Iron-cast frog, snake statues preserved at Koehtatgyi Pagoda

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The Iron Frog at the Koehtatgyi Pagoda on Bagaya Road in Yangon.

The Koehtatgyi Pagoda, located in Sangyoung Township, Yangon Region, still preserves iron-cast frog and snake statues under the custodianship of the pagoda’s cultural heritage trust.
A traditional architect and member of the trust, U Myat Kyaw, said: “The statues date back to the early colonial era. Many mistake them for bronze or stone statues due to the complete disappearance of the art of casting iron.”
The architect highlighted the importance of preserving cultural heritage with the help of experts. The art of iron-casting has become extinct for many years, leaving Myanmar with only a few remaining sculptures crafted through this traditional method.
“The statues are 117 years old, and were crafted at the same time with the pagoda during an era when blacksmiths were the masters of iron-casting. Remarkably, the pagoda is the sole location in Yangon Region, and one of the rare sites across the country, that hosts iron-cast statues,” U Myat Kyaw said.
U Kyin and his spouse Daw Ngwe Zan built the Koehtatgyi Pagoda in August 1905. The statues of frog and snake are situated on each side of the eastern stairway at the pagoda.
The remaining iron-cast statues include a snake and frog at the Shwenattaung Pagoda in Bago Region, twin snakes, Sanda Mukhi Ogress Statue, Ngataunggyi Ogre Statue and its 25 followers, a monk statue paying homage to the pagoda, King Kyansittha Statue with his spear by his side, and a hunter accompanied by his two dogs at the Mandalay Hill in Mandalay Region. — ASH/NT

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