Buddhist Arts - a photographic journal

Nanpaya or Nan-hpaya

Location: Myinkaba Village, south-west sector. Situated south-west of Manuha Hpaya.

Year Built:  Built in  the 11th century. 

Architectural details: Beautiful stone carvings fill this temple. There are 8 life sized images of the Hindu god, Brahma adorning 4 piers using sandstone.  Carvings on window pediments, arches and plinths include a Makara (fanciful crocodile), overflowing vases under window arches with Buddha images carved above them. There are 3 headed Buddhas and a plinth with goose amidst foliage. There are friezes with original paint. I have examples of them below in the pictures. It’s also known for its dramatic inner lighting.

Construction: Built with bricks inside and surfaced with sandstone (from bottom to top). It includes an inner sanctum. This is a rare stone temple in Bagan. Only one other can claim this distinction, the Kayauk-ku-umin. This is remarked by Pierre Pichard in vol. 5 of Inventory of Monuments in Pagan, “There is a clear conceptual similarity between temples Nan-hpaya and Kyaukku-umin, beside being the only monuments in Pagan where brick walls are faced with stone, they are also the only ones wherethe shrine is not enclosed by a wall but circumscribed by pillars (4 in Nan-hpaya, 2 in Kyaukku’umin); in both cases, the surrounding space becomes an aisle rather than a corridor.

elevation and section Nanpaya, from Pichard's Inventory of Monuments at Pagan

Ancient Pagan: Buddhist Plain of Merit, Donald Stadtner, River Books, 2013
Pagan: Art and Architecture of Old Burma, Paul Strachan, Kiscadale Publications, 1989
Guide to Bagan Monuments by Min Bu Aung Kyaing, U Zaw Min Aye (Zaw Press), 2007
Inventory Of Monuments In Bagan, Pierre Pichard, UNESCO, 8 volumes, 1992-2001