Burmese Buddha Art Ava Innwa – The name Innwa/Inwa literally means “mouth of the lake”, it is situated at the mouth of the lakes in Kyaukse District and is a division of Mandalay. The cities classical name in Pali is Ratanapura “city of gems”.
Up until 1276 Burma’s first charter kingdom at Pagan was still waging war against the Chinese of Yunnan. Incursions into upper Burma by the Yuan-Mongol dynasty (1284, 1287, 1300-01), eventually weakened Pagan. Eventually the power in Upper Burma passed from Pagan to two centres at Sagaing and Pinya.
After the departure of the Yuan-Mongol the Tai up-scaled their attacks on upper Burma, this caused greater social and economic disruption than the Chinese invasions. This threw Burma into a period of crisis which eventually led to the founding of the Ava dynasty 1359 A.D. – 1368 A.D., which became the main capital. The Tais struck upper Burma once more in 1362 A.D. when Narathu of Pinya became allies of the Tai invaders aiming to destroy rival Sagaing. Narathu was taken captive and taken back by his Tai allies.
Thadominpaya a Burmese nobleman seized control of what was left and moved the centre of operations to the Irrawaddy and Myitnge rivers where they join, there,in 1365 he founded the royal capital of Innwa (Ava), and was the capital of Burma for three hundred and sixty years. It was during this period that Buddhist art excelled, most Buddha statues were gilded, some inlaid with gems or glass mosaics, others dressed in royal attire and wearing a crown and referred to as a Jambhupati Buddha.
To read more about this period in this in-depth historical article by Jon Fernquest
Very little of the royal city of Innwa (Ava) remains today and many buildings built later were destroyed in the 1838 earthquake.