Art/ Collection/ Art Object
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Rangoon: Henzas on the East Side of the Shwe Dagon Pagoda

Artist:
Linnaeus Tripe (British, Devonport (Plymouth Dock) 1822–1902 Devonport)
Date:
November 1855
Medium:
Albumen silver print from waxed paper negative
Dimensions:
Image: 26.1 x 34.3 cm (10 1/4 x 13 1/2 in.) Mount: 45.7 x 58.4 cm (18 x 23 in.) Mat: 20 × 24 in. (50.8 × 61 cm)
Classification:
Photographs
Credit Line:
Purchase, The Buddy Taub Foundation, Dennis A. Roach and Jill Roach, Directors, and Alfred Stieglitz Society Gifts, 2012
Accession Number:
2012.323.30
Not on view
Taken from the wide platform on which the Shwe Dagon Pagoda rested, this photograph shows four wooden posts topped with carvings of birds that constituted pious offerings. Burmese art featured various birds, including the hintha, which Tripe called "henza." Usually identified as a duck or goose, the hintha appears in tales of the previous lives of Gautama. In one of these stories, Gautama takes the form of a hintha and offers guidance to a king regarding the importance of royal benevolence—appropriate to this site in Burma’s royal capital.
Inscription: Artist's "BY THEE I DRAW" blindstamp on mount, recto TC; signed by the artist in black ink on print, recto BRC: "L. Tripe"; letterpress in black ink on white paper affixed to mount, recto BC: "No. 112. Rangoon. Hanzas on the East Side of the Pagoda. // These, painted in bright colours diapered with gold and silver [traces of which still remain] must have had a very gay appearance. Henza Staves are attached to all Pagodas."; [no inscriptions or annotations on verso]
Linnaeus Tripe; presented to Jame Broun-Ramsay, 1st Marquess of Dalhousie and Governor-General of India, by February 21, 1857; by descent through Broun-Ramsay family; (sold Sotheby's London, May 9, 2012, lot 211); [Hans P. Kraus, Jr. Inc., New York]

National Gallery of Art, Washington D.C. "Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860," September 21, 2014–January 4, 2015.

The Metropolitan Museum of Art. "Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860," February 18, 2015–May 25, 2015.

Victoria and Albert Museum. "Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852–1860," June 23, 2015–October 11, 2015.

Dewan, Janet. The Photographs of Linnaeus Tripe: A Catalogue Raisonné. Toronto: Art Gallery of Ontario, 2003. pp. 205-312.



Cat. no. 29 in Captain Linnaeus Tripe: Photographer of India and Burma, 1852-1860.

The negative for this image is held in the Royal Photographic Society Collection of the National Media Museum (RPS:21728)

The portfolio from which 2012.323.1–.30 came was unknown at the time of the publication of Dewan's catalogue raisonné (2003).

The original portfolio wrapper for this group of photographs is held in the collection of the National Gallery of Art, Washington, DC.

Linnaeus Tripe began to photograph in Britain in the early 1850s, while on leave from his post as an officer in the 12th Madras Infantry. Soon after he returned to India in 1854 he was appointed by Lord Dalhousie, Governor General of India, as an “Artist in Photography” to accompany a mission to the court of Ava, Burma. In thirty days of actual shooting between August and November 1855, Tripe made well over 200 large format paper negatives, from which 120 were selected to be printed in an edition of fifty. The present group comes from a set presented to Lord Dalhousie by Tripe in February 1857.
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