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Identifier: Film Collection no. 218

Scope and Contents

Filmed during the Morden Expedition to Africa and Asia, 1922-1924. Filmed during William James Morden's 1922-1924 expedition by Herford Tynes Cowling, Burma presents a beautiful portrait of the people, culture, architecture, and art of the country. Beginning with footage of the Rangoon harbor, the expedition journeys up the Irrawaddy River surveying covered boats, junks, paddle boats, barges (rafts of teak logs with caretaker huts built on the surface), and oil wells. Extensive and varied shots of Burmese temples, statues, pagodas, and ruins make up the following sequence. Among them are Mandalay's Kuthodaw pagoda, the Shive Dagon pagoda at Rangoon, huge lion sculptures (chinthe) "guarding" the ruins at Pagan and the Shwethlyaung, with its enormous (181 feet long, 46 feet high) reclining Buddha at Pegu. The people of Burma are filmed in various daily activities, interspersed with shots of native markets, hand-carried sedans, rickshaws, decorated bulls, working elephants and what has been tentatively identied as a funeral procession. The dance sequence recorded here was edited and titled to create a short feature released commercially by Morden in the 1920s: Burma Blues from a Buzzing Orient.


  • 1922-1924

Language of Materials


Conditions Governing Access

Not available through interlibrary loan. Contact AMNH Library Special Collections for terms of access.


1 Film Reel (69 minutes) : silent, black and white ; 35 mm.

1 Videocassette (U-Matic (69 minutes)) : silent, black and white ; 3/4 in.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

3/4 in., U-Matic, viewing copy


Original format: 35 mm. print.



Herford Tynes Cowling, photographer.

Burma, 1922-1924
Iris Lee
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Museum Archives at the Gottesman Research Library Repository

American Museum of Natural History
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New York NY 10024 USA
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