Organization - Bagan Archaeological Museum

Bagan Archaeological Museum
Basic Information
English Bagan Archaeological Museum
Local language
Country Myanmar
Category Government Agency Government-Affiliated Organization Research Institute Museum
Domain Social Practices, Rituals and Festive Events
Knowledge and Practices Concerning Nature and the Universe
Function Research
Promotion
Established year The first Archaeological Museum was open in 1904, the second octagonal shape archaeological museum was open in 1979. The present museum was open in 17th April, 1998.
Objectives

The vision of our ministry is to uplift moral and morality of the entire nation, national prestige and integrity, and to preserve and safeguard cultural heritage and national character, as well as the dynamism of the patriotic spirit.

The mission is to love and cherish the country and the people by taking pride in traditions as well as by preserving, exposing, and propagating Myanmar cultural heritage from the lengthy history of Myanmar.

The Bagan Archaeological Museum is a museum under the ministry of Religious Affairs and Culture. Bagan Archaeological Museum’s exhibitions policy and objectives are as follows:

  • To elucidate rich and advanced cultural heritage;
  • To educate the public;
  • To promote literature starting from the Bagan period;
  • To showcase ancient religious monuments of architecture;
  • To showcase arts and crafts developed in the Bagan period;
  • To showcase religious statues of cultural heritage, mostly from the Bagan period, as well as religious, social, and literary arts and crafts for new generations and all visitors.

 

Introduction

In 1902, Mr. Taw Sein Kho, superintendent of the former epigraphic office, which is now the department of archaeology, built a museum to the north of Ananda Temple, in which stone inscriptions and archaeological objects collected around Bagan were displayed. It is the first archeological museum in Myanmar and was opened in 1904. It was a small museum and display was not systematic, for it looked as though the collections were just piled up in a storehouse. Besides, within sixty years of its existence, the museum had acquired an abundance of artifacts and antiquities which it could no longer accommodate.

 

On a site of 8.16 acres to the south of Gowdawpallin Temple within old Bagan, a modern museum was built and opened on 1 October 1979. It was a complex of four buildings and an octagonal structure in which ancient artistic objects were displayed, and three sheds where stone inscriptions, stone sculptures and other large-size archaeological finds were exhibited.

Early in 1995, three sheds were demolished, but the octagonal structure was left intact. A new magnificent world class museum was constructed and inaugurated on 17 April 1998. This museum area is 10.97 acres. Its ground plan measure 380 feet from east to west and 360 feet from north to south.

This new museum is a two-story building not only grand and imposing, but also adorned inside and outside with traditional Myanmar decorative arts-stucco, wood carving, floral design, shwezawar lacquer work, painting, and tapestry.

There are six display rooms on the ground floor arranged as follows:

  1. Principle chamber or special display room.
  2. Show room of Bagan period arts and crafts.
  3. Show room of Bagan period architecture.
  4. Show room of Bagan period social life.
  5. Show room of Bagan period literature.
  6. Show room of Bagan period Palace City.

The first floor features the following four display rooms:

  1. Art gallery of Bagan period ancient monuments.
  2. Art gallery of Bagan period mural paintings.
  3. Show room of Bagan period Buddhist art.
  4. Show room of Bagan period Buddha images.

Principle Chamber of Special Display Room

In this room, two heads, one of a Buddha and one of a monk, are displayed. It shows the eight major events of Buddha’s life, bronze statues of four famous kings kyanzittha, and the construction of the palace. It has a large three-dimensional panorama view of a Bagan painting on the wall. The ceiling and pillars were decorated with traditional Myanmar art.

Show Room of Bagan Period Arts and Crafts

In this room, the displayed objects are not only arts and crafts of the Bagan period but also those of later periods found in the Bagan area. Objects include glazed plaques, floral designs of stucco, stone sculptures of the 550 Jataka stories, Pyu Coins, bronze and clay artifacts, and an original cloth painting from the eleventh century.

Show Room of Bagan Period Architecture

This room features models of various architectural types of ancient monuments built in the Bagan period as well as different types of arches from various monuments in Bagan.

Show Room of Social Life of Bagan Period

This room displays a plan of the Sin Phyu Shin complex, a Buddhist University of the Bagan period, as well as a miniature model of an eleventh-century village called Thiri Pyitsaya situated on the bank of Ayayarwady River. Also displayed is a painting of the production of jiggery, the process of lacquerware and dam construction in ancient time.

Show Room of Bagan Period Literature

In this room is displayed the original Myazedi stone inscription in four languages: Pyu, Mon, Myanmar, and Paii, each on one face of the quadrilateral stone pillar. Which was listed in Memory of the World (MoW) is 2015. Exhibits display inscriptions on stone, brick, terracotta tablets, lead plates, wooden plates, palm leaves, and clay seals; ink writings on walls; and copies of king kyansittha’s stone inscription in old Mon recording the building of his palace and his royal orders.

Show Room of Bagan Palace City

In this room is a miniature of palace built by King Anawrahtta, who founded the first Myanmar nation in the eleventh century. In addition, there are models of weapons, explanations of the spirit of King Kyanzittha and relationships with neighboring countries.

Art gallery of Bagan Period Ancient Monuments

This is a gallery of paintings of Bagan period ancient monuments. Each contains the monument’s present condition, plan, and complete design in ancient times.

Art gallery of Bagan Period Mural Paintings

This is a gallery of paintings copied off mural paintings from ancient monuments of the Bagan period, between the eleventh and the thirteenth century. There is also a special exhibit of a Buddha statue from the eleventh century. It is a rare antique cast in an alloy of five metals: gold, silver, bronze, tin, and lead called Pyinsaloha. There are also two statues of a seated Buddha made with gold and silver from the twelfth century. These were found at the temple 1515 in 2002.

Show room of Bagan Period Buddhist Art

This show room features different Buddhas made of terracotta, wood, dolomite, bronze, stone, gold, silver, and others. It shows the eight major events of Buddha’s life with a skillfully decorated dolomite plaque and bronze lotus bud from the eleventh century. The events are decorated in ancient Bagan monument designs, such as stuccos, mural paintings, and sand stone. It has another five-metal-alloy Buddha statue found in the Pasittoke Pagoda near the old palace in old Bagan.

Show room of Bagan Period Buddha Images

In this show room are displayed not only Buddha images of the Bagan period but also those of later periods found in the Bagan area from the eleventh to the nineteenth century. They are made of different materials, including bronze, sand stone, wood, lacquer, and marble.

Bagan Archaeological Museum comprises two main sections: excavation and curatorial. In the excavation section, excavation work is conducted, and antiquities and epigraphs are collected. The curatorial section handles public relations and education, administration, conservation, and engineering.

 

The museum provides free admission for students, and visitors are guided by museum curators.

Major Activities

Bagan Archaeological Museum is now carrying out tasks such as collecting a wide variety of objects from the Bagan area and doing conservation work on museum objects. The archaeological museum’s tasks are to carry out the following activities:

  • Preservation and conservation of museum objects.
  • Object displays (permanent and temporary).
  • Public education and public relations for the purpose of community engagement.
  • collecting data, conducting research, keeping records on literature and culture.

Other major activities of our museum include special exhibitions, workshops and training, museum objects collection, research paper writing, excavation, and providing explanations to visitors.

The purpose of museum education is to enhance visitors’ and students’ ability to understand the museum collections. Visitors study cultural heritage, as the museum displays objects that are connected to the past and future. The education program we provide explains the history of the museum’s displayed objects. Our museum conducts several exhibitions geared towards developing the museum’s public sharing.

Bagan Archaeological Museum has become a center for dissemination of information pertaining to the country’s rich antiquities. The curational staff has conducted continuous research programs on various subjects, particularly in history and cultural heritage.

Contact Information (Organization)
Website
Address South of Gadawpalin Pagoda, Bagan Ancient City, Nyaung U District, Mandalay Division, Myanmar
Tel 95-61-60557
Fax 95-61-60557
E-mail archaeologicalmuseumbgn@gmail.com

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