Pyatthat

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An example of a pyathat-roofed building at Wat Srichum in Lampang, Thailand
The Mandalay Palace's Great Audience Hall features a prominent seven-tiered pyatthat.

Pyatthat (Burmese: ပြာသာဒ်, IPA: [pjaʔθaʔ]; from Sanskrit prāsāda; Mon: တန်ဆံၚ် IPA: [tan.cʰi̤ŋ]; also spelt pyathat) is the name of a multi-tiered and spired roof commonly found in Burmese royal and Buddhist architecture, especially pagoda compounds, monasteries and palace buildings.

Construction[edit]

The pyatthat is made of successive roofs, with a box-like structure between each roof called the lebaw (လည်ပေါ်). It is topped off with a finial called the taing bu (တိုင်ဖူး) or kun bu (ကွန်းဖူး) depending on its shape, similar to the hti, an umbrella ornament that tops Burmese pagodas. The edges of each tier are gold-gilded decorative designs made of metal sheet, with decorative ornaments called du yin (တုရင်) at the corners (analogous to the Thai chofah). There are three primary kinds of pyatthat, with the variation being the number of tiers called boun (ဘုံ, from Pali bhumi). Three-tiered, five-tiered and seven-tiered roofs are called yahma, thooba, and thooyahma,] respectively.[1]

History[edit]

The usage of the pyatthat began early in Burmese architecture, with examples dating to the Pagan period.[2] Prominent examples from this era that feature the pyatthat include the Ananda Temple and Gawdawpalin Temple.

In pre-colonial Burma, the pyatthat was a prominent feature in the royal palaces, which itself symbolized Tavatimsa, a Buddhist heaven. Above the main throne in the king's primary audience hall was a seven-tiered pyatthat, with the tip representing Mount Meru (မြင်းမိုရ်) and the lower six tiers representing the six adobes of the devas and of humans.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Scott, James George (1910). The Burman, His Life and Notions. BiblioBazaar. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-115-23195-4. 
  2. ^ Strachan, Paul (1990). Imperial Pagan: art and architecture of Burma. University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1325-3. 
  3. ^ Ferguson, John (1981). Essays on Burma. Brill Archive. p. 53. ISBN 978-90-04-06323-5. 

See also[edit]