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Introduction:
The Western Discovery of Pagan
    Tyre whole, as seen from the river, might pass for a scene in another planet, so fantastic and unearthly was the architecture. Henry Yule, 1855
    THIS WORK is in all senses an introduction to the art and architecture of the Pagan Dynasty. It is perhaps the first `art history' of the three periods into which the art of the dynasty may be, divided, according to transition in style, conception, and, to a lesser extent, iconography. Such a work has been conceived as being of use to both the scholar and the more interested visitor to Pagan. This is always an awkward balance, but it is hoped that in addition to guiding the traveller about the city and its many monuments, it will explain something of the dynastic art's origins and evolutions and something of the monuments' functions and the conceptions underlying their construction,
No complete study in English of the dynastic art and architecture of Pagan has been attempted before. What scholarship that exists is often confusing or even contradictory in its conclusions. Furthermore, 'art history', that is, the analysis of style, its origins and end, the transition of motif and form, has, as a discipline, never been applied to the art of the Pagan dynasty.
An assortment of learned articles on the ethnography, epigraphy, orthography and iconography of the period and one major three-volume analysis of the Early Period, by G.H. Luce, were the main contribution of colonial period scholarship. Even the Archaeological Survey of India was scant in its exploration of the city and in the various reports running through the colonial period it appears that resources were applied to conservation rather than exploration. Unlike the French and Dutch parts of South East Asia, there was little attempt to record systematically and analyse the monuments found here. It has not been till this decade that the Ecole Francaise d'Extreme-Orient have applied their own more systematic and meticulous tradition of archaeological analysis in recording the city's monuments in their entirety.
     This book has been built upon over a century of Pagan studies by Westerners. Even today, numerous monuments have escaped study, and in the following chapters significant omissions are numerous. (It was not until the sixties, over one hundred years since the first analysis of the monuments by Henry Yule, that the highly significant pan temple was discovered by the Bohmu Ba Shin and his group.') This work represents a reorganisation of existing scholarship, a reinterpretation of many past theories that have not worn well with time, a more balanced periodisatidn, and, to a limited extent, the introduction of a number previously unpublished monuments. Thus, this book is perhaps little more than a synthesis and revision of existing work, attempting to guide and encourage, rather than to define and state. Much work remains to be done at Pagan, not just in restoration and conservation, but in exploration and study. In the past, historical research at Pagan has mainly involved the translation and study of contemporary epigraphy, indeed, a valid and elucidating source for understanding contemporary events, society and religious life. It is intended that this book will `introduce' the possibility that the monuments themselves, all 2,217 of them, are an equally valid and elucidating source for an understanding of the dynasty in all its aspects. Through the study of these temples and stupas; their origins and development; the cosmology and the conceptions behind them; their ornament within and without; their forms, and the functions that related to these forms, a vision of all that Pagan was begins to unfold itself. G.H. Luce, the doyen of Pagan studies, spent a lifetime of research and study in Burma and produced a life's work named Early a work that is encyclopedic in scope and erudite in its scholarship, that Luce himself likened "to a torso without head or feet".4 For, though three volumes were filled with meticulous analysis of Pagan's history, iconography and architecture, only the `Early Period' and part of the `Middle Period' were included, in other words up to the completion of the great and mysterious gyi temple in the mid-12th century: the end of the experimental phase . in architecture. Luce's masterpiece, together with the great corpus of his learned articles, are much referred to in the following chapters. It is to Luce that any student of Burma's early history, art and archaeology is indebted and here it must be emphasised that without Luce's pioneering work the writing of this book would never have been possible. Any pioneering study, by its nature, must err in places, and though certain of Luce's

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