Botataung Pagoda beings, astrological symbols, floral motifs, glass mosaic, and the eponymous lions feature in the elaborate decoration, which was intended to express the links between the monarch and the heavenly realm of Thagyamin, the king of the nats (nature spirits). Sealed in glass cases around the edges of the gallery are miniature repro duc- tions of the other thrones that once adorned the halls of Mandalay Palace.
Displays of jewelencrusted courtly regalia in an adjacent gallery underline just how ornate and refined Konbaung culture was at the twilight of the Yadanabon era in late19th- century Mandalay.
Standout exhibits in the Prehistory Hall on the second floor include treasures found at the archeological site of Sri Ksetra , including silver reliquaries, carved votive tablets, and a group of exquisite bronze figurines of musicians, dancers, and clowns, rare survi- vors from the Pyu civilization (1st century BC–9th century AD). The third floor has trad- itional puppets and musical instru ments, including a magnificent hsaing waing ensemble and a couple of superbly decorated saung gauk, or Burmese harps. The fourth floor holds a dimly lit but fine collection of ancient gold and silver jewelry, while the upper- most floor has a collection of Buddha images spanning 1,500 years of Burmese history, along with cos tumes from Myanmar’s ethnic minorities.