Arts and Crafts

myanmar-thrones-01Myanmar, is an ancient country with its own national identity, culture and civilization. Since ancient times, it was an independent sovereign nation ruled over by its own monarchs in their splendid palaces.
So in royal ceremonies of days gone by, the throne of the King was the most important symbol of sovereign power. The King seated on his royal throne, would preside over various important ceremonies, and hand down judgments.
However, different thrones were used for different specific occasions and there were 9 thrones altogether but of 8 different kinds installed in their respective halls. The thrones were known by different names depending on the ornate carved motifs that encircled and decorated the pedestal of the throne.

(1)The "Thihathana" Lion Throne (numbering two)

myanmar-thrones-02There are two such thrones. It is made of "Yamaney" wood, which yields a smooth-grained timber. The pedestal is decorated with figures of the Myanmar Royal Lion. Hence the title Thihathana, for "Thiha" means "Royal Lion". One of these thrones is kept in the Royal Audience Hall located in the forefront of the palace building where the King resides. From this throne the King receives the homage of his ministers, queen, wives of courtiers, feudal lords and other officials.
The other royal Lion Throne is located in the Hall of the Council of Ministers or "Hluttaw". From this throne the King passes royal judgments and issues royal edicts. It is a replica of the Throne in the Audience Hall.

(2) The "Padommarthana" Lotus Throne

myanmar-thrones-03It is made of the wood of the mango tree and because the pedestal is decorated with lotus blossoms, so known as the "Padommarthana Lotus Throne". It is located in the Western Audience Hall where the King receives homage of the Queen and royal ladies.

(3) The Bhammayarthana "Bee" Throne

It is made of wood from the tree of the cinnamomum species or caraway tree. The base is decorated with the bee motif. It is located in the "glass palace" used for wedding ceremonies, and on festive occasion such as the "Thingyan" Water Festival. It is also the throne for the King to spend his hours of rest and relaxation.

(4) The Mayuyarthana "Peacock" Throne

It is made from the wood of the "Pauk", parrot tree and its motif is the Peacock. It is kept in the West Entrance Hall. The King accepts tributary gifts such as a white elephant or a horse of high stock.

(5) The Migarthana "Deer" Throne

myanmar-thrones-04This throne with the "deer" motif on the pedestal is made of the wood of a species of the fig tree, usually found near watercourses. It is placed in the South Entrance Hall. The King uses this throne for charitable events such as alms giving and noviciation ceremonies.

(6) The Hantharthana "Brahminy Duck" Throne

This throne is made from the wood of the Thingan or rock dammar tree and is decorated with the stylised figure of a Brahminy duck. It is located in the East Zetawun Hall, which has a three-tiered roof. It is used for religious occasions when the Buddha Image is placed on the throne and on diplomatic occasions when the King receives foreign envoys.

(7) The Gazathana "Elephant" Lotus Throne

This throne is made of the wood of the "Sagar" (champak) tree and the pedestal is adorned with the elephant motif. Its place is in the Privy Council Hall. This is the throne from where the King issues royal orders and edicts.

(8) The Thinkharthana "Conch Shell" Throne

This throne whose base is decorated with the 'conch shell' motif, is madeof the wood of the Jack Fruit tree. It is placed in the Open Air Balcony, which is also called the Royal Crown Room. It is used on occasions for granting royal audience as well as when the King occasionally listened to religious sermons.

The ancient Kings of Myanmar thus used 9 thrones each with its own functions and respective motifs of lion, lotus, bee, peacock, deer, hintha, elephant and conch shell, which were considered auspicious. But of the 9 existing thrones 8 were destroyed by fire in the Second World War. Only one of the two Lion Thrones survived. This throne has been renovated and refurbished in its original  splendour and is  now on display at the National Museum for the benefit of scholars and researchers.

 

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