VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Wall painting of Marnat (Fragment)
5886-07
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The wall paintings in Pagan temples are quite different in artistic quality. According to the donor´s wealth, they ranged from simple and folk-like to very elaborate and refined. The one shown here is of medium quality, but is among the better ones in our collection. It is not included here for its beauty, which it certainly has, but also to commemorate the beauty of Pagan, which, due to acts of vandalism like Thomann´s, is now not complete any more.

History of the Object
This secco painting was applied to an inner wall of Theinmazi Pagoda in the 13th century. It probably shows the adversary of the Buddha, Mara, which in Burmese language is called Marat. It was probably the donation of a pious buddhist, meant to adorn the pagoda and accumulate good karma on the donor. In the early 20th Century, this fragment, together with many others, were removed from the wall and stolen by the German adventurer, Theodor Thomann. Back in Germany, he offered his acquisitions for sale via the dealer Umlauff, from whom our museum bought it. In the 1970s, a member of the German Bundestag (Parliament) suggested the restitution of Thomanns looty to Burma. Talks between the foreign offices of both countries ensued. The Burmese representatives then decided to leave the pieces in the hands of our museum, since they were part of the permanent exhibition and had been preserved well, whereas in Pagan money to conserve the pagodas was then scarce.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Colours on plaster 
Measurements
H 52 cm, W 22 cm. 
Creator name
unknown 
Creator date
unknown 
Where it was made
Myanmar; Pagan 
Geography
Myanmar 
Time period
AD 13th century ~ AD 13th century 
Creation date
13th Century 
Function
Wall painting from Theinmazi pagoda at Pagan. 
Acquisition
The museum bought this piece together with numerous others from the same collection, from the Hamburg dealer Umlauff in 1907. 
Copyright
Saal/Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg 
Museum
Museum of Ethnology, Hamburg 
Credit line
Museum für Völkerkunde Hamburg, Inv.Nr. 5886:07 

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