via The Past, 04 October 2023: The British Museum is set to host the UK’s first major exhibition focusing on the history of Myanmar, formerly known as Burma. The exhibition spans over 1,500 years and features more than 110 objects, some of which have never been publicly displayed before.
The exhibition begins c.AD 450, introducing the diverse peoples who inhabited the lands that would eventually become Myanmar, and tracing the rise of the kingdoms that would, by the 14th century, come to vie for supremacy within this space. The region’s rich natural resources, including teak, rubies, and jade, made it an influential trading partner first with its near neighbours and later with the Middle East and Europe. These far-reaching networks are exemplified by artefacts like a 15th-century gold Buddhist reliquary testifying to religious links with Sri Lanka.
Powerful kingdoms rose to prominence between the 16th and 19th centuries, their political reach illustrated by objects such as a silver tanka coin issued by King Dhammaraja Hussain (r. 1612-1622) of the Mrauk U kingdom in Arakan (now Rakhine State), which is inscribed in Arakanese, Bengali, and Persian. Similarly, the extraordinary wealth available to some of their rulers can be seen in a letter (above) – written on gold, adorned with 24 rubies, and enclosed in an elephant tusk case – that King Alaungpaya of the Konbaung kingdom sent to George II in 1756.
Source: Burma to Myanmar | The Past