Saw Hla Wun redirects here. This article is about the chief queen of Narathihapate. For other people named Pwa Saw, see Pwa Saw (disambiguation).
Pwa Saw (Burmese: ဖွားစော [pʰwá sɔ́]; also known as Saw Hla Wun (စောလှဝန်း, [sɔ́ l̥a̰ wʊ́ɴ]); c. 1240–c. 1295/96 or 1310s) was a chief queen consort of King Narathihapate of the Pagan Dynasty of Burma (Myanmar). She is remembered as witty, wise, and beautiful, and as someone who exercised political influence for four decades during one of the most difficult periods in the country's history. Historians are divided as to whether the chronicle narratives contain more myth than fact.
Hla Wun was the most well known of the three historical Pagan period queens known by the epithet Pwa Saw (lit. "Queen Grandmother", or queen dowager). The queen was the benevolent power behind the throne, shielding the public and the court from the erratic pronouncements of Narathihapate, whom chronicles describe as arrogant, gluttonous, quick-tempered, paranoid and ruthless. By using her wit, she skillfully stayed out of the king's paranoid suspicions. Although she was not always successful, the queen often managed to talk the king into changing his numerous rash decisions, and making wise state decisions.
Hla Wun continued to wield influence even after Narathihapate's death in 1287. As the leader of the court, the dowager queen put Kyawswa on the throne in 1289. But she was disappointed by Kyawswa's inability to restore the fallen Pagan Empire. Chronicles say that she organized a coup against Kyawswa in 1297, and remained an éminence grise well into the 1310s. She is said to have given her blessing to King Thihathu's claim as the rightful successor of the Pagan kings in 1313. However, one analysis of the contemporary inscriptions, though not universally accepted, finds that she may have died as early as 1295/96, and that the Pwa Saw who lived in the early 14th century was Saw Thitmahti.
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