Forchhammer, E 1891(Superintendent Government Printing, Rangoon).
A digitised version of the 1970s reprint.
This material was originally published in 1891, a year afterForchhammer died, according to a reference to it inHarvey’s 1926 “History of Burma”. A new impression wasmade in the 1970s by the Burmese Education Ministry:the minister at that time was Arakanese, and passionateabout the history of his native province. The original platesand artwork were presumably lost by this time. Asomewhat damaged copy of the 1891 book has beenused to make a new set of offset plates. If the original hada title page, it had either disappeared from the originalcopy or was deliberately excluded from the reprint. Thebook was renamed “Report on the Antiquities of Arakan”and the year was put as 1892 on a typewritten slip of paper bound into the sub-title page. The publisher of thereprint is sometimes cited as "Archaeology Department,Burma", although as the department was established in1902, it could not have been the publisher of the 1891version. The reprint was bound in soft blue paper.Some photographs are missing from the reprint. It ispossible that they originally appeared as individual photos stuck on the plates, perhaps in anattempt to provide high quality illustrations for a book with a limited print run. For example, PlateIV No 7 is missing, and the blank space is marked with a small pencilled cross, perhaps by theowner of the book that was used for the reprint. Two complete pages of plates, XII and XIII,pictures from the Shittaung pagoda, are also missing. Original copies of the book may still havethese plates, and all the illustrations. On the first page of the text in the 1970s edition are twomarks in ink, circling an incorrect 20 miles as the distance from Vesali to Mrohaung, and anincorrect 10th century as the date for King Anawratha. These were presumably also made by theowner of the book that was used for the reprinting. This circling of the 20 on page 1 is instantlydiagnostic of the reprint. In the original book, the numbering on Plates I to VIII starts from No 1 oneach plate. From Plate X, No 1, picture numbers then continue in sequence. Pencilled changes tothe numbering by the owner of the copy version have been reproduced in the reprint, but they donot match the references in the text, and are best ignored.I am still trying to get hold of an original copy of the book to compare it with the reprint. Thereare versions (seen on WorldCat) at SOAS, Indiana University, National Art Library (V&A)London, Newberry Library Chicago and Northern Illinois University, but their online cataloguesall use the 1970s title, and mention the paper insert. The Archaeology Dept library inRangoon also holds a 1970s copy. The 1891 (?92) original might be hardbound, perhaps witha tissue overlay to protect the plates. In 1926, Harvey referred to copies of the book at theBodelian (it’s not in their online catalogue), the British Museum (their copy was transferred tothe British Library, which will not give it out on international loan) and the India Office andOxford India Institute Libraries. The SOAS journal has a reference to Forchhammer, Emil.1892.
Papers on Subjects Relating to the Archaeology of Burma: A Report on the History of Arakan
. Rangoon: Government Press. A collection called
Papers on Subjects Relating to the Archaeology of Burma
dated 1891 or 92 is in the Yale, Cambridge and Leiden libraries. TheLeiden catalogue mentions that this contains “Notes on early history and geography of BritishBurma” (1891), but does not specify Arakan. The “Notes” title also appears withForchhammer’s separate works on the Shwedagon and Suvannaphumi.Bob Hudson 2007
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