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THE RATH, OR BURMESE IMPERIAL STATE CARRIAGE;

Captured in September, 1825, at Tavoy, a sea-port in the Burmese Empire.

with a prople who, to the impetuous bra- inches : the spokes richly silvered, are very ot savages, added all the artifices of of a very hard wood, called in the east, civilized warfare. We had to do with an iron wood: the felloes are cased in brass, enemy of whose history and resources we and the caps to the naves elegantly de knew absolutely nothing. On those heads signed of bell metal. The pole, also of our information is still but scanty. It is iron wood, is heavy and massive; it was the information which the Rath, or im- destined to be attached to elephants by perial carriage, affords respecting the which the vehicle was intended to be state of the mechanical arts among the drawn upon all grand or state occasions. Burmese, that we consider particularly The extremity of the pole is surmounted curious and interesting.”

by the head and fore part of a dragon, a Before more minute description it may figure of idolatrous worship in the east; be remarked, that the eye is chiefly struck this ornament is boldly executed, and by the fretted golden roof, rising step by richly gilt and ornamented; the scales siep from the square oblong body of the being composed of a curiously coloured carriage, like an ascending pile of rich talc. The other parts of the carriage are shrine - work. “ It consists of seven the wood of the oriental sassafras tree, stages, diminishing in the most skilful which combines strength with lightness, and beautiful proportions towards the and emits a grateful odour; and being hard top. The carving is highly beautiful, and and elastic, is easily worked, and pethe whole structure is set thick with culiarly fitted for carving. The body of stones and gems of considerable value. the carriage is composed of twelve panels, These add little to the effect when seen three on each face or front, and these are from below, but ascending the gallery of subdivided into small squares of the clear the hall, the spectator observes them, and nearly transparent horn of the rhinorelieved by the yellow ground of the gild- ceros and buffalo, and other animals of ing, and sparkling beneath him like dew- eastern idolatry. These squares are set in drops in a field of cowslips. Their pre- broad gilt frames, studded at every angle sence in so elevated a situation well with raised silvered glass mirrors : the serve to explain the accuracy of finish higher part of these panels has a range of preserved throughout, even in the nicest rich small looking-glasses, intended to and most minute portions of the work. reflect the gilding of the upper, or pagoda Gilt metal bells, with large heart-shaped stages. chrystal drops attached to them, surround The whole body is set in, or supported the lower stages of the pagoda, and, when by four wreathed dragon-like figures, the carriage is put in motion, emit a soft fantastically entwined to answer the purand pleasing sound."* The apex of the poses of pillars to the pagoda roof, and roof is a pinnacle, called the tee, elevated carved and ornamented in a style of on a pedestal. The tee is an emblem of vigour and correctress that would do royalty. It is formed of movable belts, or credit to a European designer : the scaly coronals, of gold, wherein are set large or body part are of talc, and the eyes of amethysts of a greenish or purple colour : pale ruby stones. its summit is a small banner, or vane, O. The interior roof is latticed with small crystal.

looking-glasses studded with mirrors as The length of the carriage itself is thir- on the outside panels: the bottom or teen feet seven inches; or, if taken from flooring of the body is of matted cane, the extremity of the pole, twenty-eight covered with crimson cloth, edged with feet five inches. Its width is six feet nine gold lace, and the under or frame part inches, and its height, to the summit

of of the carriage is of matted cane in the tee, is nineteen feet two inches. The panels. carriage body is five feet seven inches The upper part of each face of the body in length, by four feet six inches in width, is composed of sash glasses, set in broad and its height, taken from the interior, gilt frames, to draw up and let down after is five feet eight inches. The four wheels the European fashion, but without case or are of uniform height, are remarkable for lining to protect the glass from fracture their lightness and elegance, and the pe- when down; the catches to secure them culiar mode by which the spokes are se- when up are simple and curious, and the cured, and measure only four feet two strings of these glasses are wove crimson

cotton. On the frames of the glasses is much writing in the Burmese character

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• The British Press.

but the language being utterly unknown the carbuncle, a stone little known to us, in this country, cannot be deciphered; it but in high estimation with the ancients. is supposed to be adulatory sentences to Behind the carriage are two figures; their the “ golden monarch" seated within. lower limbs are tattooed, as is the

The body is staid by braces of leather; custom with the Burmese : from their the springs, which are of iron, richly gilt, position, being on one knee, their hands differ not from the present fashionable C raised and open, and their eyes directed spring, and allow the carriage an easy as in the act of firing, they are supposed and agreeable motion. The steps merely 10 have borne a representation of the hook on to the outside : it is presumed carbine, or some such fire-arm weapon of they were destined to be carried by an defence, indicative of protection. attendant; they are light and elegantly The pagoda roof constitutes the most formed of gilt metal, with cane threads. beautiful, and is, in short, the only impo

A few years previous to the rupture sing ornament of the carriage. The gildwhich placed this carriage in the posses- ing is resplendent, and the design and sion of the British, the governor-general carving of the rich borders which adorn of India, having heard that his Burmese each stage are no less admirable. These majesty was rather curious in his car- borders are studded with amethysts riuges, one was sent to him some few emeralds, jargoon diamonds, garnets years since, by our governor-general, but hyacinths, rubies, tourmalines, and other it failed in exciting his admiration-he precious gems, drops of amber and crystal said it was not so handsome as his own. being also interspersed. Froin every Its having lamps rather pleased him, but angle ascends a light spiral gilt ornament, he ridiculed other parts of it, particularly, enriched with crystals and emeralds. that a portion so exposed to being soiled This pagoda roofing, as well as that of as the steps, should be folded and put up the great imperial palace, and of the within side.

state war-boat or barge, bears an exact The Burmese are yet ignorant of that similitude to the chief sacred temple at useful formation of the fore part of the Shoemadro. The Burman sovereign, the carriage, which enables those of European king of Ava, with every eastern Bhuddish manufacture to be turned and directed monarch, considers himself sacred, and with such facility: the fore part of that claims to be worshipped in common with now under description, does not admit of deity itself; so that when enthroned in a lateral movement of more than four his palace, or journeying on warlike or inches, it therefore requires a very ex- pleasurable excursions in his carriage, tended space in order to bring it com- he becomes an object of idolatry. pletely round.

The seat or throne for the inside is On a gilt bar before the front of the movable, for the purpose of being taken body, with their heads towards the car- out and used in council or audience on a riaye, stand two Japanese peacocks, a journey. It is a low seat of cane work, bird which is held sacred by this super- richly gilt, folding in the centre, and costitious people; their figure and plumage vered by a relvet cushion. The front is are so perfectly represented, as to convey studded with almost every variety of prethe natural appearance of life; two others cious stone, disposed and contrasted with to correspond are perched on a bar be- the greatesi taste and skill. The centre bind. On the fore part of the frame of belt is particularly rich in gems, and the the carriage, mounted on a silvered pe- rose-like clusters or circles are uniformly destal, in a kneeling position, is the tee- composed of what is termed the stones of bearer, a small carved image with a lofty the onent: viz. pearl, coral, sapphire, golden wand in his hands,surmounted with cornelian, cat's-eye, emerald, and ruby. a small tee, the emblem of sovereignty : le A range of buffalo-horn panels ornament is richly dressed in green velvet, the fron the front and sides of the throne, at each laced with jargoon diamonds, with a end of which is a recess, for the body of triple belt round the body, of blue sap- a lion like jos-god figure, called Sing, a phires, emeralds, and jargoon diamonds; mythological lion, very richly carved and nis leggings are also embroidered with gilt; the feet and teeth are of pearl; the sapphires. In the front of his cap is a bodies are covered with sapphires, hyarich cluster of white sapphires encircled cinths, emeralds, tourmalines, carbuncles, with a double star of rubies and emeralds: cargoon diamonds, and rubies; the eyes the cap is likewise thickly studded with are of a tri-coloured sapphire. Six small

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carved and gilt figures in a praying or
supplicatory attitude, are fixed on each
side of the seat of the throne, they may
be supposed to be interceding for the
mercy or safety of the monarch: their
eyes are rubies, their drop ear-rings cor-
nelian, and their hair the light feather of
the
peacock.

The chattah, or umbrella, which oversnadows the throne, is an emblem or representation of regal authority and power.

It is not to be doubted, that the caparisons of the elephants would equal in splendour the richness of the carriage, but one only of the elephants belonging to the carriage was captured; the caparisons for both are presumed to have escaped with the other animal. It is imagined that the necks of these ponderous beings bore their drivers, with small hooked spears to guide them, and that the cortège combin. ed all the great officers of state, priests, and attendants, male and female, besides the imperial body - guard mounted on eighty white elephants.

W Among his innumerable titles, the emperor of the Burmans styles himself “king of the white elephant." Xacca, the founder of Indian idolatry, is affirmed by

WM the Brahmins to have gone through a metampsychosis eighty thousand times, his soul having passed into that number of brutes ; that the last was in a white elephant, and that after these changes he was received into the company of the gods, and is now a pagod.

This carriage was taken with the workmen who built it, and all their accounts. From these it appeared, that it had been three years in building, that the gems were supplied from the king's treasury, or by contribution from the various states, and that the workmen were remunerated by the government. Independent of these items, the expenses were stated in the accounts to have been twenty-five thousand rupees, (three thousand one hundred and twenty-five pounds.) The stones are not less in number than twenty thousand, which its reputed value at Tavoy was a lac of rupees, twelve thousand five hun. dred pounds.

An ENLARGED VIEW It was in August, 1824, that the expedition was placed under the command

The Tee, of lieutenant-colonel Miles, C. B., a distinguished officer in his majesty's service. It comprised his majesty's 89th regiment, The ornament surmounting the roof of 7th Madras infantry, some artillery, and the Burmese State Carriage.

o'ner native troops, amounting in the Burmah is the designation of an active whole to about one thousand ineu. The and vigorous race, originally inhabiting daval force, under the command of cap- the line of mountains, separating the great lain Hardy, consisted of the Teignmouth, peninsula, stretching from the confines of Mercury, Thetis, Panang cruiser Jesse, Tartary to the Indian Ocean, and consiwith three gun boats, three Malay prows, dered, by many, the Golden Cherapnesus of and two row boats. The experlition sail- the ancients. From their heights and ed from Rangoon on the 2cth of August, native fastnesses, this people have sucand proceeded up the Tavoy river, which cessively fixed their yoke upon the entire is full of shoals and natural difficulties. peninsula of Aracan, and after seizing On the 9th of September, Tavoy, a place successively the separate states and kingof considerable strength, with ten thou- doms of Ava, Pegue, &c., have condensed sand fighting men, and many mounted their conquests into one powerful state, guns, surrendered to the expedition. The called the Burmah empire, from their own viceroy of the province, his son, and other original name. This great Hindoo-Chi. persons of consequence, were among the nese country, has gone on extending itself prisoners, and colonel Miles states in his on every possible occasion. They subdespatch, that, with the spoil, he took dued Assam, a fertile province of such “a new state carriage for the king of extent, as to include an area of sixty Ava, with one elephant only." This is thousand squa.e miles, inhabited by a the carriage now described. After subse- warlike people who had stood many quent successes the expedition returned powerful contests with neighbouring to Rangoon, whither the carriage was also states. On one occasion, Mohammed Shar, conveyed; from thence, it was forwarded emperor of Hindostan, attempted to conto Calcutta, and there sold for the benefit quer Assam with one hundred thousand of the captors. The purchaser, judging cavalry; the Assamese annihilated them that it would prove an attractive object of The subjugation of such a nation, and curiosity in Europe, forwarded it to Lone constant aggressions, have perfected the don, by the Cornwall, captain Brooks, Burmese in every species of attack and and it was immediately conveyed to the defence: their stockade system, in a moun. Egyptian-hall for exhibition. It is not tainous country, closely intersected with too much to say that it is a curiosity. nullahs, or thick reedy jungles, sometimes A people emerging from the bosom of a thirty feet in height, has attained the remute region, wherein they had been highest perfection. Besides Aracan, they concealed until captain Symes's embassy, have conquered part of Siam, so that on and struggling in full confidence against all sides the Burmese territory appears to British tactics, must, in every point of rest upon natural barriers, which might view, be interesting subjects of inquiry. seem to prescribe limits to its progress, The Burmese state carriage, setting aside and ensure repose and security to its granits attractions as a novelty, is a remark- deur. Towards the east, immense deserts alle object for a contemplative eye.

divide its boundaries from China; on the south, it has extended itself to the ocean;

on the north, it rests upon the high moun. Unlike Asiatics in general, the Bur- tains of Tartary, dividing it from Tibet ; mese are a powerful, athletic, and intelli- on the west, a great and almost impass. gent men. They inhabit a fine country, able tract of jungle wood, marshes, and rich in rivers and harbours. It unites the alluvial swamps of the great river Houghly, British possessions in India with the im. or the Ganges, has, till now, interposed inense Chinese empire. By incessant en- boundaries between itself and the British croachments on surrounding petty states, possessions. Beyond this latter bounthey have swallowed them up in one vast dary and skirting of Assam is the district empire. Their jealousy, at the prepon- of Chittagong, the point whence originderance of our eastern power, has been ated the contest between the Burmese manifested on many occasions. They and the British. aided the Mahratta confederacy; and if The Burmese population is estimated the promptness of the marquis of Hastings at from seventeen to nineteen millions nad not deprived them of their allies of people, lively, industrious, energetic, before they were prepared for action, a further advanced in civilization than most diversion would doubtless hare then been of the eastern nations, frank and candid, made by them on our eastern frontier. and destitute of that pusillanimity which

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