"Wooden Loom Element - Burma, 19th Century"Piece of loom, polychrome carved wood, representing a mythical animal, a dragon with elephant horn. The Pyu people were the first to settle in Burma, in the central valley, from the seventh century, while the Mon settled in Lower Burma three centuries later. These introduce Theravada Buddhism and rice cultivation. The first unified Burmese empire was founded by King Anawratha (1044-1077) in Pagan, Upper Burma. He conquers the monk capital of Thaton. The kingdom falls in 1287 in the hands of the Mongol armies. There followed a period of turmoil during which Upper Burma was dominated by the Shans, while Lower Burma fell under the control of the Mon. The unity of the country is reestablished by Bayinnaung (1515-1581), third king of the Toungoo dynasty. This dynasty is overthrown shortly afterwards by a rebellion môn. In 1752, Alaungpaya founded the Konbaung dynasty by restoring Burmese rule and conquering Ayuthya, Arakan, Manipur and Assam. It will be the increasing commercial and political pressure of the Europeans that will cause the fall of the last Burmese dynasty. Successive kingdoms in the present territory of Burma have favored essentially Buddhist arts, as in Thailand and Laos.