Burma to Myanmar
Imprint: British Museum
272 Pages, 8.6 x 9.8 in, 200
- December 2023
From influential superpower to repressive regime, Myanmar – also known as Burma – has seen dramatic fluctuations in fortune over the past 1,500 years.
Interconnected yet isolated, rich in natural resources such as jade, rubies and teak but with many of its peoples living below the poverty line, Myanmar is a country that defies categorization. Its cultures have been shaped by their engagements with religious networks, expansionist empires and global trade routes from India and China to Africa, the Middle East and Europe. It was once home to different kingdoms, principalities and chiefdoms that interacted with one another and further afield. The colonial period under British rule saw dramatic changes and upon independence in 1948, the various parts of the country were brought together, many for the first time, into a single nation state. Since then Myanmar has been engulfed by long running civil wars.
This beautiful book explores Myanmar’s complexities, focusing on the extraordinary and innovative arts of its diverse peoples to create a long history of the region. Featuring objects such as sparkling gems, sumptuous court dress, intricately carved furniture, elaborate silver vessels, satirical cartoons and contemporary art, from the 400s CE to the present day, this book is a testament to the creativity and variety of Myanmar’s many peoples.
Introduction – Alexandra Green
1. Natural resources and geography – Alexandra Kaloyanides
2. Bagan: a cosmopolitan Buddhist kingdom – Thaw Zin Latt, P.P.K. and Alexandra Green
3. States and networks: expansion and contraction, 1500–1900 – Alexandra Green
4. The British colonial period – Alexandra Green
5. The Karen and their textiles: from natural to synthetic dyeing practices – Caroline Cartwright, Joanne Dyer, Diego Tamburini and Alexandra Green
6. Myanmar in the world: the Second World War – Maitrii Aung-Thwin and Arthur Swan Ye Tun
7. Thinking about minoritised communities – Mandy Sada
8. Material culture after independence – Anonymous and Alexandra Green
9. Modern and contemporary art activism (1948–present) – Melissa Carlson
List of contributors