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Cheong, Conan (2020) 'Kingship and Procreation in a Pyu Viṣṇu Anantaśāyin Stone Relief from Śrīkṣetra [သရေခေတ္တရာရှိ ဗိဿနိုး အနန္တသာရင် ကျောက်စစ်ရုပ်တု၏ မင်းရိုက်ရာ နှင့် စည်ပင်ပြန့်ပွါးခြင်း].' Pratu: Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia, 1 (1). pp. 1-16.

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This paper examines closely a stone relief carving found in 1919 at the Pyu city of Śrīkṣetra in Myanmar, which appears to be an unusual variant of the Viṣṇu Anantaśāyin iconographic type — the lotus stem germinating from the reclining Viṣṇu’s navel sprouts not one, but three lotus seats, with a recursion of Viṣṇu now flanked by Brahmā on the right and Śiva on the left. Only six images depicting this iconographic variant of Viṣṇu Anantaśāyin have been found in Myanmar. Taking to heart Elizabeth Moore’s calls to complicate the “ethnic and linguistic homogeneity of ‘Pyu culture’ [which] has become entrenched in Burmese archaeology,” this paper seeks to suggest alternative ways of thinking about such Pyu art. It considers the apparent reinterpretation of Viṣṇu’s Creator-function in this particular Viṣṇu Anantaśāyin image in relation to his possible cadastral functions, to the Bagan king Kyanzittha’s conceptions of kingship which are clearly linked to the foundation of Śrīkṣetra, and to Buddhist lineages as reflected in, for example, the succession of the four Buddhas of the Past.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: Bagan, Bodhisatta, fecundity, kingship, Kyanzittha, lineage, Pyu, Viṣṇu Anantaśāyin
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
SOAS Open Access Journals
SOAS Open Access Journals > Pratu: Journal of Buddhist and Hindu Art, Architecture and Archaeology of Ancient to Premodern Southeast Asia
Subjects: C Auxiliary Sciences of History > CC Archaeology
N Fine Arts > N Visual arts (General)
ISSN: 2634176X
Copyright Statement: Articles are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY-NC 4.0). This enables all content to be shared, copied and redistributed in any medium or format, with permissible exceptions where required. See individual figure captions for the copyright status of illustrations. For more information see
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 08 Apr 2020 08:01

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