Lemyethna Temple (447/ 271 A)

Lemyetnha Temple (447/ 271 A)

The Lemyethna temple, the “Temple of the Four Faces”, is a beautiful example of a single-storeyed temple built in the Late Style.

Resting on a platform, the temple is square in plan, with porches projecting on all four sides, and with the main entrance in the east. The superstructure consists of receding terraces, with crenellated parapets and small stupas at the corners, surmounted by a curvilinear spire which is crowned by a stupa.

The Late Style makes for a bright interior, where there are remnants of murals portraying the 28 Buddhas of the Past, scenes from the Jatakas, and the Final Life of Gotama Buddha. Unfortunately, many of the murals have been lost in whitewash.

The donor of the Lemyethna was Anandathura, a minister at the court of King Htilominlo (1211-1234?), who, with his wife, built the temple in 1223 and left behind an inscription saying:

“Upon a fine platform we built a temple. To enshrine in that temple we encased the holy relics in a sandalwood casket, placed it in a crystal casket, then a red sandalwood casket, then a gold casket, then a silver casket, and lastly into a miniature stone pagoda, the spire of which was made of gold and the golden umbrella of which was hung with pearls and coral. In the chamber of the temple we made four images of the Lord placed back to back and facing the cardinal points, and made them shine wondrously with gems. Many more images were placed around the walls. On the walls were beautifully painted scenes from the 500 Jatakas…”

And for this act of merit Anandathura made the prayer:

“I too desire the boon of becoming an Omniscient Buddha, knowing thoroughly and seeing widely.”

Lemyetnha Temple (Google Map)

Reference Books:

Glimpse of Glorious Bagan, Universities Historical Research Centre, Yangon, Myanmar, The University Press, 1996

Pictorial Guide to Pagan, Ministry of Culture, Yangon, Myanmar, The Printing and Publish Corporation, Reprint 1975

The Pagodas and Monuments of Bagan, Vol. 1, Translated by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, Ministry of Information, Yangon, Myanmar, Graphic Training Centre (G.T.C), 1995

The Pagodas and Monuments of Bagan , Vol. 2, English Text by Dr Khin Maung Nyunt, Ministry of Information, Yangon, Myanmar, Graphic Training Centre (G.T.C), 1998

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