in which to store liquid and foodstuffs was met by the supply at Martaban, most probably by the supply of local jars. Historical sources mostly refer to the fact that the jars were produced locally8. So the generic name of martavan or martaban jars were indeed first applied to the jars produced and used at the Martaban site. It was later used for all kinds of large earthenware and stone-ware jars from different origins. For instance it is reported that presently Upper India also produce large black jars which they call ‘Martaban”9. The import of Chinese ceramics consisted of porcelain especially celadon dishes which are called “gori”10. At present celadon wares are still called “martabani” in the Middle East.

There has been evidence of use of glaze pots in the Arabian peninsula since old age and their source was first thought to be from Thailand. Not long ago, it has been proved that their origin was from Tawnte region.I read articles about the confirmation of Myanmar as the major source of 15th and 16th century green ware dishes at Julfar one of the largest ports in the Arabian Gulf from the 14th to 16th centuries.

Myanmar ceramic production and trade during the Middle Ages

By Dr Sein Tu

http://www.myanmar.gov.mm/myanmartimes/no193/MyanmarTimes10-193/19320.htm

THESE are exciting times in the scientific study of Southeast Asian ceramic history.

The scholarly world of Southeast Asian ceramic research is in a state of intellectual ferment because until recently, Myanmar was regarded as having no tradition of ceramic production.

Kiln excavations in Southeast Asia had previously been conducted only in Thailand, with the result that all ceramic finds of Southeast Asian origin were considered to be Thai. This was the consensus of scientific opinion, with the Myanmar tradition of ceramic production remaining unacknowledged and Myanmar contributions to ceramic ware of Southeast Asia being ignored.

Then, in 1984, ceramic green and white ware of a type never before encountered was found in a burial mound in Tak, a Thai town near the Myanmar border.

At first these were claimed to be products of the archaeological excavations at ancient kiln sites at Kalong in northeastern Thailand, but a number of international ceramic experts thought it more likely that they came from Myanmar.

Then, in a series of crucial experiments reported in the early 1990s, Japanese ceramic scientists K.Yamasaki, G.Hasebe, Y.Emoto and M.Murozumi compared the lead isotope ratios of the Tak burial mound samples with those of glazed tiles from Shwe-gu-gyee Pagoda in Bago and the Apeyadanar Pagoda in Bagan and lead samples from the Baw Hsaing lead mine in Myanmar and the Mae-hon-hsan lead mine in Thailand.

The results showed that the lead isotope ratio of the Tak samples matched those found in the lead from Baw Hsaing mine and the glazed tiles from the Bago and Bagan pagodas, but not with the lead samples from the Thai lead mine.

Furthermore, Myanmar samples showed the effects of the addition of tin to the lead flux during the production process to impart a blanching or whitening effect to the glaze. This is not found in Thai, Vietnamese or any other Southeast Asian ceramic ware. The Tak green and white ware, alone among all other Thai samples, showed the effects of tin glaze technology. This settled the question of the provenance of the Tak samples.

The discovery that Myanmar ceramic ware was based on tin glaze technology drew the attention of international scholars who were quick to point out that any future history of Southeast Asian ceramics would be incomplete without a consideration of Myanmar’s contribution, whilst others suggested that a revision of Southeast Asia ceramic history was already in order.

One related problem was whether there was any archaeological evidence of past Myanmar ceramic production extensive enough to be worthy of note in the history of Southeast Asian ceramics.

In a search for archaeological evidence of ancient kilns in Myanmar, Australian expert Don Hein teamed up with Myanmar ceramic scholars Dr Thaw Kaung and Dr Myo Thant Tyn to excavate the Lagumbyee site near Bago in 1990, and discovered more than 100 cross-draught kilns and production paraphernalia similar to those found in Thailand.

Innumerable ancient kiln sites have been identified since, including more than a thousand at Twante, in the Ayeyarwaddy delta about 40 miles west of Yangon.

A new chapter was written in the history of Myanmar ceramics by a team of Japanese archaeologists led by Tatsuo Sasaki and Hanae Sasaki of Kanazawa University, working from 1988 to 1994 at the Julfar and Hulaylah sites in the United Arab Emirates. Prof. Sasaki reported their findings to the Myanmar Academy of Arts and Science on November 12 this year in a seminar paper titled Trade to the Indian Ocean in the 15-16th centuries from Myanmar : The Excavation of Myanmar Green Ceramic Ware in the Arabian Peninsula.

Julfar and Hulaylah are at the lower end of the Persian Gulf in Ras al Khamia.
Julfar was one of the largest ports in the Arabian Gulf from the 14th to 16th centuries. The archaeological team identified seven layers – the uppermost layer, Level 1, yielded ceramics from the middle of the 15th century and later, whilst the lowermost habitation layer, Level 7, dated to the middle of the 14th century.

The lower levels yielded many sherds of Chinese green ware and white porcelain, while Myanmar and Thai wares were found only in the upper layers. On the other hand Myanmar sherds formed the largest proportion of the green wares found in the 15th and 16th century levels at Julfar.

Generally speaking, Myanmar green ware dishes are heavy and have a low, broad foot ring. Twante bowls have a high foot, the inside of which is not glazed, and is decorated only by simple curved lines. The colour of the glaze is a fairly uniform pale green.

In the shape of the lip and foot, the colour of the glazes, and the curved decorations, the unidentified sherds from Julfar and Hulaylah were found to be similar to Myanmar ceramic ware from the Twante kiln site. The bowls of this type found in Julfar and Hulaylah had also been made using the same production techniques as the Myanmar Twante ware, judging by marks left on the underside of the base during the firing process.

From the archaeological evidence uncovered in the Middle East it has become clear that Myanmar ceramics were exported to many countries during the 15th century. The same type of green ware has been found, not only in the UAE, but also on the coasts of Iran, Bahrain, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Qatar.
Indeed, the wheel appears to have come full circle. Myanmar, for a long time relegated to a backwater in Southeast Asian ceramic history because of a dearth of archaeological evidence of ceramic production, has been proved to have had a viable ceramic industry.

The evidence also shows that the industry was so extensive that trade relations were established with many lands during the 15th and 16th centuries for the export of Myanmar green ware in such volumes as to form most of the green ware sherds found at the 15th and 16th century levels at the Julfar and Hulaylah excavations in the Persian Gulf.

Myanmar’s long and documented history of making big glazed jars
By Dr Sein Tu

http://www.myanmar.gov.mm/myanmartimes/no110-111/myanmartimes6-110-111/Features/1.htm

THE reluctance of many international academics to acknowledge the long tradition of ceramics in Myanmar is nowhere more apparent than in their treatment of glazed earthenware jars associated with the seaport of Martaban or Mottama on the Gulf of Martaban. This is a surprising omission, given that historical references have referred to the production and trade in Martaban glazed ceramic jars for hundreds of years. Many of these references have been noted by Dr Myo Thant Tyn, the chairman of the Myanmar Ceramic Society, in his Tradition of Myanmar Glazed Ceramics and its Historical Status in Southeast Asia, published by the Society in 2000. The references have been gleaned from a variety of sources, which for reasons of space, cannot all be acknowledged. Among the earliest references cited by Dr Myo Thant Tyn are those of two Chinese Buddhist pilgrims, I-tsing and Huien Thsang (or Yuan Chwang) who visited the Pyu kingdom (or Sri Ksestra or possibly Old Bagan or Tampavati) and recorded that the inhabitants bartered earthenware jars as well as glazed ware. Their observations were included in the Man-shu, a chronicle published during the Tang dynasty (618-907 C.E.). The famous Islamic traveller, Ibn Batuta, who visited Lower Myanmar in 1350 C.E. wrote: “The Princess made me a present consisting of … four huge Martaban jars filled with pepper, citron and mango, all prepared with salt, as for a sea-voyage.”  However, the production in Myanmar of Martaban jars was unequivocally testified to by a Portuguese visitor to Myanmar, Duarte Barbosa, who recorded in 1516 that; “In this town of Martaban are made very large and beautiful porcelain vases and some of glazed earthenware of a black colour which are highly valued among the Moores, and they export them as merchandise.” After this, similar observations came thick and fast.  Francois Pyrard de Laval reported seeing in 1610 “the most beautiful, best glazed and made jars I have seen anywhere. There are some that hold a pipe or more. They are made in the Kingdom of Marbatan, from where they are brought and from where they take their name throughout India.” One pipe equalled two hogsheads, or about 105 gallons (nearly 400 litres). Preserved in the Public Record Office of London is a memorandum dated 1664 which states: “The Trade of India as ‘tis now managed by the English Company of Merchants trading in some parts of it is very invalid in comparison of what is now drove by our neighbour nation the Dutch… many sorts of clothing are sent into Pegu, a port in the Bay (Bangala) which returns rubies and readie money, the coin or current money of the place, allsoe Martananas Jarres.Hamilton reported in 1727 that; “Martavan was one of the most flourishing Towns for trade in the East… they make earthen Ware still, and glaze them with Lead-oar. I have seen some Jars made there would contain two Hogsheads of Liquor.”  Dr Than Tun relates how King Alaungpaya (1752-1760), after his conquest of Bago (Pegu), took 5000 prisoners of war back to Upper Myanmar. The potters among them were permitted by royal decree to make glazed earthenware at Kyaukmyaung in Shwebo District. Kyaukmyaung remains a thriving centre for making Martaban jars. Hunter in his Account of Pegu in 1785 adds an amusing footnote to the history of Martaban jars. He wrote; “a foreigner may marry one of the natives, on which occasion he pays a stipulated sum to her parents; but if he leaves the country, he is not permitted to carry his wife along with him. So strict is the law in this particular, and so impossible it is to obtain a dispensation from it, that some men, who have had a great affection for their wives, have been obliged, on their departure, to carry them away in secret in (Martavan) jars which were supposed to be filled with water.” Australian scholar Dr Pamela Guttman referred in 1978 to a long tradition of Myanmar glazed ceramics based on the history of Martaban jars.  In a paper presented that year at a symposium in Hong Kong, Dr Guttman surveyed the glazed ceramic tradition of Myanmar from the 7th century to the 18th century and disproved the view that Myanmar had no history of ceramic manufacture or trade.  British academic John Guy also stated in his Ceramic Traditions of South-East Asia (Oxford University Press, 1989) that while Myanmar was not traditionally associated with glazed ceramic production “there is evidence, both archaeological and textual, of a tradition existing in Burma (Myanmar) from at least the ninth century.” In 1977, an American scholar, Roxanna Brown, noted that; “until very recently Burma (Myanmar) was thought to be quite devoid of old glazed ceramics even though there was physical evidence of modern manufacture, literary evidence of ancient production, and a long tradition in Asia calling large storage jars ‘martabans’. (Brown, R, 1977, The Ceramics of South-East Asia – Their Dating and Identification. Oxford University Press). Excavations in 1984 and 1985 along the Myanmar-Thai border resulted in the discovery of Green and White ceramic ware which was proved by chemical analysis to be of Myanmar origin. This finally aroused the interest of an increasing number of international specialists to the possibilities of further revelations of Myanmar contributions to the history of Southeast Asian ceramics.

The caves of Myanmar: MyinMaHti cave

October 21, 2010

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P AKO LZW AungBan Loikaw road 1998

AKO LZW AungBan Loikaw road 1998

I first came to know about the MyinMaHti cave during my many visits to Kalaw. On the higher north side of the Kalaw Zay / market, facing the Taunggyi highway are several tour guide offices. They promote hiking tours and among them is the trek to the MyinMaHti cave. I have looked at their itenieries which include the trek to the Palaung village out of interest but never thought of hiking to the MyinMaHti cave from Kalaw although I had walked to the MyinTaik station and the Kalaw reservoir / dam during my student days.

I got to the MyinMaHti cave unexpectedly for the first time when I visited Loikaw in 1998. It lies in Kalaw township, 4 miles away as a crow flies from Kalaw, but on the road to Loikaw (4 miles) which began from the Taunggyi road just (2 miles) before it reaches Aungban. One has to go in an indirect way to reach it by road.

Once on the Loikaw road, the scene became very different, unlike any other place I have been. It is different from the view along the road to Pindaya and also from the rail track side view between Aungban and NyaungShwe which are also beautiful. Once one passed through a pass between 2 hills, one gets to a plain where there are hillocks as far as one can see and they are so beautiful that I stopped to take photos of the scene and some portraits.

When I saw the road side sign of the MyinMaHti cave, I dropped in to visit it. It was not in the original plan. This is the advantage of travelling by one’s car. One can stop anytime anywhere for a rest or a visit. Going along with tours also have their advantages of not being burdened with plans but one has to go along their iteniery which would most probably not suit you and travelling by bus or train, one cannot stop anywhere one chooses to.

The second time I got there was in 2000 when I went there intentionally while visiting Pindaya from Kalaw, but did not get there in 2008 when we went to Kalaw by bus and made tours by hired car from Kalaw.

At the MyinMaHti cave, there are many Buddha statutes, both outside and inside the cave as the cave is a Buddhist shrine. We went inside the cave and at the cave ends at another opening in the other side of the hill at some elevation from the entrance opening which lies near the ground level. The hill is not a very big one and rises out apart from others, unlike most limestone caves which occur inside massive limestone structures that have openings in the wall of the cliffs and extend inside to end somewhere.

The MyinMaHti cave is 1028 ft long from the entrance opening to the exit opening.

The original pagoda with 3 tiered Htis / umbrellas was first built by the king Thiri Dhammar ThawKa / ArThawKa / Asoka who built 84,000 stupas and have 84,000 lakes dug, and later repaired by king Anawratha and king Alaungsithu. Thus the presence of 3 Htis / umbrellas, although I wonder whether the Htis / umbrellas are actually the good deeds of the mentioned 3 kings as it is a well known fact that stupas of the Bagan era do not have Htis / umbrellas in their original form and the Htis / umbrellas now present in Bagan stupas are the good deeds of later donors.

There are also a collection of 28 Buddha statutes / HnaKyeit ShitHsu, 14 above and 14 below, donated by king Anawratha

OhnNaLone MywayShin stupa

Some of the Buddha images are of 3rd century AD while the earliest stupa is over 2300 years BP and there are many Buddha images of Bagan era

The cave is lined by stalactites and there are natural formations on the walls which have uncanny resemblance to life like structures. They are:

YaThe. PhoWin Gu / Zawgyi Gu with YaThe. Gaung Pyat / headless YaThe. human body structure

NatThamee ThaNaKharr KyaukPyin / Angel’s ThaNaKharr grinding stone

Kyauk Hsin MiTharrSu / rock elephant family

Kyauk Hsin Phyu Taw / rock white elephant

Kyauk MaHar BawDi Pin / rock Bo tree

Hsin Chi Taing / elephant tying pole Myinn Chi Taing / horse tying pole

Kyauk Nwarr / rock cow

Kyauk KhaYuThinn / rock conch

Kyauk Shwe Hintha / rock Brahiminy duck

There are also natural wonders

Kyauk Si Kyauk Mauung / Shan Mauung / Danu Mauung / rock drums: multiple protrusions of rock on the wall which make different musical pitches

NatThamee Yay Kan / Angel’s pond where water seeps out from the wall to collect and is always full year round and which when applied is supposed to bring beauty and be mind cleansing

3 NatThamee Tharr Myat / Angel’s breasts

 

 

 

http://www.greentrail-indochina.com/myanmar/s_shan_state.html

Myin Mahti Cave : A 1,020 feet long cave circling through the limestone. It offers a variety of different little stupas and religious images, illuminated weakly by an old generator outside the cave. The first stupa was built in the cave over 2,300 years ago by King Thiri Damar Thaw Kayarzar and has three tiers of umbrellas.

 

Myin-ma-hti Cave Pagoda,near Taunggyi{A.D 17}

http://ladyphyu.multiply.com/photos/album/198/Myin-ma-hti_Cave_Pagodanear_TaunggyiA.D_17

A Salient Myin Ma Hti

Kalaw which lies on the hilly region in the northern Shan State is located 4315 ft above sea level. If you look at the town from a distance, you can see a beautiful town in the midst of green and lush mountain ranges.

Now, we¡¯ll be presenting to you a salient natural cave, called ¡° Myin Ma Hti¡±, which is an ideal spot to visit in Kalaw. Myin Ma Hti natural cave is situated in Myin Ma Hti village, Kalaw Township. It is bordered with Pin Laung Township in the south and Myin Kapar village in the north. The Myin Ma Hti hill is 1075 ft high. It is an enchanting hill for visitors to take a tracking tour. Myin Ma Hti natural cave lies on the Pin Laung-HpeKhon-Loikaw motor road, 4 miles from Kalaw and 2 miles from Aung Pan.

This natural cave has existed for thousands years ago. The length of the cave is 1028 ft and there are many small caves on the either sides. The cave is also named Yewin cave because water flowed into the cave in the ancient time. It has one entrance and one exit. In the cave, many pagodas and statues have been built since over 2300 years ago, in the reign of King Thiri Dahmar Sawka and their handicrafts are intricate and unique. According to the archaeological research, some of the statues were built earlier than 17 or 18 AD.

At the entrance of the cave, there are many stalactites, where cool water is dripping steadily.

While observing these stalactites, you can also pay homage to the ancient historical Mywe Taw Shin pagoda with a three-tiered finial.

That¡¯s why, if you happen to visit Kalaw, in the Southern Shan State, we would like to urge you, do come and study Myin Ma Hti natural cave to be able to revere the pagodas and to obtain general knowledge, while viewing the lovely natural vistas and breathing cozy fresh air from the hill.

The caves of Myanmar

September 19, 2010

Nathamee YetKannSin / angels’ loom 1985 with Aung Ko Oo

HsinChiTaing and MyinnChiTaing 1998

Nathamee YetKannSin / angels’ loom 2000

ThuDaNu prince slaying the spider which captured the angels April 2008

I have been writing “The limestone caves of Myanmar” for some time and the progress has been slow. The topic covers many limestone caves that I have been to and heard about and it will be a long time before I finish this. I now have the notion to change the heading to a broader “The caves of Myanmar” so as to include sandstone and other caves, including the constructed ones (Gu Phayars / cave temples). This will make finishing this topic a very difficult one so I will post the first part after I finish the Pindaya Shwe U-Min HlaingGu cave and post more as I progress.

Narga Setkyar Mahar Wingabar HlaingNgu TawGyi

Recently, I saw on MRTV-4 the Narga Setkyar Mahar Wingabar HlaingNgu TawGyi in PatheinGyi township near Htonebo quarry. It was found and is being developed by the MyaKyauk Sayardaw. The path to the cave is still a trail and the descent into the cave is lined by bamboo handrails and there are only a few Buddha statutes inside near the cave opening. The cave is a long one and the MRTV-4 group did not go beyond the pool of water which lies across the cave. From the commentary, there seems to be more of the cave on the other side of the water although it was not shown.

The cave contains marvelous stalactites, both from above and below and also a few stalactite pillars. There is also a KyaukMauung (hollow / resonant rock) on the wall at one place. The cave’s length was not mentioned and there seems to be an opening on the side at one place and the air does not seem to be deficient of oxygen as evident by the well lighted candles along the side and the absence of labored breathing of the group.

The cave is not near villages and is still unspoilt yet, but as the cave is now being developed as a Buddhist place of worship, archeology will be impossible unless the Archeology department acts quickly.

There was development of the PeikChinnMyaung cave beyond PyinOoLwin around 1990s. The eastern Yoma is a limestone structure and there will be many more large unspoilt caves in the Shan plateau and the Kayah and Karen States and these might contain evidence of Stone Age hunter gatherers. The Padalin cave is not likely to be the only one where human inhabitation occurred.

KyatGu

When I was young, I read an article in one of the magazines, the Shumawa, Myawaddy or NgweTarYi, about a KyatGu which contained coffins as far as one could go inside. I later saw on tv and the internet, caves in China and the Philippines that are used as burial places; one high up on the cliff beside a stream and people had to go up by using pulleys. The KyatGu has always been on my mind and I want to visit it but do not know whether the article is true or not and also where the cave is situated.

KyeePaSat

The first cave I have been to is the KyeePaSat cave at KyaikHtiYoe pagoda. It is not far from the KyaikHtiYoe pagoda and most pilgrims to the KyaikHtiYoe pagoda get to it. The cave lies beneath the KyeePaSat opening on the top of the rock into which people throw coins. The cave is small and can accommodate only about 6 persons and is supposed to reach the Sittaung river but I do not remember having gone inside for any memorable distance in the 4 times I have been from 1965 to 1999.

Pindaya Shwe U-Min HlaingGu

I got to the Pindaya Shwe U-Min HlaingGu cave the first time in 1970 summer with my friends on the trip to Kalaw, ShweNyaung and Taunggyi. We hired a jeep from Kalaw and went there on a day trip. I always stay at Kalaw and go there through Aungban where the road to Pindaya branches inside the town. The restaurant near the road junction is good. There is also a good food shop which serves KhaukHswe, ToHuu, AhKyaws, Mohingha, tea, coffee, etc., before the road intersection to Pindaya.

Beyond Aungban, there is a place with many pine trees where many movie scenes are shot. Before reaching Pindaya, there is a side road which joins the Yangon – Mandalay highway and one which passes by the Padalin cave where there are wall paintings and artifacts of people who lived 10,000 years ago.

I had always thought that the  Pindaya Shwe U-Min HlaingGu cave lies north of Pindaya but it was only recently that I learned that it is south to the town. The road to Pindaya must have entered it from the south and I remember passing the town and getting around the BokeTaLoke lake to reach the Pindaya Shwe U-Min HlaingGu cave which lies outside the town. On my last visit there in 2007, there is now a road bypassing Pindaya town and reaches the Pindaya Shwe U-Min HlaingGu cave directly.

There are large Nyaung / Banyan trees on the road to the cave which are unlike any Nyaung / Banyan tree I have known elsewhere. This area is the place where local pilgrims stay during the pagoda festivals. The road climbs the hillside and there is a parking lot near the southernmost of the 3 caves which is the largest and the main cave. On my last visit in 2007, there stands a large spider statute and the price who is aiming his bow and arrow at the spider. Local legend says that the NatThamees / female angels bathed at the BokeTaLoke / PoneTaLoke lake and one day, the spider caught them and kept them in the cave. They were rescued by the ThuDaNu prince who slayed the spider.

The main cave contains a stupa / SayTi near the entrance. It is supposed to be built by king Asoka / ThriDhammar ArThawKa MinnGyi and rebuilt by king AhLaung Sithu. There are over 8000 Buddha statutes in the cave and the earliest ones dates from the late 18th centuary AD, according to specialists, from the Buddha images. There is no evidence of earlier times. Only the Buddha images from the early KoneBaung period to modern times.

The cave opening was enlarged during the early 20th centuary and some Buddha images near the entrance were damaged. The Buddha TaTaung is a teak pillar composed of 4 planks on which was sculptured 1140 Buddha images. There is a maze of Buddha images near the main stupa. The Yadanar Muni standing Buddha statute has been adorned with rings on the fingers. There are 2 ChwayHtwet KoTaws / HnitHsu of sandstone sitting Buddha images that are coated with ThitSay / SitSay / laquer which have moisture on the surface from seepage or maybe condensation of atmospheric air.

From the cave entrance, there is a tunnel which goes 290 feet into the hill. It was formed by the water flow in ancient times inside the limestone. The eastern Yoma (Shan plateau, Kayah, Karen, Mon and the Thanintharyi) became land 230 – 210 million years BP (before present) so the limestones were formed under the seabed a long time earlier. The tunnel is quite large and over 10 feet high. It is here that I saw stalectites for the first time in my life. There are both KyaukSet PannSwe and KyaukSet MoeHmyaw and even those that have met and are now a large pillar KyaukSetTaing / stallectite pillar which is estimated to be 200 m. years age.

The KyaukSet MoeHmyaw Ceti (stupa) is near a stallectite post.

There are HsinChiTaing and MyinnChiTaing at one place. I was asked how elephants could enter the cave and the answer is that those with supernatural powers can bring elephants inside. There is also the question of how elephants could climb up to the cave entrance, let alone get inside.

On the wall at one place are KyaukSi KyaukMauung, where there were poles to strike them to make sounds. But they have been removed about 2 years ago on the advice of the specialist who said that the vibrations can damage the tunnel and one cannot demonstrate it anymore.

One place is called the Nathamee YetKannSin / angels’ loom. The wall is shaped like a loom at that place.

There is also a small bridge on the path at one place although there is no water underneath nowadays. There once was water and without the bridge no one could get inside. The place is called NatYayKan / angels’ pond. There is also a NatYayTwinn / angels’ well.

The tunnel ends at 290 ft from the entrance. The legend is that it once connects with the HgnetPyitTaung tunnel in Bagan and that it is now closed by the lime.

MoTaWa Gu

It was also during my Kalaw Taunggyi trip with my friends in 1970 that I got to the MoTaWa Gu at Taunggyi for the first time, thanks to our friend San Lin who got there ahead of us. I got there again in either of the 1998 and 2000 trips (I am uncertain which trip it was) with my family but the MoTaWa Gu was very different from the earlier visit.

We stayed in Kalaw for a few days during which we went to the house of a son of a Sawbwa / SaoPha who was a friend of Nyunt Than’s family. We were invited to dinner and we went there again.

We visited this house during our walk around the town and it was in the part on the west side but I do not remember exactly. He lived there with his sisters and they all were around 40 – 50 at the time. Their dining table was a circular one and had a rotating centre piece and it was the first time I have seen such a dining table. During our talk before dinner, we mentioned about our walk to MyinTaik the nearest railway station in the direction of Thazi. We went there accompanying U Tun Aung, a friend of my father who was also having a vacation in Kalaw. He is a great walker and walks or bicycles whenever he can, rather than take a ride in a car, and even goes bicycling to distant towns by himself or with his friends (his bicycling story was portrayed in the Shwe Thway children journal around 1980s). He (our host) then told us not to enter the old mines near Kalaw if we ever get there as it has not been in use a long time and would be dangerous. Although man made, it would be like a tunnel and a long cave. We did not get there as U Tun Aung has returned.

Our group consisted of 6 classmates attending the 1st M.B. at the time and we stayed in an empty railways quarters on the hill near the Kalaw station, eating at the station Htamin Hsaing / food shop. We came from Rangoon by train as the 3 of us got free railways pass as my (my elder brother Khine Soe is also my classmate) father and the father of Min Lwin worked in the Railways. After Kalaw, we went to stay overnight in a room at the NyaungShwe station, visiting InnLay.

Then we went to Taunggyi and stayed at the Haw / Sawbwa’s house of our Kalaw dinner host. It was in HawKone and having meals was a problem as there were no food shops nearby so we had to walk a long way to the main road and then take a bus ride to the market where there were restaurants and food shops. While there, we met another friend San Lin, who was attending the Rangoon Institute of Technology (he and all 6 of us were Paulians, who passed the 10th Standard from the SHS 6 Botataung in 1969; we were classmates since our 4th – 6th Standards; I met Chit Sein and Percy / Tin Myint in 4th Standard, Nyunt Than, Min Lwin and San Lin in the 6th Standard). San Lin was in Taunggyi, visiting his father who was an engineer in the Construction Corporation / Public Works Department. His father told us not to follow his son. His words were: “do not follow that AhYuu / lunatic”.

However, San Lin had already told us he would take us to the MoTaWa Gu near WaPyarr. From his house (it was his father’s quarters) we took the bus (actually, it was a Ranger Hino truck converted for public transport as a Taunggyi city bus by the RTC, Road Transport Corporation) to the terminal near the Taunggyi College. It was at WaPyarr and from there we had to walk a long time to reach the cave.

There were several Buddha statutes at the opening of the cave and several people taking care of the the MoTaWa PhaYarr / pagoda. We donated cash for an hour’s lighting and went inside after paying homage to the Buddha statute. The cave was about 12 feet in diameter near the opening, but got smaller as we went inside but could walk upright most of the way although we had to go in one after another. At one point, there is a hole in the floor with a stairs and we climbed down about 10 feet to find another tunnel. This one had flowing water and ended after a short distance. I do not remember going in both directions so maybe the other end began near the ladder’s foot. There were several other visitors around there and we had much difficulty passing one another in tight places. We climbed up the stairs and continued along the main passage again.

The wall electric bulbs lighted the tunnel until we reached a small Buddha statute. Here, the electricity light ended and we continued with our torches (we had only 2). The tunnel became smaller and we had to bend down and even crawl at one point but it became larger and we could walk again further inside. I was breathless from the effort and so were others too. After some distance, the tunnel opened up into a large cave and the torch lights could not reach the walls after a few feet. We tried lighting the candles but the matches did not light up. We knew the oxygen level was very low at the point. As we had only 2 torches for the 7 of us, we dared not go further and returned to the mouth cave and back to Taunggyi.

On my visits to the Southern Shan State in 1998 and 2000, I drove there myself and stayed at Kalaw and toured Pindaya, KoneLone and Loikaw in 1998, but only to the Pindaya in 2000 before going to Taunggyi. There, either in 1998 or the 2000, I inquired the way to the MoTaWa Gu and visited it again. This time we had to stop the car near a monastery and I walked to the MoTaWa Gu with my 2 sons. There was a steep climb down which seemed unfamiliar. The route seems to be a different one from the one we were taken along in 1970.

When we got to the MoTaWa Gu it was not as in 1970. There were no caretakers and apart from some boys playing there, the place was deserted. We entered the cave which was without any electricity and after entering a short distance, we came against a brick wall which closed the tunnel completely. Some disaster must have happened in the meantime so that the cave had been closed by the authorities. I had planned to explore the cave at least up to the place I had reached previously and had taken along torches. I returned very much disappointed.

Kawtgun cave

Kawtgun lies 45 miles northeast of Mawlamyaing and 12 miles southwest of Pa-an. There are numerous (thousands of) Buddha figurines including many on the 80 feet long wall. I got there in 1999 on my return from KyaikKhaMi, Setse after visiting Mawlamyaing through Pa-an via the new Mawlamyaing-Pa-an road over the new Attaran and Jyaing bridges. Although I had been to Mawlamyaing during my childhood, this was my first time to Pa-an. I had intended to go to ThaMaNya but on arrival at Pa-an, I heard that the Sayardaw had gone to Thailand and was not in ThaMaNya. We returned and visited the KyaikHtiYoe on the way back. I never reached the ThaMaNya as the Sayardaw passed away before I could make another trip that way again (I still have not visited there again).

The oldest of the Buddha statutes of Kawtgun are dated to be of 7th century A.D., although there are many of later dates. It would be contemporary with the Pyu (1st century BC to 9th century AD) and the Vesali / Waytharli (327 – 818 AD) of Rakhine. The Thuwunnabumi / Suvanabhumi is said to be located not far from Thaton near the present AhYetThaMa and TaikKaLarr villages. Suvanabhumi existed long before Buddha’s time in the 6th century B.C., as it is mentioned in the ZaNetKa Jataka that ZaNetKa went to Suvanabhumi across the seas to find wealth. ZaNetKa Jataka is one of the 10 previous human lives of Buddha and must be a very long time prior to the 6th century B.C. As Kawtgun is dated to be of 7th century A.D., it was established much later than the time when Suvannabhumi flourished.

There is a sandstone inscription in ancient Mon.

The larger statutes are of sandstone and the small ones on the walls are votive tablets. Some of the medium sized statutes on the walls are very similar in style to those at the AhKaukTaung at HtoneBo, near Pyay.

There is also a bamboo pole said to be more than 100 years old without putrefying.

The cave is a limestone cave as limestone is the main structure of the eastern yoma. Many caves of Myanmar are limestone caves as it is easily eroded by water which flows throught the cracks.

Hanthawaddy Kingdom, kingdom of the Mon people, who were powerful in Myanmar (Burma) from the 9th to the 11th and from the 13th to the 16th century and for a brief period in the mid-18th century. The Mon migrated southward from western China and settled in the Chao Phraya River basin (of southern Thailand) about the 6th century AD. Their early kingdoms, Dvaravati and Haripunjaya (qq.v.), had ties with the ancient Cambodian kingdom of Funan and with China and were also strongly influenced by Khmer civilization.

After the Mon moved westward into the Irrawaddy River delta of southern Myanmar in the ensuing centuries, they acquired Theravada Buddhism, their state religion, from Ceylon and South India, and they adopted the Indian Pali script. By 825 they had firmly established themselves in southern and southeastern Myanmar and founded the cities of Pegu and Thaton.

Kawtgun cave

to be continued later

Malae and Sanpaenago

August 17, 2010

On my return from Tagaung last November, I reached Malae unexpectedly.

The ShutPyay from Katha reached Tagaung only at 11:00 instead of the usual 10:00. The lateness was due to being grounded on shallow sandbanks twice. On the way from Tagaung to Mandalay, we grounded twice again. The first time, we got off after about 20 minutes efforts by the crew and the passengers by pulling the anchor rope and pushing with poles. The second time it was not so easy and some of us had to get down and push the boat. Finally it got off the bank and we got to Malae late at 3 pm instead of the usual 1 pm. Malae is the place where the passengers has lunch and the the passengers who had not brought their lunch had a very late lunch.

Malae is opposite SanPaeNaGo. These 2 palces existed from ancient times and are still inhabited. Both are large villages and looked prosperous. There is even a phone service at Malae. Handphones are available there and passengers can phone from the river bank. They are situated on the northern end of the 3rd Ayeyarwaddy defile / myitkyinn.

Burmese saying / Sagapone စကားပုံ

Nyaung Oo KannParr Pyo ေညာင္ဦးကမ္းပါးျပိဳ

SanPaeNaGo ga NaMa Paung Kyoe ႏြားမေပါင္က်ိဳး

It is used whenever one gives excuses that are not applicable.

SanPae NaGo is far to the north of Mandalay, beyond ThabeikKyinn whereas Nyaung Oo is quite downriver in middle Myanmar

This saying must have appeared because at the time, SanPae NaGo was the outpost of the Bagan nation, the furthest from Bagan, although later, it extended to Tagaung and beyond up to Ngasaunggyan if not more and Malae is on its opposite bank.

There is also mention about Malae in the chronicles about Male since the time of king Binnaka of Tagaung and also in the Chinese chronicles about the Battle of Ngasaunggyan

Mention about Malae in the Myanmar Chronicles

The ancient history books said that the people of the Thaki race entered Tagaung region twice in two droves. The first drove led by Abhiraja arrived at the region before the Buddha attained the enlightenment. The second drove was under the leadership of Dhajaraja (Thado Jabudipa Dhajaraja title holder).

The first dynasty of Abhiraja ruled the city till its 33rd king, Binnaka. Tar Tars from China invaded and destroyed the city during the reign of King Binnaka. Binnaka and his followers retreated to the mouth of Meza River (Male) and later, split into three groups. When the Tar Tars left the city, the group led by Queen Naga Hsein stayed behind in Male region, while another group migrated to the place where the Ayeyawady met Shweli, and founded Kanthida town. The last group moved to Hanlin region in Legaing, Thuna Pantrara state, and settled there. We can assume that in this way, the people of the first Tagaung dynasty started to settle at places around the upper Myanmar. When the king of Tagaung attacked the Kanthida of the group led by Binnaka later, the group fled to the upper reaches of Shweli River and built Mongmao town there. The group again went upstream the river and set up Kyainghon (the ruined town located north of Bahe village in Mabein Township). The group organized and ruled the Yunnanese who fled their homeland for Myanmar for fear of the Tar Tars. The Binnaka group set up a city state comprising 19 districts in the region located in the southern upper reaches of Shweli River. Those who resided in the area were called Binnaka Shans.

The second drove of the people of Thaki race led by Dhajaraja entered Myanmar after the enlightenment of Buddha. It is likely that Buddhism also arrived at Myanmar together with the second drove of Thaki race. When Dhajaraja arrived at Male region, he met and married Queen Naga Hsein, formed alliance with her group, and settled in Tagaung region. As Tagaung was burnt-out town then, he set up the royal seat at the Pyu-gama (Bagan) of the Pyu race. The dynasty ruled the city till its 17th king, Thado Maha Raja. Thado Naga Naing or Maung Pauk Kyaing was the ninth king.

Mention about Malae in the Chinese chronicles in their description about the Battle of Ngasaunggyan

Anantapicci and Yantapicci tried to stop the enemies whotried to cross the Irrawaddy river from Bhamo in 1283. For 3 months they killed everyone including attendents employed in feeding elephants and horses who came up their side of the river. Wave afterwave of U Ti Bwa’s men came and were killed. From sheer exhaustion, the Burmese could do nothing at last and the enemy finally succeeded in crossing over the river and Ngasaunggyan fell Dec-1283. The Burmese were able to prevent the Chinese from crossing the ShweLi river for 3 months. Mongols took Ngasaunggyan 3-Dec-1283. Kaungsin, administrative centre of northern Burma, fell 9-Dec.

Tagaung was taken Jan-1284. Northern Burma became a Chinese province of Cheng-mien.

The Burmans did not yeild easily. Quduq Tamar’s army for invasion of Mien encountered the rebels and was routed 1284. Reinforcements were sent and it was reported that peoples minds were wavering.

Yunnan reported in 1285 that they have not yet had time to invade Mien. King Narapati sent a peace mission.

King Narapati evacuated Bagan and fled to Pathein.Anantapicci and Yantapicci made another stand at Male by putting up 2fortifications on the east of the foot of a range. Anantapicci was killed andYantapicci made an orderly retreat to Bagan where he found that the king had fled.He followed to Pathein. The invaders came after him as far as Tayoke Hmyaw andfinally gave up the chase because of the scarcity of food.

Thus Malae is a historic site and has been inhabited continuously since the time of king Binnaka and much history has occurred around there.

Tagaung is Bamar territory

August 14, 2010

Tagaung is Bamar territory

My father was posted in Katha at the time he married my mother. She went along from Pathein after their marriage to Katha for her first visit there till near her childbirth when she went to Rangoon where my brother was born.

They returned to Katha and stayed there until my father was transferred to Bassein. I was born in Pathein but after my father was transferred to Hinthada / Henzada, Toungoo and Pathein again, he was finally transferred to Rangoon where I attended school and lived till after I got my license and worked at the Myaungmya Jute Mill Construction Project, the first of my jobs outside Yangon.

During my childhood, my parents frequently talked about their stay at Katha. From what they said, it was my understanding that there were plenty of Shan Kadus ရွမ္း ကဒူး around the area, including the family who helped at their home and also took care of my brother. Actress San Shar Tin originated from around there and she is also supposed to be a Shan Kadu. It was my impression that the area around Kathar is Shan Kadu area and the Bamars are only a minority.

When I studied history and read about Tagaung တေကာင္း, I read that Tagaung is derived from a Shan name တေကာင္. This further reinforced my belief. The TharKiWins who came from northern India ruled over the local Shan Kadus and established a city at Tagaung. It was only later when they extended their territory to other parts of Myanmar, establishing cities in MaingMao, Beikthanoe, Sriksetra, and the lower Myanmar including the Thaninaryi that they came in contact with the Bamars who they ruled and also the Mons in lower Myanmar.

There might be earlier Pyu migration into Myanmar than AbiYarzar, as it is written in Myanmar chronicles that when KanRajaGyi went away from Tagaung and reached LeiKaing / ThuNanpara taing, the population there asked for a King as there was no one to inherit the kingdo, he left his son to rule there, going on to Rakhine and settled in KyaukPadaung before shifting to Dhanyawaddy later. This part of KanRajaGyi reaching Dhanyawaddy is seen in Rakhine history and explains the Aryan features of northern Rakhines. It is also mentioned in Rakhine chronicles that Rakhine had connections with northern India since ancient times and that Marayu came from northern India to establish the first Dhanyawaddy in BC 3440.

Before going to Tagaung တေကာင္း, I had a talk with a Bamar friend from a village in Kathar ကသာ township, several miles east of the Ayeyarwaddy, and learned that the villages around there are Bamar villages. One has to look at the population of the villages to know what type of ethnic group is the main one in an area. The towns do not represent the real ethnic distribution as it consists mainly of people who settled from elsewhere. In Khamti, the Shans are the majority in the villages. In Kathar, I found out recently, it is the Bamars.

On my return from Tagaung, I talked to fellow travelers on the ShutPyay, Bamars, and they also told me the same thing. The villages in HtiJyaint ထီးဂ်ိဳင့္ township and Katha ကသာ township are all settled by Bamars. Katha and HtiJyaint townships, north of Tagaung is Bamar territory and my earlier belief that it is Shan Kadu ရွမ္း ကဒူး area is wrong. So the saying Myanmar AhSa Tagaung Ka ျမန္မာအစ တေကာင္းက has the Bamar population around Kathar, HteeJyaint and Tagaung to support it.

Actually, the word Myanmar is the same as Bamar and the usage of it to include all ethnic nationalities is a political one. Bamars are the majority in Myanmar and they have ruled Myanmar since the time of Anawratha (the Pyus ruled current day Myanmar boundaries earlier) even if not continuously, as after the fall of the Bagan was a period of smaller independent countries (Ava, Hantharwaddy, Mrauk U) until TabinShweHti united the country again under Bamar leadership, and again by U Aung Zeya after the fall of the Toungoo dynasty and whose son HsinPhyuShin extended Myanmar to the mamimum since the time of Anawratha / AhLaungSithu, including ZinMae / Chaing Mai, ArThan / Assam, Manipura.

History

August 14, 2010

history is my hobby
I am more interested in pre-history
from the evolution into homo sapiens and the out of Africa human migration to all over the world

to the Myanmar prehistory

it begins with the Stone age Badalin cave and other findings of stone age tools

recent findings of the Bronze age and early Iron age cultures in Chindwin and Samon valleys add more to our knowledge
but there is paucity of evidence in pre-history
and some early history is regarded as myths by historians
historians are scientists nowadays

and history is a science subject unlike arts during my school days

the same with the geographers which use scientific methods to collect data and interpret, present them

look at the meteorologists

and the archeologists using the state of art investigative tools: x-ray, sonar, etc.

what lies inside the burial chamber of Emperor Shi Hwang Ti is known to some extent before opening it
they do not accept unsupported facts
so many in our Yarzawin, including AbiYarzar, DazaYarzar, PyuSawHtee are not accepted as facts yet
not to mention king Pauk Kyaing, Tint Tae the ‘smith, MahaThambawa, SulaThambawa, etc.
Even Duddabaung and the PanHtwar are not classified as facts yet
much needs to be done in our history
it is the archeologists work to find historical facts

and historians to interpret them from their desks

I’d rather be with Indiana Jones on his quest for the the Holy Grail and the Ark of the Covenant (it is said to be in Ethopia, closely guarded by the Knights; black Ethopians of course, not the white Knights of Templars)

rather than with Lara Croft (too much adventure)

but more likely to be a couch potatoe and surf the web or read the few books available (I hate exercise)

Prof Maung Maung Nyo commented on your note “History”.
Maung wrote: “History, legends and folklore are interwined.Today legends become history when supporting facts are found. Helen of Troy was thought to be a legend, but Troy was found and it’s now accepted as history.

Look at Tagung and Pagan. Tagaung was thought to be a legend, no more than an Burmese outpost in the Anawrahta era. Now its existence as a Pyu city of not later than 1st century AD has lent support to it of being a major historical site. So also with Pagan. Luce did not believe it was established with 19 Pyu villages, now its existence from the Pyu time with 19 villages have been confirmed.

Sometimes, amateur historians and people should take interest in local or national history and talk so that professional historians and archaelogists can work on it. Physicist U San Tha Aung studied the Arakanese coins and he had contributed much to the Arakanese history.

Professor G.H. Luce hypothesized that Nagathaman was the grandson of deposed Mon king Manuha and he was married to Shwe Ein Thi, daughter of King Kyanzittha to forge Mon-Bamar solidity and their son Alaungsithu was given kingship overpassing Zeya Khittara. Many pro-Mon Burmese historians followed Luce and it was written in Swesone Kyan. Even Thein Pe Myint supported it for national solidity. Now it has been discarded as evidence was proved wrong.

So, your hobby and work is invaluable. Carry on! “

AhKaukTaung

July 27, 2010

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I first came across the AhKaukTaung အေကာက္ေတာင္ towards the end of my work with the Road to Mandalay when we cruised down Ayeyarwaddy from Mandalay to Yangon for the final trip of the season in 1997 May. After a night stop at Pyay, we cruised down near the AhKaukTaung and the view of the rock wall Buddha carvings was one of the highlights of the trip. I have always wanted to visit the AhKaukTaung since then and finally made it recently on 18-July 2010. Although it is only a short distance from HtoneBo, just 30 – 45 min walk, about 2 miles and visible from HtoneBo, it lies in KyanKhinn township, at the northernmost part of the Ayeyarwaddy division on the border with the Bago division, with a bridge (and ? stream / chaung) separating it from the Bago division and HtoneBo.

There are 2 ways of going there: by road from Pyay to HtoneBo and then take a boat (better as you can witness the Buddha rock carvings from the boat) or go ahead as far as one can go by road and walk the remaining distance (you will miss the river view of the rock wall Buddha sculptures), or go to AhKaukTaung and back from Pyay by boat (the trip will take well over half a day; even driving from Pyay to HtoneBo took 2.5 hours as the road is not good).

There is no record as to who and when the Buddha images were carved onto the stone walls

The local theory (as told by the AhKaukTaung Sayardaw) is that as there are whrilpools and the current is strong, the boats would have stopped there in the distant past and that those among the crew carved the Buddha images over the time.

There was a revenue station nearby during the British times (not during the reign of Burmese kings) with remains of the revenue collection out-post / BoTae Pyet ဘိုတဲပ်က္ and therefore the hill has been called AhKauk Taung အေကာက္ေတာင္.

my friend ko Aung Cho Naung wrote to me after viewing this blog:

Sayar Nyi,
I feel very nice to see the photos and thanks for that. I really recalled our trips to a village called “Thaut Kyar Du ေသာက္ၾကာဒူး” which passed through that Ahkataung since we were young. But I had never seen those Buddha sculptures scene like with greens in your photos due we went there in summer holidays to visit relatives in Thaut Kyar Du village. Sometimes, we went there to Ahkataung farms mostly are dry in summer. I remember another very small village was called “U Lu Pu Kone ဦး လူပုကုန္း” that was very enjoyable with toddy and village traditional food we had there. The daily breakfast there in ေသာက္ၾကာဒူး was very memorable with very fresh fried beans and cold old rice “ႏွမ္းဆီနဲ႕ ေၾကာ္ထားတဲ့ ကုလားပဲလုံးေၾကာ္ နဲ႕ ထမင္းၾကမ္း နဲ႕ ေရေႏြး ၾကမ္း”
Whoooooo!!!! could not replace with 5 stars food from restaurants sometimes.
Best regards,

ACN

This brought to me idea to post the earlier correspondence between a newly found FB friend and myself:

all, after reading ko ANC’s message, I want to share it with you, together with earlier correspondence with another newly acquired FB friend, Dr. Than Hla: have reproduced it below ko ACN’s mail
these are what life is worth living for
a break in our monotonous rat-race

Than Hla

Hello DR Nyi Win, if you ever travel to west bank of Ayerwaddy again, and if you have a chance to travel in Min Done Township, please visit Taing Tar village. There you will find a rest house ( Bo tae ) probably built since British colonial times.The rest house looks very strong like a small fortress, I slept one night in it, hope it is still … See Morethere. There are also three tombs at the other end of the village, one of a Tatmadaw officer and two of British colonial soldiers. The graves were well kept and undisturbed when I found in 1975.

Thanks AhKoGyi, I will if I ever get there. MinDone is near Mann oil field where I work, but I cannot go there while on duty. I will one day visit ShweSetTaw again and it will be a good time to visit MinDone to visit Taing Tar village. I am very much interested in such things and am indebted to you for your information.

When I was in Myitkyina and visited the NaLanKha falls near Sidone, I tried to visit the British fort on the Sidone hill, but we had to ask permission from the army at the new Sidone, which we finally got, and after about 45 minutes walk and climb, we got there late after sunset and the army outpost was closed and did not return our calls to them.

We looked around but apart from a cemetry of Myanmar army we did not find the British fort and realized that it must have been inside the army post at the hill top.

Than Hla

During my time in Min don, Taing Tar village was about a day’s walk from Min don, hope some means of transport has developed over the years. Back then I have to walk along the jungle and river banks, and have to sleep one night in Taing tar village before I can return to Min don the next day. That was how I end up sleeping in that BO Tae. Taing tar village was situated on the bank of a medium size stream. There was a rather flat area about the size of three or four foot ball fields on the other side of the stream. according to the villagers that was the original Taing tar myo during the myanmar kings administration.I supposed it was ruled by Taing tar Min Gyi. At the entrance to the Taing tar village there was a spirit warship building, which was as large as a small house. According to the villagers, on some full moon days, a group of white horses were seen galloping back and forth between the Taing tar myo haung and the spirit worship building of the taing tar village.

Than Hla

By the way there was also a place near Taing tar village where Bo Ywe ambush the british colonial army. I think Taing tar is full of history.

I am really happy having a chance to talk about an interesting small village in Magwe Division.

Thanks

AhKo Gyi, thanks for all the information as they interest me very much.

On the highway between TaungTwinGyi and Magway, north of the ThitYarKauk (there is now a KoePin – ThitYarKauk, TaungTwinGyi bypass road), and further north of the MiChaungYae road, there is a small road with a signpost “MyinKhoneTaing / ျမင္းခုံတိုင္ _ _ miles”.

I also got to the village of Malae / မလယ္ on the boat trip from Tagaung to Mandalay at the beginning / north end of the 3rd Ayeyarwaddy defile, across which is the SanPae NaGo village. I felt eerie when I come across places which are familiar from my knowledge of history.

Than Hla July 23 at 1:14pm

I know Min Don quite well because I served at that area as a conscript Medical Officer in that area for about one year.
I am retired now

I was a National service Army medical officer, I served for three years as required and returned to the civil service. Actually I could continue as a captain at the end of the national service, but decided not to. my short term service in the army was not bad at all,I learned new things, came to know new friends and also been to many places. I spent quite a few months in Min Don area because the strategist command I am attached , was stationed there for some time. that was how I came to know the place quite well. Some times if we were away from Min Don,I and an infantry officer who was my close friend have to walk about 10 miles back to Min don to have a cup of coffee and relax a bit at a coffee shop. As you know Min Don it self was a small town, you can imagine the quality of the coffee shop.

Than Hla July 23 at 10:51pm

The lesson I learn was be happy with what you have ,but be innovative and creative and productive, try to help your self with what ever small opportunity you can get, then you will never be depressed.

Than Hla July 24 at 2:10pm

What I told you was my real experience. I just like to read what you write and some times exchange some experience. I gave up being a Doctor, because I want to do anything I like to do, something like visiting places of interest in Myanmar. See some old friends. By the way just between you and me, I got upset with many people writing about the houses roads and big buildings in Singapore US Uk Aussi and so on, why can’t they some time write about human experience. So keep up the good work you are doing. I am now living in Yangon, but no need to walk 10 miles for a cup of coffee anymore.

Food for thought: Thou shalt not kill

July 15, 2010

I attended the St. Paul’s High School from the 2nd – 6th Standards after which the school was nationalized by the government. During that period I was exposed to Catholic religion and I also read about other Christian sects later. The above heading means “You shall not kill”. Killing is prohibited in the Christian religion, yet there were crusades to re-Christianize the Biblical areas that were under Muslim control. This conflict continued in Spain with the Moorish occupation and their uprooting with subsequent  Inquisition and persisted to the present, the occurrences we witnessed in Bosnia and Kosovo.

The killing for religion even continued within the Christian sects between Catholics and Protestants in Europe (France, Germany), England, Scotland and Ireland during the 16th and 17th centuries which led to the pilgrims escaping to the New World to escape persecution, till the recent past when we witnessed the events in northern Ireland between the Irish R Army and the British.

There has also been Mujahids throughout history since Saladin’s time till the current Al-Queda and related activities of Taliban and jamia islamia. There is also the unending struggle between Pakistan and India for religious reasons. Yet one also see conflicts between different Muslim sects of Sunni and Shites in Iraq, and also those between the Taliban and the Pakistan authorities.

All these killings of humans in the name of religion, even between different sects of the same religion is very difficult to understand, given the prohibition of killing by religious teaching.

As for Buddhism, killing of all life (including animals and insects) is considered to be a sin which one has to repay back in the next 500 lives. I do not know what the status of microbes are, yet, as a doctor, I have to kill pathogenic microorganisms with antibiotics, antifungals and antivirals, and also order and supervise the killings of mosquitoes and termites with insecticides. When I was posted to the Pharmacology Department of Pharmacology, Institute of Medicine I, Yangon, in 1981-2, one of my former teachers, Daw Ohn Htwe was still there as a Demonstrator. She, being deeply religious, refused to attend the Pharmacology post graduate course because she does not want to do animal experiments.

Throughout history, killing for political purposes are the Rule and even occurred in all countries between relatives, cousins, siblings and even patricide. The Shah Jahan who built the Taj Mahal was killed at his deathbed by his son. King AhlaungSithu အေလာင္းစည္သူ was smothered by his son Narathu နရသူ who later killed his elder brother the night after making him king. Asoka killed his relatives to get the crown. Bogyoke Aung San was also assassinated for political reasons. Recently, there was a near miss at Depeyin ဒီပဲရင္း.

Not only will those who kill, but also those who ordered the killings also have to pay for their deeds, either in this life or the next and the subsequent 499 lives. That was why General Saw Maung a religious man became worried and visited many pagodas in the later part of his term. He also brought the AhPePeik Buddha image to Yangon အပယ္ပိတ္ဘုရား ရန္ကုန္ပင့္. True Buddhists will know that one cannot fully wipe out the bad deed of killings by other good deeds.

There are still unrepentent ones in power who cling to their reign by terror and do not hesitate to kill. We had modern mass killings of unarmed civilians during 7-July 1962 and before, during and after the 8-8-88.

Myanmar history: the origin of Bamars

July 7, 2010

We all have been familiar with the saying: Myanmar AhSa Tagaung Ka. It means Myanmars originated from Tagaung since the time of AhBiYarZar. There is also another school of thought: Myanmar AhSa, Kyaukse Ka. According to this theory, Bamars are late arrivals and only enter Myanmar around 8th century AD. I first came across it when I read Hall’s book. This is also taken on by various Western authors and as It is based on historical facts the reasoning behind it is impressive, yet, I became skeptical when I came to read more about Myanmar prehistory. How can such a massive human migration occur in the not so far past, without it being recorded or hinted in our history?

The Karens and the Nagas have in their history, the wandering part before they arrived in Myanmar, sagas of their past. The Mons also have songs that alluded to their stay in Talinaga, India. The Rakhine history began with Marayu, who came from India and settled in Rakhine establishing the first Dhanyawaddy in 3325 B.C. With Bamars there is also the arrival from India of AhBiYarZar and his entourage who settled in Tagaung, with later arrival of DazaYarzar during the time of Buddha in Bamar history. There is none about Bamars entering Myanmar around the 8th century, and their history prior to it.

Mons or Talaings, an Ethnic Minority Group of Myanmar, migrated from the Talingana State, Madras coast of Southern India. They mixed with the new migrants of Mongol from China and driven out the above Andhra and Orissa colonists.[25]The Mon probably began migrating down from China into the area in about 3000 BC. [26]

Those Mon (Talaings) brought with them the culture, arts, literature, religion and all the skills of civilisation of present Myanmar. They founded the Thaton and Bago (Pegu) Kingdoms. King Anawrahta of Bagan (Pagan) conquered that Mon Kingdom of King Manuha, named Suvannabumi (The Land of Golden Hues).[27] The conquest of Thaton in 1057 was a decisive event in Burmese history. It brought the Burman into direct contact with the Indian civilizing influences in the south and opened the way for intercourse with Buddhist centres overseas, especially Ceylon. [28]

While little is known about the early people of Burma, the Mon were the first of the modern ethnic groups to migrate into the region, starting around 1500 BCE. Oral tradition suggests that they had contact with Buddhism via seafaring as early as the 3rd century BCE, though definitely by the 2nd century BCE when they received an envoy of monks from Ashoka. Much of the Mon’s written records have been destroyed through wars. The Mons blended Indian and Mon cultures together in a hybrid of the two civilisations. By the mid-9th century, they had come to dominate all of southern Burma.

People have long memories and oral histories are passed along the generations through centuries before being recorded later in written form. Yet, this is not so when Bamar alphabet was introduced by the 11th century, or in the Mon script after Anawratha conquered Thaton, or in the Pyu script earlier during the Bamar reign, from Thamudarit onwards. Why?

It is my contention that the migration of Bamars into Myanmar must have been very much earlier, prior to the arrival of AhBiYarZar, so that their migration is not in their oral history. Bamars are the native people, the aborigines, those who arrived in Myanmar in the first or early human migration, very much earlier than the Mon, Karen and Nagas. The Rakhines, a subgroup of the Bamar, like the YawThars, InnThars, TaungYoes, Daweis and Beiks, would have arrived earlier or at the same time as the Bamars, and as they live separately until the 11th century when Anawratha began organizing the first Myanmar empire (or the 2nd, if one takes the Pyu to be 1st Myanmar empire), developed different dialects of the same language.

It is a common knowledge among Myanmar historians that the British colonial historians belittle us and distort our history to their advantage, portraying us to be savages. Yet when I read Dr. Than Tun’s books and found out that he too accepted Luce’s theory about the Bamar migration during the 8th century, I became confused. But I still hold onto my view.

If the Bamars only arrived in the 8th century, who are the people that lived earlier in upper Myanmar from the stone age hunter gatherers till their arrival? Who are the people of the Chindwin valley including Nyaungan and Samon valley cultures? Where are the Pyus that ruled Myanmar from the prehistoric times till the Nanchao destroyed the last Pyu capital in AD 832?

It is also my contention that the Pyu minority ruled over the majority Bamar and Mon population when they established the first Myanmar Empire and that only some were left behind and later disappeared by intermarriage with the Bamars after the Nanchao took the remaining inhabitants of their last capital to Yunnan Fu.

In the 9th century, the Pyu capital of Halingyi fell to the northern kingdom of Nanchao of southern China. The Myanmar, or Burmans, assumed leadership of the Tibeto-Burmese peoples and established their capital at Pagan.

The attack on Halin in 832 AD by the Nan-chao of Yunnan, China, appears to have been a devastating blow since according to the Chinese records the entire population was carried off into slavery and after this date mention of the Pyu is very rare.

In [AD 832] Man [sc.Nan-chao] rebels looted and plundered P’iao kingdom [sc. Halin]. They took prisoner over three thousand of their people. They banished them into servitude at Chê-tung [approx. Yünnan Fu], and told them to fend for themselves. At present their children and grandchildren are still there, subsisting on fish, insects, etc. Such is the end of their people

Man [sc.Nan-chao]: Man Shu (Book about Southern barbarians) [chapter Nan-chao]

I further believe that the Pyus are the descendents of the entourage of Abiyarzar and Dazayarzar, who had intermarried with the local Bamars, yet an elite ruling group, whose last population did not exceed 4000.

Bamars would be living in Myanmar since 750,000- 275,000 years B.P. or at least since 11,000 years B.P.

Humans lived in the region that is now Burma as early as 11,000 years ago, but archeological evidence dates the first settlements at about 2500 BCE with cattle rearing and the production of bronze. By about 1500 BCE, ironworks were in existence in the Irrawaddy Valley but cities, and the emergence of city states, probably did not occur till the early years of the Common era when advances in irrigation systems and the building of canals allowed for year long agriculture and the consolidation of settlements.[1]Artifacts from the excavated site of Nyaunggan help to reconstruct Bronze Age life in Burma and the more recent archaeological evidence at Samon Valley south of Mandalay suggests rice growing settlements between about 500 BC and 200 AD which traded with Qin and Han dynasty China. [2]

// Time line

  • 40 million year B.P. Pondaungia cottelia (Poundaung Primate) Live in Pondaung area in Lower Chindwin district
  • 40-42 million years B.P. Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) live in Mogaung village, Pale township in Sagaing Division and in Bahin village, Myaing township in Magwe Division.
  • 750,000- 275,000 years B.P. Lower Palaeolithic men (early Anyathian) live alone; the bank of the Ayeyawaddy river.
  • 275,000-25,000 years B.P. Lower Palaeolithic men (late Anyathian) live along the bank of the Ayeyarwaddy river and central Myanmar
  • 11,000 years B.P. Upper Palaeolithic men live in Badahlin caves which situated in Ywagan township in southern Shan States.
  • 7,000 – 2,000 B.C. Neolithic men live in central Myanmar Kachin State, Shan States, Mon State, Taninthayi Division, and along the bank of the Chindwin and Ayeyarwaddy rivers.
  • 1,000- 800 B. C. Bronze Age Culture
  • 600 – 500 B.C. Iron Age Culture [3]

I have queied Dr. Bob Hudson, Archaeology Department, University of Sydney about my concern and here is his reply, in which he also wrote about his doubts about Luce’s interpretation that Bamars arrived first at Kyaukse in the 8th century after crossing the Shan States from Yunnan:

Dear Nyi Win
Much of the recent archaeological evidence, such as the finds at
Tagaung, suggests far more continuity from Pyu to Bagan than was
accepted in Luce‘s day. My problem with his ideas about Kyaukse is that
they are based on his own linguistic approach, which is in effect a
personal opinion- I don’t know how to replicate or test his data
. If we
cannot test evidence, whatever kind of evidence it may be, we should
ideally develop ways to do so- and at the same time, be vary cautious
about statements that cannot be tested. I believe that Luce also
over-stated the age of inscriptions at Kyaukse
, which in general reflect
a wealthy Bagan province rather than a predecessor to Bagan.
I don’t think we yet have an answer to the question. But I can see no
evidence of some kind of mass migration of people who seemed to speak
the same language as the Pyu, but supposedly arrived and supplanted
them.
Harvey, as I discussed in my thesis, suggests that Pyusawhti may
have been someone- or a symbol for a small leadership group- much later
than the chronicles suggest, who learned military and political tactics
from Nanchao. If this small group came to dominate the Pyu population, a
myth may have then grown up that they had come from somewhere else to be
in charge
. This is a common form of legitimisation in the ancient world,
as it overcomes any local arguments that if your grandfather was not the
boss of my grandfather, why should you be the boss of me? (I hope that
example makes sense). The appearance of the term Mranma may therefore
have been a name the ruling group adopted or were given
, just as a group
of Americans in the days of the revolution called themselves
Republicans, or the way a company making soft drinks calls itself Coca
Cola. The genetic evidence for Tibeto-Burman speakers in southern China,
the nearest data we have so far to Myanmar, suggests a very small
southward migratory shift of males in the Pyu/Burman period
, but not a
mass movement of population
. So while I think we need to look again at
the transition from
Pyu/Tircul to Mranma/Burman, I would not suggest
that there is any clear answer yet to the question of origins.
best wishes

Bob

Dr Bob Hudson
Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellow
Archaeology Department,
SOPHI, Building A14
University of Sydney 2006, Australia
Office phone: (61-2) 93516777

bhudson@mail.usyd.edu.au

Although Myanmar archaeological experts have been making research in cooperation with international primate experts to prove the proposal — “The origin of Myanmar is Myanmar “, it is a far cry from the presence of fossilized remains of Pontaung primates in Pontaung rock layers that existed over 40 m yrs ago, they are preanthropoid primates which are very much distant from modern humans, Homo sapiens, which developed after the early humans Homo erectus. Current concept is that all humans developed in Africa and migrated out in waves, first the Homo erectus which populated the old world and later replaced by the later out of Africa group Homo sapiens. There is no continuity between the Pontaunggia preanthropoid primates and the Homo erectus or the Homo sapiens.

Myanmar has both Homo erectus and Homo sapiens populations, and the origin of Bamars lies in either one or both of these 2 groups.

Myanmar makes archaeological research to prove origin of Myanmar


nglish.news.cn 2010-07-07 11:34:12

http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/sci/2010-07/07/c_13388000_3.htm

By Feng Yingqiu

YANGON, July 7 (Xinhua) — Myanmar archaeological experts have been making research in cooperation with international primate experts to prove the proposal — “The origin of Myanmar is Myanmar “.

These experts have been working together yearly to find out the fossilized remains of Pontaung primates in Pontaung rock layers.

The findings of the primates on the Stone Age, the Bronze Age and the Iron Age, gained from the archaeological research in Meiktila and Yamethin districts in Mandalay division over the past decade, stood some evidences for the Bronze Age and the Iron Age as well as for the Myanmar culture and history, according to research report.

Over the weekend, Myanmar’s Ministry of Culture organized a paper reading session on archaeological evidences in Nay Pyi Taw with the belief that the findings through the archaeological research add to the Myanmar history.

The research paper reading session involved resources persons from Myanmar Historical Mission, National Culture and Fine Arts Universities in Yangon and Mandalay, Archaeology, National Museum and Library Department as well as a foreign academician.

Doing archaeological research on the Myanmar history from the origin of the race to date through the prehistoric period and Pyu period, Myanmar claimed that it has been able to discover the origin of Myanmar people who were born and who migrated from one place to another in the Myanmar soil along with the Myanmar civilization.

Myanmar media maintained that the advice, suggestions and queries by experts and researchers, and the response by resources persons are profound evidences for the Myanmar history.

In 2009, Myanmar found some more evidences on both Bronze Age and Iron Age after excavating areas in Thazi township, central Mandalay division, proving that Myanmar passed through both Bronze Age and Iron Age in the ancient time.

The Myanmar ministry, in cooperation with the CNRC of France, excavated the areas around Ywagongyi village in the township for 20 days from 20 days in January 2009, finding out the site where 44 bodies were buried along with two small bundles of bronze sheets, two iron objects, 14 stone beads of different colors, a fine stone weapon, two small earth-baked objects deemed to be round shuttles, and different earthen objects.

Of the fossilized bodies, two are complete sets and 20 fossils are assumed to be at middle age, 10 at early age, one at infant age and one shows over 40, the pelvis of which was badly damaged.

“The iron objects are excavated the same as that of Bronze Age and Iron Age found in Pyawbwe and Thazi townships. The two earth- baked objects are also called earth-baked beads which were excavated in large number especially in city states”, according to then report which added that five of the bodies were thought to be buried inside coffins of Bronze Age and Iron Age, which were found in Pyawbwe and Yamethin townships.

According to the archaeologists, the findings indicate the existence of the late Stone Age and Iron Age in the area and they do not reveal literature, writing and religious evidences.

In June 2008, ancient artifacts on Bronze Age and Iron Age were also excavated in Kanthitgon village in the same Thazi township, proving the same transition of ages.

Foreign archaeologists once considered that in the early history, Myanmar was transferred from Stone Age into the Iron Age without flourishing of Bronze culture.

The thesis was proved wrong when many artifacts were excavated later in such regions as Nyaungkan, Myin-U Hle, Hnawkan and Kukkokha that provided evidences of bronze culture in the country which was further supported by the artefacts found in Kanthitgon village.

The 2008 archaeological research was carried out in eight different places simultaneously and among the ancient objects found in Kanthitgon village were nine complete bodies along with some incomplete sets of bodies of all ages, child, middle age and old age. The bodies were buried together with bronze and iron weapons.

The artefacts of the Bronze Age found in the village also included bronze arrow heads, spears, wire bundles, cups, floral works, stone beads, bone beads, different sizes of pots and plates and iron spears, according to the research findings.

Myanmar has called for maintaining the archaeological findings as evidences to prove that “the origin of Myanmar is Myanmar”.

// Editor: Lin Zhi

After reading the above article “Myanmar makes archaeological research to prove origin of Myanmar”, I have some queries about the evolution of Bamars from the pre-anthropoids Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) and Bahinia pondaungensis

Did the Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) and Bahinia pondaungensis or their descendents migrate to Africa and eventually become modern humans, the Homo sapiens?

[primates develop to humans in Africa only and reach other places by the "Out of Africa" route as Lucy's descendents to Myanmar]

40-42 million years B.P. Mogaungensis (Amphipothecus Primate) live in Mogaung village, Pale township in Sagaing Division and in Bahin village, Myaing township in Magwe Division

Teeth and bits of jaw from a tiny, squirrel-sized animal that lived 40 million years ago in what is now Myanmar (Burma) suggest primates originated in Asia, not Africa as was believed, researchers said. A team of researchers from France, Japan, and Myanmar say the little animal, which they have named Bahinia pondaungensis, was probably the ancestor of modern apes, monkeys and humans. Jean-Jacques Jaeger of the Universite Montpellier-II in France and colleagues found the fossils in a layer of red clay, along with a complete lower jaw from a more advanced primate called Amphipithecus.

The fossilized remains of many early anthropoids have been found in Africa, most from a single rich site in Egypt. Many scientists thus believed that Africa, already believed by many scientists to be the cradle of humanity, also gave rise to earlier ancestors. But a number of fossils have recently been found in Thailand, China, and Myanmar. They are between 49 million and 33 million years old and include some of the most primitive-looking anthropoids ever found.


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