PRESERVING THE KUTHODAW PAGODA COMPLEX, MYANMAR: COLLABORATIVE CONSERVATION OF THE `WORLD’S BIGGEST BOOK’ – TAASA Review December 2016
Wendy Reade W hen Mark Allon, University of Sydney, and his team planned to photograph and study the Pali Buddhist texts inscribed in the so-called `World’s Biggest Book’ (Ludu Daw Ahmar 1980: 5) in Mandalay in upper Myanmar, they needed first to obtain a conservation assessment for the cleaning and preservation of the 729 inscribed marble stelae, each housed in individual whitewashed mini-pagodas, arranged in concentric tree-lined squares around the golden Kuthodaw Pagoda. Kuthodaw pagoda site, Mandalay.
Photo courtesy Mark Allon and Wendy Reade This site is inscribed on the UNESCO Memory of the World register and is an important place for Buddhist practice and popular enjoyment, as well as a growing tourist destination.
Human impact, combined with the forces of nature and the lack of conservation management and maintenance, have resulted in the need for a program of restoration and preservation of the stelae, mini-pagodas and the 5.2 hectare site as a whole...