Mandalay and the Art of Building Cities in Burma

$48.00 SGD

Forthcoming! Publishing March 2021 in Asia

by François Tainturier

Drawing on original Burmese texts and illustrations, recent scholarship and mapping,  Mandalay and the Art of Building Cities in Burma argues that the founding of Mandalay shifted critically in emphasis and scale from a protocol that established the royal city as a ‘cosmic city’ to one that materialized the royal capital as a sanctuary. In the process, the founding protocol used Buddhist narratives as models for action and drastically altered patterns of spatial order prevalent at former royal capitals.

The book renews scholarly discussion on Southeast Asian urban traditions and offers a critical investigation into the ‘cosmic’ dimensions of one of the region’s centers of power. It provides further insight into how rulers articulated lineage, power, and promotion of Buddhism by creating potent landscapes. The systematic planning of Mandalay and construction of its potent landscape constituted the expression, not formulated in words but in tangible form, of the throne’s claim of Burma as a ‘Buddhist land’ (Buddha-desa) at a time when Lower Burma had been annexed by non-Buddhist believers.


François Tainturier is the executive director of the Inya Institute, a Yangon-based higher learning institute dedicated to advancing the social sciences and the humanities as they are related to Myanmar.


Publication year: 2021
272pp / 235 x 187 mm (portrait)
80 colour images, 5 b/w images
Published with the support of the Chen Cheong Swee Fund of Yale-NUS College and the Royal Asiatic Society