Saw Yun

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Saw Yun
အသင်္ခယာ စောယွမ်း
King of Sagaing
Reign 15 May 1315 – 5 February 1327
Predecessor Thihathu
Successor Tarabya I
Born c. 1299
Monday, 661 ME
Pinle, Myinsaing Kingdom
Died 5 February 1327 (aged 27)
Thursday, Full moon of Tabaung 688 ME
Sagaing, Sagaing Kingdom
Consort Saw Hnaung
Issue Soe Min
Nawrahta Minye
Tarabya II
House Myinsaing
Father Thihathu
Mother Yadanabon
Religion Theravada Buddhism

Athinhkaya Saw Yun (Burmese: အသင်္ခယာ စောယွမ်း [ʔəθɪ̀ɴ kʰəjà sɔ́ jʊ́ɴ]; also spelled Sawyun; c. 1299 – 5 February 1327) was the founder of the Sagaing Kingdom of Myanmar (Burma). The eldest son of King Thihathu set up a rival kingdom in 1315 after Thihathu appointed Uzana I as heir-apparent.[1] Saw Yun successfully resisted two small expeditions by Pinya by 1317. While Saw Yun nominally remained loyal to his father, he was the de facto king of the area roughly corresponding to present-day Sagaing Region and northern Mandalay Region.[2]

After Thihathu's death, Sagaing and Pinya formally went separately ways. Saw Yun died in 1327.[3] Saw Yun had four children, three sons and a daughter. All of his sons became king of Sagaing. His only daughter was the mother of Thado Minbya, the founder of the Kingdom of Ava.

Early life

Saw Yun was born to Thihathu, co-founder of Myinsaing Kingdom, and Yadanabon, daughter of the village head of Linyin,[4] c. 1299. According to British colonial scholars, Saw Yun's mother was an ethnic Shan and his father half-Shan.[1] But the royal chronicles do not mention his ethnicity at all. He grew up in Pinle, his father's capital alongside an elder step-brother Uzana, half younger brother Kyawswa, and a younger half-sister Saw Pale. The family moved to Pinya in 1313 when Thihathu became the sole ruler of the Kingdom of Myinsaing–Pinya.[5]


Thihathu now officially considered himself the heir to Pagan kings. His chief queen was Mi Saw U, a daughter of Narathihapate. More importantly, he appointed his adopted son Uzana, the biological son of the fallen king Kyawswa and Mi Saw U, as his heir apparent. He also appointed Kyawswa, his first son by Mi Saw U, governor of Pinle.[6]

The appointments did not go down well with Saw Yun, his eldest biological son by a commoner queen (Yadanabon). Saw Yun felt the throne was his. He agitated his father for a viceroyship in the north.[7] While Thihathu wavered, on 15 May 1315, Saw Yun took matters in his own hand, and left for Sagaing with a group of followers, a few miles west of Pinya, across the Irrawaddy.[8] Saw Yun found support in a sect of forest dwelling monks and their followers.[9]

At first, Thihathu dismissed the 15-year-old's thinly veiled insurrection, and did not take any action. But Saw Yun continued to consolidate his support in the north, and fortified Sagaing with a brick wall, completed on 26 March 1316.[10] Even then, Thihathu's response was halfhearted. He sent two small expeditions, each led by Uzana and Kyawswa respectively, to retake the city. Both attempts failed. Thihathu, who never liked rivals even with his own brothers, now decided to leave his eldest biological son alone.[11] Saw Yun's position may also have been helped by an open rebellion in Toungoo (Taungoo) in 1317–18, and subsequent instabilities in Taungdwin.[12][13] Thihathu got both Toungoo and Taungdwin under control but essentially ceded control of northern Upper Burma to Saw Yun. For his part, Saw Yun never formally renounced his allegiance to his father. Thihathu had to be satisfied with the arrangement although he must have known that Pinya and Sagaing would become bitter rivals after his death.[9]


After Thihathu's death in 1325, the two kingdoms formally went separate ways, with Pinya controlling southern Upper Burma and Sagaing northern Upper Burma.[2] (Zatadawbon Yazawin[14] and Maha Yazawin[15] chronicles count Saw Yun's official reign at Sagaing only after the death of Thihathu whereas later chronicles Yazawin Thit[16] and Hmannan Yazawin[17] count his reign from his first insurrection in 1315.) Early on, Pinya's new rulers still had designs on Sagaing. Pinya's attempt to assassinate Saw Yun nearly succeeded, stopped only by the assassin Khin Nyo's conscience at the last minute.[18][19]

Saw Yun was remembered in Burmese chronicles as powerful, kindly and popular. He also contributed to Burmese military. In 1318, Saw Yun formed a cavalry regiment called Sagaing Htaungthin (စစ်ကိုင်း ထောင်သင်း [zəɡáɪɴ tʰàʊɴ ɵɪ́ɴ]; lit. "Thousand-strong Regiment of Sagaing", although the numbers added up to only 830), which was maintained up till the fall of Burmese monarchy, and nine squadrons of cavalry.[20]

Cavalry name Strength
Tamakha Myin
တမာခါး မြင်း
Pyinsi Myin
ပြင်စည် မြင်း
Yudawmu Myin
ယူတော်မူ မြင်း
Letywaygyi Myin
လက်ရွေးကြီး မြင်း
Letywaynge Myin
လက်ရွေးငယ် မြင်း
Kyaungthin Myin
ကြောင်သင်း မြင်း
Myinthegyi Myin
မြင်းသည်ကြီး မြင်း
Hketlon Myin
ခက်လုံး မြင်း
Sawputoh Myin
စောပွတ်အိုး မြင်း

He died c. 5 February 1327.[3] He had four children by his chief queen Saw Hnaung: Soe Min, Kyaswa, Nawrahta Minye, and Tarabya II.[21]


The chronicles and inscriptional evidence show various dates with regard to his life.

Source Birth–Death Age Reign Length of reign Reference
Zatadawbon Yazawin c. 1303–1330/31 27 1322/23–1330/31 8 [14]
Maha Yazawin [15]
Yazawin Thit c. 1300 – 30 April 1322 21 15 May 1315 – 30 April 1322 8 [sic] [16][note 1]
Hmannan Yazawin [17]


  1. ^ (Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 161): 12th waxing of 3rd month of 677 ME = 15 May 1315. (Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 173): Tarabya I ascended the throne on Friday, 1st waning of Kason 684 ME (Saturday, 1 May 1322); if it was Friday, it should have been 30 April 1322.


  1. ^ a b Phayre 1967:58–59
  2. ^ a b Htin Aung 1967: 71–79
  3. ^ a b Than Tun 1959: 126
  4. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 371–372
  5. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 370
  6. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 371
  7. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 374
  8. ^ (Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 375): 12th waxing of Nayon 677 ME
  9. ^ a b Htin Aung 1967: 77
  10. ^ Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 161, fn-3
  11. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 375–376
  12. ^ Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 160, fn#1
  13. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 372
  14. ^ a b Zata 1960: 43
  15. ^ a b Maha Yazawin Vol. 1 2006: 270
  16. ^ a b Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 161, 172–173
  17. ^ a b Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 375, 388–389
  18. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 383
  19. ^ Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 163
  20. ^ Hmannan Vol. 1 2003: 388–389
  21. ^ Yazawin Thit Vol. 1 2012: 175−176


  • Harvey, G. E. (1925). History of Burma: From the Earliest Times to 10 March 1824. London: Frank Cass & Co. Ltd.
  • Htin Aung, Maung (1967). A History of Burma. New York and London: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kala, U (1720). Maha Yazawin (in Burmese). 1–3 (2006, 4th printing ed.). Yangon: Ya-Pyei Publishing.
  • Maha Sithu (1798). Myint Swe (1st ed.); Kyaw Win, Ph.D. and Thein Hlaing (2nd ed.), eds. Yazawin Thit (in Burmese). 1–3 (2012, 2nd printing ed.). Yangon: Ya-Pyei Publishing.
  • Phayre, Lt. Gen. Sir Arthur P. (1883). History of Burma (1967 ed.). London: Susil Gupta.
  • Royal Historical Commission of Burma (1832). Hmannan Yazawin (in Burmese). 1–3 (2003 ed.). Yangon: Ministry of Information, Myanmar.
  • Than Tun (December 1959). "History of Burma: A.D. 1300–1400". Journal of Burma Research Society. XLII (II).
Saw Yun
Born: c. 1299 Died: 5 February 1327
Regnal titles
Preceded by
King of Sagaing
15 May 1315 – 5 February 1327
Succeeded by
Tarabya I
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