Other murals not to be missed are at the Paya Thonzu Temple, some not completed but left as sketched outlines done in swift and graceful strokes of charcoal, as if the artist was interrupted in his work. The Nanda Manya Temple also has beautiful murals including a controversial painting of a line of women of all ages escorting a young girl who by her body language looks reluctant. Some scholars thought it was a virgin bride taken to be deflowered by animist priests while others believe it was to her own wedding.
The beautiful murals at the Ananda Oke Kyaung Monastery and Sulamuni Temple are from Inwa, a post-Bagan period. The style is very different, with arched eyebrows, oval faces, curly lips and delicate, long fingers.
Near the Sale city which is a town 34 miles south of Bagan, there is the Shin Pin Sarkyo Pagoda, believed built by King Nara Patisithu who reigned from 1173 to 1210. The upper parts of the walls in this temple have high-relief stone figures painted in natural colors while just under them are narrow panels of paintings. These wall paintings are unique that we can see three periods in one place: the 11th to 13th century Bagan style which has some Indian influences in the early art work; the 14th to 17th century Inwa style which is elegant and very beautiful; and the rest in the late 18th to 19th century Konbaung style which has fluid, graceful lines and themes that incorporated secular scenes.
Mural Painting Arts in Bagan Temples, Myanmar
A mural — a painting on a wall, ceiling, or other large permanent surface — dated to prehistoric times such as the paintings inside the caves, temples and pagodas. There are many techniques in mural painting arts and the most well known is probably "Fresco", which uses water soluble paints with a damp lime wash. The colors lighten when dried.
In Myanmar, the earliest murals can be seen in Bagan temples which were initially built by the King Anawrahta (1044‒1077 AD). Because of very little lights inside the caves, the paintings still remain as nearly as the original ones, but some of them have been damaged badly due to many circumstances. There are over 300 monuments in Bagan which has mural paintings inside.
Most of the wall paintings are of Buddhist themes, not only as appropriate decoration but to spread the knowledge of the life story of Buddha and the Jataka Tales of his previous lives, especially the ten last ones known as the Ten Great Tales. Mainly white, the black, yellow and red in the first paintings were used. Later, blue and green colors were added. Ocher yellow, ocher and straw were common.
The best and most interesting samples of Bagan works can be seen at Myinkaba Gu Byauk Gyi, Wetkyi In Gubyauk Gyi, Thambula and Abeyadana Temples; the last two were built by the two queens of King Kyansittha, also a great ruler who strengthened Anawrahta's legacy. The Abeyadana is especially interesting as the painting incorporated many tantric elements.
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