Bagan, A visit to the lacquer ware factory
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Bagan, A visit to the lacquer ware factory

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Of all the handicrafts in Myanmar, the most distinctive of all is lacquerware. It is the most widely produced and used; most households in the country use lacquerware as everyday objects. In central Myanmar, the centre of lacquerware manufacturing is Bagan. In Myinkaba Village alone, about 600 households manufacture lacquerware. In the past, Burmese royalty gave lacquer objects to foreign emissaries as gifts and today, visitors need not be an emissary to get their hands on quality lacquerware because many stores sell it in Bagan

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  • My Angel, Aye <br />
  • Plain lacquerware (kyaukka) has a framework made of either bamboo or wood, is coated with a resin lac called thitsi from a tree native to Myanmar (Melanhorres usitata), and is painted black and red, the colours being derived from natural materials. The ware derives its name from Kyaukka village, but its production is quite widespread and it is made in Bagan, Monywa, Pyay, and Mandalay as well as in Shan, Mon and Rakhine states. Kyaukka ware is noted for its utility, durability, and lightness and is found in the houses of village folks, monasteries, nunneries and shrines. As domestic utensils they take the form of trays, goblets, cups, boxes, chests, pillows, circular tablets, betel boxes, receptacles for cooked rice and containers for pickled tea, medicine, tobacco, cigars and cheroots. As monastic utensils they take the form of flower vases, pots, fans, spittoons, containers for offertories and cases for sacred books. <br />
  • incised lacquerware (yun) is made of the same materials as plain lacquerware but the technique is more advanced. The bamboo strips are fine, and they are woven or coiled into the desired shape. The design and decoration is sophisticated and exquisite. With a fine pointed bamboo, wooden or metal stylus, decorative designs or motifs are incised on the surface of the ware and the incised areas filled with pigment. The colours used are red, yellow, orange, blue, green, white and black. The artist has a free hand in expressing his concept and makes use of such motifs as lotus, orchid, natural and mythical animals, demons and devas. Symbols representing the planets and zodiac signs are among the artist’s favourites. Scenes and episodes from the Jatakas, well-known folktales, fables, pagoda legends and nat (spirit) stories are depicted in panels. Space is left on the ware for inscribing the artist’s name and the date or for any letter the buyer may wish to have inscribed. Yun ware is meant mostly for ornamental, decorative, ceremonial and votive purposes and take the form of folding screens, folding tables, napkin rings, bangles, flower pots, decorative plaques, manuscript chests and plates for inscribing scriptures as well as a variety of souvenir pieces. <br />
  • Gilt lacquerware (shwezawa) is prepared by first having designs or figures incised on the ware which has been coated several times with black or red lacquer. Gold foil is then applied to the incised designs, the result being extremely regal and beautiful. In the days of the Myanmar kings shwezawa was limited exclusively to royal and religious use. Some old temples and monasteries in Shan State have their walls and ceilings covered with panels of shwezawa. Today shwezawa has become very costly because of the ever-soaring price of gold and silver foil is also used to produce ngwezawa ware. <br /> Relief moulded lacquerware (tha-yoe) owes its name tha-yoe, meaning “animal bone”, to the fine sticky plaster made out of the ash of animal bone, paddy husk and sawdust of teakwood, with cowdung powder sometimes added. This pliable plaster mixed with lacquer is rolled into long threads of the required thickness. Then, by means of a bamboo, wooden or metal stylus the threads are stuck on the smoothened lacquer–coated surface of the ware to form a relief design which has been sketched out. An experienced craftsman can create any design or figure freehand. When the tha-yoe dries and is stuck firmly on the surface, several coats of lacquer are applied. After colouring or gilding the tha-yoe ware looks like a finely-carved piece. The main centres of this craft are Mandalay, Kyaukka and Legya in the Shan State. <br />
  • Glass mosaic and gilt lacquerware (hmansi shwecha). In making this type of lacquerware, pieces of mirror or coloured glass are cut into different geometrical shapes. They are then inlaid on the surface of tha-yoe or plain lacquerware using a special lacquer as an adhesive. The whole surface is then gilded after which it is washed with water so that the gold foil on the glass pieces are cleaned off while those on the tha-yoe or incised areas remain. Hmansi shwecha is much more costly than shwezawa not only because of the expense of the gold and glass but also because of the skill and labour involved in the production. Many fine pieces of this type of lacquerware are found as couches, chests, caskets, betel boxes, containers for cooked rice and covers of folding paper and palm-leaf manuscripts. <br />

Bagan, A visit to the lacquer ware factory Bagan, A visit to the lacquer ware factory Presentation Transcript

  • http://www.authorstream.com/Presentation/michaelasanda-2038452-myanmar3-bagan/
  • Of all the handicrafts in Myanmar, the most distinctive of all is lacquerware. It is the most widely produced and used; most households in the country use lacquerware as everyday objects. In central Myanmar, the centre of lacquerware manufacturing is Bagan. In Myinkaba Village alone, about 600 households manufacture lacquerware. In the past, Burmese royalty gave lacquer objects to foreign emissaries as gifts and today, visitors need not be an emissary to get their hands on quality lacquerware because many stores sell it in Bagan
  • Lacquer products go way back in the history of Myanmar, back until the 11th century AD. This kind of arts and crafts has been practiced for a very long time and some antique artwork is in famous Museums in Myanmar, too. Artwork ranges from Buddha images to household items and everything in between
  • Indigo Bowl Birds Lacquer on Horsehair
  • Not all Bagan people now how to make lacquerware but it has been a part of their culture and this practice has been passed down from generation to generation. This is the reason why up to this day, lacquerware products are continuously being sold in Myanmar.
  • There is even a lacquerware training school that is being sponsored by the Department of Home Industry. Indeed, Myanmar sees a great future for this art. The art of lacquerware came to Burma via Yunnan in China in the 1st century A.D. Raw lacquer is tapped from the thitsie trees much the same way as latex is removed from rubber trees.
  • There are many different kinds of lacquerware. From the most common ones is the plain Lacquerware – this is also known as Kyauk Kar. This is made of wood such as bamboo alongside lacquerware resin. This has only two colors which are red and black. Most products made from this kind of lacquerware are trays, cups, boxes and chests. You can find a lot in Myanmar markets all over the area for very low prices.
  • Incised Lacquerware – this is more commonly known as Yun. The framework is wood and many coatings are applied to follow. An iron stylus is used to engrave design on the surface. Once the incisions are done, they are covered with different colors such as orange, blue, green, white, yellow and so on and so forth. The main purpose of Yun is to create ornaments or decorations. You can check out amazingly designed flower vases, chests, bangles and other lacquerware items in the public markets of Myanmar.
  • We saw two types being made today. The first and more expensive option, using a bamboo and horse hair frame, used for items requiring greater flexibility and durability. The second using a wooden base. The basic structure is coated with a layer of lacquer and clay, then put in a cool place to dry.
  • Gilt Lacquerware –this is more commonly known in Myanmar as Shwezawa. This kind of lacquerware is filled up with gold on the surface where the incisions are placed. Thus, it is more expensive. Some artists even place in there real gold. In the ancient times, these kinds of lacquerware were only used for Buddhist
  • Glass Mosaic Lacquerware –this is more commonly known as Hmansi Shwe Cha Yun. Pieces of glass are cut and colored and laid on top of the lacquerware. There are a lot of skilful craftsmen who can create beautiful and one of a kind designs with the use of glass and paint.
  • The Burmese straw-colored lacquer derives from a wild growing Burmese tree and turns black when exposed to air. Lacquer vessels, boxes and trays have a coiled or woven bamboo strip base often mixed with horsehair (no glue is used). The lacquer is mixed with ash to form a rubber-like substance which can be formed. The object is coated layer upon layer with lacquer and lacquer-ash mixtures to make a smooth surface and an – after a long drying period – object which is hard as stone
  • Every layer of lacquer has to dry in a cellar for about a week. Depending on the quality of the item, it takes incredibly 20 to 100 layers of lacquer before it is polished and engraved free-handed with intricate designs, commonly using red, green and yellow – the Burmese colors – on a red or black background. The finished product is a result of teamwork for months or years and not crafted by a single person.
  • Text: Internet Pictures: Sanda Foişoreanu & Internet Copyright: All the images belong to their authors Presentation: Sanda Foişoreanu www.slideshare.net/michaelasanda Sound: Rakhine song