A rare and stunning photographic record of a bygone era from the personal collection of Thai scholar Thweep Rittinaphakorn (Ake). Unseen Burma showcases a collection of rare, and rarely seen, colonial and post-colonial photographs of Burma (Myanmar). With some 350 photographs accompanied by detailed and thoroughly researched captions, this book unveils the lives and landscapes of a bygone era in a country once known as “the golden land”.
Burma is rich in history and culture. During the colonial era, it was considered an “exotic land” that extended eastwards from India, then under the rule of the British Raj. When the British colonized Burma, they brought with them the latest technology in cameras and photographic reproduction and, since these were introduced to Burma as early as the middle of the 19th century, Burma is also a country richly catalogued and photographed. The new technology was first popularized by western practitioners (Germans, Italians, and, of course, British) and upper-class patrons but then gradually spread out to the mass market. The use of photography throughout the British colonial period propelled the production of a vast photographic record of Burma, creating awe-inspiring impressions of its people, culture, myriad ways of life, colonial society and varied scenery. Carefully selected, curated and captioned from the personal collection of Thai scholar Thweep Rittinaphakorn (Ake), who has written and lectured extensively on Burmese culture, these photographs cover 100 fascinating years of Burmese history.
As such, Unseen Burma takes readers from the beginning of Burma’s colonial era through to the hopeful
first years of independence, creating a stunning visual journey across a century of history, story and memory.
“Thweep Rittinaphakorn has done it again. He has produced an enthralling kaleidoscopic pictorial record of events and people a time-traveler can only dream of. The reader is wafted past a host of people, events, and scenery, accompanied by well-researched captions which scholars will find invaluable. The pictorial evidence alone reveals how great and historically rich Myanmar used to be.”
Noel F. Singer, author of Burma - A Photographic Journey
“This unmatched and beautifully produced collection of photographs, together with the stories that
accompany them, shine a fascinating light on Burma’s often enigmatic but always captivating past.”
Thant Myint-U, author and historian