Buddhist Arts - a photographic journal

Temple No. 820

Temple No. 820, Bagan, Myanmar

Some History

Temple No. 820 was built in the 11th or 12th century judging by architectural style. The stucco work appears to be unusual to this time. It is located in a settlement called Otein Taung or O-hein-taung. 

Bob Hudson, NyeinN Lwin, AND Win Maung in an article published in  Asian Perspectives, Spring 2001 – “We now propose a tentative history of Otein Taung, based on a combination of archaeological evidence, notably the radiocarbon dates, and data from the Inventory of Monuments. It appears that by the ninth century A.D. people in this area had begun to create an accumulation of debris involving pottery and burnt carbon-based materials. In the twelfth century, the settlement appears to have supported the construction of a large temple, monument 820, halfway between the two mounds, by ceding land and by providing resources in the form of bricks.” They go on to describe this temple further,   as being built with Pyu bricks “across the time span of medieval Bagan, including the large temple, 820, in the center of the Otein Taung site.” 

Destruction & Renovation

Temple 820 was renovated “at a cost of 120 lakhs of kyats which was donated by Venerable Shi Fa.” [Minbu Aung Kyaing, “Guide to Bagan Monuments”, p. 129]. I have no idea how much money that is.

Pictures  provided by Pierre Pichard, reveal that the SE corner turret was the only turret remaining. You can see it in the picture of the Temple – it is the one that is gray and not built with new bricks. It was filled with debris about 18 feet high. The renovation happened sometime between 1994 when Volume 4 of Pichard’s Inventory was published and 2009, when I took these pictures. I cannot find any indication of the dating of the stucco sculptures inside, but this style of stucco art was popular when 820 Temple was built.