Lion Throne of Burma

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The original Lion Throne at the National Museum Yangon

The Lion Throne (also known as Sihasana or Thihathana Palin; Burmese: သီဟသနပလ္လင်) is one of the eight historic thrones used by the Burmese monarchs. Seven of them were destroyed by fire during the allied bombing of World War II, but the Lion Throne was saved, because the throne was transported to India in 1885 after the Third Anglo-Burmese War, and later returned.

Decorative elements of the throneEdit

 
Small lion figurines inside the niche of the throne.

As small lion figurines are placed inside the niches of the throne, it is called the Thihathana Throne or Royal Lion Throne. It is made out of yamane wood (Gmelina arborea). The upper portion of the throne is called "U-gin". There are eleven Chakra and Devas at the both sides of U-gin floral carvings. There are the peacock figurines, which represent the sun, and the hare figurine, which represents the moon, depicted on the proper left and right sides of the door jambs.

 
A statue of Lokanat which symbolizes peace at the left side of the throne

It was believed that Burmese kings descended from Solar and Lunar dynasties. There are two Guardian Gods of the world (Lokanat) figures on each side of the door. By representing the Trāyastriṃśa ( the abode of gods), 33 figures of Nats (Devas) are installed at the U-gin, the door and door jamb of the throne. At the left and right sides of the throne, there is each a Lokanat figure, together with a flying lion and a flying elephant, as symbols of peace.

History and safeguarding of the last Lion ThroneEdit

 
Painting of the Lion Throne in Amarapura Palace

In total, there were nine thrones of only eight different kinds in the time of the monarchs of Burma. The Lion Throne was used for judicial affairs at the Supreme Court (Hluttaw) of the Myanansankyaw Golden Palace in Yadanabon period (1800s). All of the thrones were constructed during the time of King Bodawpaya (1816) by Shwetaung Nawrahta, the minister of that king, who was in charge of building the palace, including the thrones. There were two Lion Thrones, the original one located at the audience hall and a replica of it, located at the Supreme Court.

 
King Thibaw and Queen Supayalat on the Lion Throne at Mandalay Palace

After King Thibaw was dethroned in 1885, the Lion Throne was taken by the British to India in 1902, where it was displayed at the Indian Museum, Kolkata.[1] After Burma (now Myanmar) regained independence in 1948, it was returned by Lord Mountbatten and housed at the presidential residence on Ahlone Road in Rangoon.[1] On 12 September 1959, the throne was moved to the National Museum for public display, where it remains today.[1]

Use and protocolEdit

 
The stairway leading to the doors of the Lion Throne

The throne was only used three times a year. At the beginning of the Burmese New Year, the beginning and the end of the Buddhist Lent. Whenever a member of the royal court or the royal family wished to hand the king a present, they had to ask permission from the Chief Eunuch and then from the king. When allowed, the giver had to touch the throne with his/her right hand only, as the left hand is thought to be inferior, and the present was given.[2]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "On This Day | Looted Throne Comes Home". The Irrawaddy. 2019-03-12. Retrieved 2019-03-13.
  2. ^ Bamarlay (2009-02-02). "Myanmar Thrones". Myanmar Today. Retrieved 2019-01-29.