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An example of a pyathat-roofed building at Wat Srichum in Lampang, Thailand

The Mandalay Palace's Great Audience Hall features a prominent seven-tiered

Pyatthat (Burmese ???????, IPA [pja??a?]; from Sanskrit prasada; Mon ??????? IPA
[tan.c?i??]; also spelt pyathat) is the name of a multistaged roof, with an odd
number of tiers (from three to seven).[1] The pyatthat is commonly incorporated
into Burmese Buddhist and royal architecture (e.g., kyaungs, palace buildings,
pagodas) and towers above the image of the Buddha or other sacred places (e.g.,
royal thrones and city gates).[1]

Contents [hide]
1 Construction
2 History
3 Gallery
4 References
5 See also
The pyatthat is made of successive gabled rectangular roofs in an exaggerated
pyramidal shape, with an intervening box-like structure called the lebaw (???????)
between each roof.[1] The pyatthat is crowned with a wooden spire called the taing
bu (????????) or kun bu (????????) depending on its shape, similar to the hti, an
umbrella ornament that crowns Burmese pagodas. The edges of each tier are gold-
gilded decorative designs made of metal sheet, with decorative ornaments called du
yin (?????) at the corners (analogous to the Thai chofah). There are three primary
kinds of pyatthat, with the variation being the number of tiers called boun (???,
from Pali bhumi). Three-tiered, five-tiered and seven-tiered roofs are called
yahma, thooba, and thooyahma, respectively.[2]


A mural scene depicting a brick pyatthat roofed structure in Inwa.

The usage of the pyatthat began early in Burmese architecture, with examples dating
to the Pagan period.[3] Prominent examples from this era that feature the pyatthat
include the Ananda Temple and Gawdawpalin Temple.

In pre-colonial Burma, the pyatthat was a prominent feature in the royal buildings,
which itself symbolized Tavatimsa, a Buddhist heaven. Above the main throne in the
king's primary audience hall was a nine-tiered pyatthat, with the tip representing
Mount Meru (??????????) and the lower six tiers representing the six adobes of the
devas and of humans.[4] Furthermore, the 12 city gates of Burmese royal capitals
were crowned with pyatthats, with the main ones used by royalty possessing five
tiers, and the others possessing five tiers.[5]

In pre-colonial Burma, sumptuary laws restricted the usage of pyatthats to royal

and religious buildings,[6] and regulated the number of tiers appertaining to each
grade of official rank,[7] The nine-tiered pyatthat was reserved solely for the
kingdom's sovereign, while the sawbwas of important tributary states were entitled
to seven-tiered pyatthats.[8]

King Mindon's Tomb, Mandalay.jpg

Mandalay Palace entrance.JPG

Mandalay palace 10.jpg

King Thibaw's State Barge on the Mandalay Moat.jpg

^ Jump up to a b c Hla, U Kan (1977). Pagan Development and Town Planning. Journal
of the Society of Architectural Historians. 36 (1) 1529. doi10.2307989143.
Jump up ^ Scott, James George (1910). The Burman, His Life and Notions.
BiblioBazaar. p. 126. ISBN 978-1-115-23195-4.
Jump up ^ Strachan, Paul (1990). Imperial Pagan art and architecture of Burma.
University of Hawaii Press. ISBN 978-0-8248-1325-3.
Jump up ^ Ferguson, John (1981). Essays on Burma. Brill Archive. p. 53. ISBN 978-
Jump up ^ Michael, Aung-Thwin (1986). Heaven, Earth, and the Supernatural World
Dimensions of the Exemplary Center in Burmese History. Journal of Developing
Societies. 2.
Jump up ^ Fraser-Lu, Sylvia (1994). Burmese Crafts Past and Present. Oxford
University Press. ISBN 9780195886085.
Jump up ^ Tilly, Henry L. (1903). Wood Carving Of Burma. Burma Superintendent,
Government Printing.
Jump up ^ Nisbet, John (1901). Burma Under British Rule--and Before. A. Constable.
See also[edit]
Prang (architecture)
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Pyatthats.
Categories RoofsBuddhist architectureBurmese words and phrases
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