SOAS University of London

SAAAP Bagan Metropolis Conference

11 August 2017

SAAAP proudly supported the Bagan Metropolis Conference and Fieldtrip from 10-14 July 2017 in Yangon and the Bagan Temple complex in Burma/Myanmar.

The Conference, focusing on discourses and interpretations around the question Was Bagan the Metropolis of Buddhism in Indo-China? was hosted by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO) Regional Centre for History and Tradition, with sponsorship from SAAAP.

Bagan Temples


From the Conference programme

Bagan was a cosmopolitan crossroads and a site of extraordinary patronage with the remains of more than 2,000 brick temples remaining today from the estimated original 5,000 structures (11C to 13C). Due to the arid climate, the soaring brick arches of hundreds of temple interiors have retained their original mural paintings, with fine bronze and stone images of the Buddha reflecting extensive cultural interchange with other areas in the South and Southeast Asian region.This Conference explores various aspects of the development of the Bagan temple complex and its unique role at the crossroads of Buddhist cultures in the region between the 11th and 13 Centuries. Following on from Welcome Addresses from the Myanmar Ministry of Education, the Director of SEAMEO CHAT and SOAS Professor Emeritus Elizabeth Moore on behalf of SAAAP, the Conference will address critical themes including: historical development and interchange at the Bagan site; art and archaeology in the area; and current questions around conservation, preservation and development at the complex.

Programme and Presentations

You can access the full Bagan Metropolis Conference Programme (pdf; 170kb) here, which outlines the range of panels and discussions that were held over the course of the event. The Conference was led by a keynote presentation by Dr Heather Elgood under the theme of The significance of North East India in the development of the sculpture of 12th-13th Century Bagan (pdf; 2mb) leading onto a range of panel discussions, including a dedicated panel featuring Alumni of SAAAP's Alphawood Scholarships programme. The presentations from our Alphawood Scholars can be accessed below:

Conference Papers

Please find here conference papers summarising a number of the talks held over the course of the conference. This list will continue to be updated in the coming months.

Photo Gallery

Please browse a selection of photographs from the Conference proceedings in Yangon and the subsequent Field Trip to the Bagan Temples.

For further information, contact:

Prof Elizabeth Moore

Professor Emeritus, Department of the History of Art and Archaeology

SAAAP In-region Liaison