Interesting Things in Myanmar

Myanmar Thanakha

Thanakha (botanical term is Limonia Acidissma Linn) is a favorite cosmetic of Myanmar which comes in the form of yellow paste applied to the face from the bark of the Thanakha tree. It is effective sun protection by applying thickly and applying lightly can become tighter the skin and prevent getting oily. Thanakha and mortar stone, with a shallow trough along its rim are the necessary part for Myanmar Feminine society. For Thanakha means not only a cosmetic for beautifying the face. It is also a cleansing agent possibly without compare for uniqueness. It is a blessing in tropical heat. It removes body odors. Because of such attributes, Myanmar men and women use Thanakha.

Tapestries or Shwe-gyi-do

Myanmar traditional tapestries are velvet wall hangings embroidered with gold thread, silk and sequins. The hand-made materials are used and designs are based on traditional motif. The tapestries were solely for the use of royalty, nobility and monks in ancient times. The tapestries were used as screens, curtains, ceilings or wall hangings. Now a day, the tapestries are used for clothes, shoes, flip-flops and others. Mandalay is famous for producing the Myanmar traditional tapestries (Shwe-gyi-do).

Marionette Theatre (Yok-thei pwe)

Myanmar traditional marionette theater presents colorful puppets up to a meter high stage. It was developed during the reign of King Bagyidaw in the Konbaung period. The marionette master manipulated puppets by a dozen or more strings. Standard troupe of 28 puppets are including Thaygyamin (king of the gods), King, Queen, Prince, Princess, a regent, two court pages, an old man, an old woman, a villain, a hermit, four ministers, two clowns, one good and one evil god, a Brahmin astrologer, two ogres, a zawgyi (an alchemist), a horse, a monkey, a makara or mythical sea serpent, and an elephant. These figures bring together the talents of singers, puppeteers, musicians, woodcarvers, embroiderers and set designers.

Salone ethnic life style (The Sea Gypsies)

The Salone people (Sea Gypsy/Moken) live in the southern part of Myeik Archipelago which has more than 800 small islands. It has been believed that the native places of the Salone people in the ancient times are on the Malay Peninsula. They left after Malay incursion and lived scattered throughout the Myeik Archioelago. Now a day, the Salone can only be found on the coastal islands around Kawthaung. They roam in the sea near the coasts and live on fishing, gathering and selling natural marine products during the hot and cool season. They managed to stay on the nearest islands during rainy season when the weather is strong. The Salone can stay underwater for many minutes without using oxygen tank. They could dive down to 8-10 fathoms and stay for a long time.

Air Ballooning (Balloon Over Bagan)

The heart of Myanmar, ancient city Bagan is located in the middle plains of the country. International and local tourists can have the inspiration of viewing the sights of Bagan from the Ballooning crossing over Bagan. The best time for the viewers to go up is before sunrise and before sunset. That would be one of the finest sights of the world.

Bicycling in Bagan

Bicycling in Bagan can give combination of adventure and tasting the culture heritage of the country.

Twente Pot Baking

Twente pottery is famous for producing with the traditional process, technique and tools are used for producing pot. The potter squats and works the pot with one hand while the helper turns the potter’s wheel. After the pots are air-dried on huge cracks and then painted with a mixture of finely pounded silver dross and river slit. They are baked in brick kilns for about five days after air-drying. There are different designs of potteries of Twente. Even though plastic, steel, aluminium wares are available, hand-made pottery is still very much preferred by Myanmar and still in use in the cultural traditions.

Pathein Umbrella

Pathein, the capital of the Ayeyarwady Division is well known worldwide for the umbrella industry. This cottage industry was established in Pathein over a hundred years ago. Most of the ‘umbrellas’ made in Pathein are parasol at first but later on the umbrellas with canopies of cotton, silk and satin with attractive floral designs are produced. These newly fashioned umbrellas were popular with the ladies and sales expanded to the whole country. Pathein umbrella attracted tourists as souvenirs or for interior decoration on walls and for use as unique lampshades. Most workshops welcome visitors who want to observe this craft.

Silk Weaving

There are two types of silk: the thick weave with designs, made with one hundred shuttles or more, thin ones in plain colors or in ikat style with Myanmar motifs. “Lun Tayar Cheik” and “Kyo Gyi Cheik” are thick weave. “Cheik” means the horizontal zig zag design which is a traditional pattern. “Lun Tayar” means a hundred shuttles but it can be up to two hundred or more, according to the demands of customer. “Kyo Gyi Cheik” is the same wavy pattern but in two colors only. They are both woven in Mandalay and its suburb, Amarapura. There are varieties of colors according to the design. The thinner silk is from Inle lake in Shan state where the ikat technique turns the hard-edged Myanmar designs into soft motifs. Plaing silk pieces and scarves are also woven in gorgeous rich colors.

Bicycling in Bagan

Bicycling in Bagan is like blending of adventure and the time to taste the cultural heritage of the country. No doubt the Bagan area is one of the most important and most impressive archaeological sites in South East Asia. And Mount Popa is near by. There is a lot to see and people are nice and friendly. Bicycling among the temples and pagodas, the magic place attracts to those who are interested in fun, exited and adventures vacation.

Chinlon – The Traditional Myanmar Sport

Chinlon is a woven rattan ball which is played basically with foot and other parts of the body-head, shoulder, elbow, knee, heel, sole etc. except for the hands. Any number of players can form a circle and keep the chinlon as long as possible in the air by kicking it soccer-style from player to player. But there is a lack of scoring in chinlon playing and no fixed number of players to play. It is so nice or even exciting to watch a good player or a team of players in circle, standing on one leg all the time, taking every possible posture and movement to keep the chinlon in the air or to prevent it from touching the ground, giving one another difficult strokes, negotiating by tossing, kicking and bouncing- all tactical movements. If chinlon is played as an entertainment at a festival, it is accompanied by music. A band of percussion and wind instrumentalists continued to play while the chinlon play is on, and music changes it’s tempo in harmony with the movements of chinlon and players.

Lotus fibre weaving

Yellow Robes have been offered to the Lord Buddha in different seasons for many hundreds of years in Myanmar, where Theravada Buddhism flourishes, some robes are woven with yarn from the lotus. Lotus robes are woven from stands of yarn obtained from the lotus plant and these are offered to the Images of the Buddha and in special cases to eminent monks who have been awarded titles for outstanding religious services. Weaving a lotus robe by extracting the yarn from Padonma lotus stalks demands great creativity, imagination and artistic skill. Kyaing Khan Village in Inle district is the place where such wonderful robes are woven. Inle Lake, 2900 feet above sea level, is located in Nyaung Shwe Township in the southern part of Shan State. Many varieties of lotus flourish in the Inle Lake but the yarn for the robe is taken from the Padonma Kyar (The Red Lotus). As the level of the water surface is rises, Padonma lotus plants begin to grow in profusion to supply the necessary thread for this special robe. Kyaing Khan village, located in the south of Inle district is the only place where lotus robes are woven. It is not easy to produce lotus thread from which the lotus robe is woven. Lotus stems are plucked in the months of Kason and Nayon (May and June) when lotus plants are abundant in the Lake. The fibres from 120,000 stems of the lotus are needed to weave a set of robes for a monk. Now a day, scarves are also woven from the lotus fibres.

1. Panbe ( the art of blacksmith)

The art of Panbe (black smith) is making necessary items by tempering of iron in the furnace. Since the early of Bagan period (11th century A.D), the emergence of the Myanmar’s traditional blacksmith craft started and improved in the mid Bagan, Ava and Yadanabon period.  One of the artistic wonders of the world, Myanmar’s traditional blacksmith is famous in the Shouth East Asia.

2. Panbu (the art of sculpture)

Panbu is the art of making figures of human beings and animals and floral designs made of wood or ivory. Myanmar traditional sculpture emerged before the Bagan period. It based on the religion of Budhism which arrived from Southern India in the 11th century A.D. One outstanding wood sculpture of the Bagan period is the one at the old portal of Shwesigone pagoda at Nyaung U.

3. Pantain (the art of gold and silver smith)

The art of Pantain (gold or silver smith) means that making items of gold or silver. Silver smith is the art of making prize-cup,drinking bowl, receptacle bowl, shield and belt. Gold smith is the art of making ear-plug, ear-drops,ear

4. Pantin (the art of bronze casting)

Pantin is an activity producing materials of copper, bronze or brass. The artisans make various formats of triangular brass gong and brass bowl for monk, tray, copper pot, cup, bowl, cymbal and bell jingle bell. Myanmar traditional coppersmith’s craft established before Bagan period and it enhanced during Bagan and Innwa dynasties.

5. Pantaut (the art of making floral designs using masonry)

Pantaut means a handiwork of creating decorative floral designs in relief with stucco. The artisans make the figures of mythical lions, dragons and floral designs with stucco. Myanmar traditional stucco carving founded before the Bagan period and it improved tremendously in the Bagan, Inwa, Amarapura and Yadanapon eras.

6. Panyan (the art of bricklaying and masonry)

Panyan refers to troupe who constructs the buildings using bricks, stones and cement. The masons erect brick dwellings, stupas, bridges. Ancient pagodas and other religious structures from Bagan era are the biggest examples of Myanmar’s traditional masonry works. The Myanmar’s traditional masonry of Bagan period are of amazing strength, unbeatable grandeur beauty, immensity of volume, unbelievable detailed and appropriate decorations which in turn possesses the highest admiration of all the historical periods.

7. Pantamault (the art of sculpting with stone)

Pantamault is the person who curves the stones. The artisans mostly craft Buddha images pole for Sima, pillar, leograph, elephants, deer, circular flat stone, pestle and mortar and table. Sculpture in stone is a significant feature of Myanmar fine arts, has to this day been the pride and honor of Myanmar people.

8. Panpoot (the art of turning designs on the lathe)

Panpoot is the enterprise to produce wooden items.  They produce everything from those mighty wooden figures to shaft of umbrella. Myanmar’s traditional Panpoot materialized in the Bagan period in the 8th century A.D.  However, diversity in the crafting styles can be found from era to era. The Myanmar’s traditional arts and crafts owed a great deal of influence of Mon.

9. Panchi (the art of painting)

Myanmar traditional Panchi, like in other cultures, is illustrations with different colors. Ancient Myanmar artists paint the figures of human beings, animals, objects, scenery designs and many. Myanmar traditional painting owe a big time in Bagan era with the Your browser may not support display of this image.

10. Panyun (the art of making lacquer ware)

Panyun means a kind of highly respected handicraft.  Panyun, lacquerware, are produced from knitted bamboo, wood and thick varnish. Very common finished products are bowl for monk, and container of pickle tea, lacquer vessel, drinking cup, betel box, and cheroot box. Myanmar traditional lacquerware are adorned with very interesting drawing styles derived from many stories of Buddha’s life.