“In his young days [the white elephant] was suckled by women, who stood in a long row outside his palace… Every day he is bathed with scented sandal water, and all his vessels and utensils are made of gold. Troupes of the palace coryphées dance for his pleasure, and there are choruses of sweet-voiced singers to lull him to sleep.”
– from The Burman: His Life and Notions by James George Scott, 1882
On the eve of the Buddha’s conception, Queen Maya dreamt of a white elephant entering her womb. Now, Myanmar possesses eight of these sacred animals and there are believed to be at least ten in Thailand. The above photographs are from Naypyidaw and Yangon. You can read about sacred white elephants and the monarchical trappings of Myanmar’s political elite in the Toronto Star and the Southeast Asia Globe. You can even hear me being interviewed on the topic on Polish Radio 3.