Toungoo Crown prince Tabin ShweHti’s earboring ceremony at the Shwe Maw Taw pagoda

Heroic deeds are remembered and handed over from one generation to another. One such feat is the Ear boring ceremony of King Tabinshwehti while he was a Crown Prince.

Although it has been mentioned that “Tabinshwehti started his reign with a gesture of sublime audacity, He determined to carry out the ear-boring ceremony at the Shwemawdaw Pagoda at Pegu, and with a chosen band of armed followers did so under the very nose of King Takayutpi”, tradition mentioned him as being a Crown Prince at the time.

Although Toungoo has been ruled by kings မင္း, they were mostly governors and not hereditary royalty and appointed by the Kings မင္းၾကီး of Ava.   The turning-point in its history came with the reign of မင္းၾကီးညိဳ Minkyinyo (1486-1531). Profiting by the chaos and weakness then reigning in the Ava kingdom, he acquired large additions to his territory, including the Kyauksè irrigation area. In 1527, when the Shans reoccupied Ava, so many Burmese chiefs fled to take service with him, that he became the most powerful ruler in Burma. Tabinshwehti was the Crown Prince.

Toungoo moat

In selecting the troops to accompany him Tabinshwehti had a wedge hammered beneath the nails and those who grimaced or withdrew back were left out. Only those who passed the test without flinching were taken along as his guards and the number was not adequate enough to face the Hantharwaddy troops. They went to Hantharwaddy on horses and during the night, crossed into the Mon territory, approached and reached the Shwemawdaw pagoda which is just outside the city walls. The ear piercing ceremony was begun at dawn and their presence was noticed and reported to the authorities. The Mon troops surrounded he pagoda hill and after finishing the ceremony Tabinshwehti’s group broke through them and reached the safety of their Toungoo territory.

In the 16th century, the 15 year-old Crown Prince Tabin Shwe Hti of the Taungoo kingdom held his ear boring ceremony on the platform of the Shwe Maw Daw Pagoda of Bago, at the time enemy territory, accompanied only by a few guards. They had gone on horseback on a moonlit night. When the army of the Bago kingdom heard of it and surounded the pagoda, Tabin Shwe Hti told the Master of Ceremonies to take his time and make sure that the ear holes were perfectly aligned. Afterwards he and his soldiers broke through enemy ranks and galloped home, leaving the Bago army bewildered but admiring his audicity.


This daring act not only showed Tabinshwehti’s valour, but also one of threading on the sacred grounds ေအာင္ေျမနင္း, a traditional ceremony held before war for the luck to win, this time against Hantharwaddy, which Tabinshwehti aimed to conquer since he was a teen Crown Prince, a prelude to building a nation.


Burma by Hall



I have begun this blog on 30 Aug 2011 but found the heading only in my draft today 8 Apr 2017. I do not remember whether I have finished another one by a similar name but will begin writing this beginning from today. Hope this will be finished soon.

Fin 2:15 pm 8-April-2017


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