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Traditional Handicrafts

 
 

Work in Marble
A huge marble image of Buddha at the foot of Mandalay Hill was carved under orders from King Mindon in imitation of Bagyidaw's image at Amarapura, and was given the same name Kyauktawgyi, or great royal stone).



Ivory Carving
In the Burmese era 470, Alaugsithu, King of Bagan, while traveling to Ceylon and India chanced to see and discovered enormous centipedes that have made their dwellings out of huge elephant tusks.



Lacquerware
Basically,lacquerware after drying the color is black. To give a touch of color cheap items are simply painted, while expensive ones are embellished by means of engraving, painting and polishing. The most usual colors are red, black , green and yellow.



Puppet Theatre
The Myanmar puppets are distinctive in dress, style and the intricacy of manipulating them. The dolls usually have 20 strings, but some have as many as 60, giving the puppeteers room to emulate uncanny dance movements.



Weaving Embroidery
Embroidery is as highly respected as weaving. The most striking examples are the kalaga wall hangings. These rich applique tapestries, measuring anything from 25 centimeters square up to 6 metres by 1.5 metres, are made of a base cloth adorned with metallic threads, sequins, colored glass beads and figures that are stuffed to give a distinctive three-dimensional effect.



Tapestry (Shwegyido)
Each tapestry depicts a character or a narrative from Jatakas or the Ramayana epic. These appliqué tapestries can be anything from 25cm x25cm to 6m x 1.5m.Jackets, pasoes, longyis are also beautifully embroidered for special functions, and Mandalay is the center of this industry.



Woodcarving
Today woodcarving is mostly limited to figures, particularly images of nats, the mythical inhabitants of the Myanmar spirit world. Marionettes, the Myanmar puppets, were traditionally been made for the yok thei pwe or the marionette theatre.



Work in Copper & Brass
All the articles made form a central hollow and must have a core inside the mould. The mould and cores are made of fine clay. For the core of images fine alluvial clay is powdered and mixed with an equal quantity of dry powdered horse-dung and sifted to remove all coarse particles.



Gold / Silver Metal Work
It is pasted on all the Buddha images as part of their offering. Gold comes from the north of Myanmar in nuggets and flattened on a slab of marble until paper-thin.




Basketry & Cane Work
Weaving out of materials such as cotton, bamboo, cane toddy palm leaves and leaf petioles and fibre of the hemp are said to have arisen with the introduction of Buddhist literature.




Bells & Gongs
Bells and gongs are part of Buddhist prayers and rituals in Myanmar, and their echoes in temples are a characteristic sound of Myanmar.




Burmese Silver Work
The poor citizens could not afford the use of silverware whereas the monks and clergy on the other hand refrain from using any worldly luxury except for religious purposes like silver vases used for altars, and silver Buddha statues.



Gold Leaf Industry
Today, gold leaf is mostly used as Buddha offerings. It is cut into thin strips and stuck onto the Buddha figures inside the pagoda. It is also used as inlays, or melted into liquid and used as gold paint for lacquer wares and other handicrafts.