Weaving of Lun Yar Kyaw, which is one of the Myanmar Traditional Fabrics. First of all, the white silk is dyed according to design and one’s favourite colour. The dyed silk is made into yarn by using a small spindle and put into the wooden reel. These are used as a warp threads when weaving. Simultaneously, yarn of various colours is mixed and made in accord with design and the number of yarn one desires. These mixed yarn are also wound onto the small bamboo bobbin of the wooden shuttle casing for the desired amount. These are to use threads of the weft in weaving. Dividing upper and lower yarn of warps from hitching-frame is made by hand using big spindle. After that, yarns from the big spindle are put into wooden spool. These yarns are put into the frame of the reed in a loom. If you finish carrying out these tasks, it is ready for weaving.
When you have chosen the design, weaving can take place. It is very difficult to weave the 100-shuttle fabric. Much waft and weave to create the wavy design. It takes about three years to learn the art. Depending on the design, 100 or more looms are used. Therefore, it is called Lun Yar Kyaw, which means fabric specially woven with a hundred or two hundred shuttles of multi-coloured silk thread. Myanmar silk fabrics with intricate wavy design or pattern need 2 or 3 girls in a loom. To finish a fabric for one person, it take at least one month. Mirror is used to check designs, because woven up-side down. Right leg presses first and shuttle is put when upper yarn and lower yarn are kept open. When all shuttle are woven for entire line and only a frame of the reed in a loom is used once. When the weaving is done, the fabric’s edge are cut with a pair of scissors and a systematic Lun Yar Kyaw fabric is obtained. There are altogether (50) to (70) patterns of Lun Yar Kyaw fabric. It varies from pattern of the Royal Era to present days like Sabei kon, Pan Bayin, Thonn Yaung Che and Da wei sin. In this way, beautiful Lun Yar Kyaw fabrics are being woven all the year round for Myanmar women.
An Umbrella for Style
There is a scenic little town by the small lake of Pindaya named after Pindaya town. Somewhere in the southeast corner of the Shan State, set in a plain surrounded by mountains, this little town has been famous for a natural cave where more than 9,000 statues of the Lord Buddha are enshrined. Pindaya is also known for its umbrellas, especially those with a canopy of paper. It is indeed a sight to watch a Pindaya craftsman making a Pindaya umbrella.
Every part of the umbrella – the hub, the shaft, the ribs, the handle are hand crafted and the Indian trumpet, which goes by the botanical name of Bignonia indica, is the wood of choice for these parts. First the hub is cut and grooved accordingly on a foot-operated turner lathe. Then it is fixed to one end of the shaft. Next the ribs are fitted into the grooves on the hub and the underside of the ribs is then decorated with intricate patterns of woollen threads of various colours. The lengths of the ribs and that of the shaft are then adjusted as required. With this framework completed, the craftsman goes on fixing the canopy over the ribs. The material for the canopy may be either paper or cloth, depending on one’s taste and choice. If it is to be paper, then two layers of a kind of coarse paper made from mulberry pulp are stuck onto the ribs with glue made from the juice of a certain fruit. The colour of the product is light brown but one may order the colour of one’s choice. In order that the umbrella may be furled or unfurled smoothly, the stiff paper or cloth has to be folded by hand to get the creases in the right places. Finally fix the cap above the hub, the catch at the right place on the shaft and the handle and ready to have a truly handcrafted Pindaya umbrella! For durability, just give the canopy a good coating of crude oil and the umbrella will be yours for all seasons: to adorn your parlour or to protect you from sun and rain.
Art in Glass Bottles
Glass bottle painting, the art painted inside glass bottles, is a unique kind of art painting. The first glass bottle paintings appeared in China at the beginning of the19th Century. Most artists can paint on the outer surface of a bottle, but it is not easy to paint on the inner surface. Although it looks like canvas painting, glass bottle painting is a more intricate type of art, which needs to be precise in scale U Nyo Lay from Myanmar, is an imaginative glass bottle artist who taught himself the art. He suffers from polio since childhood and he became a disable after several freak accidents. Thus the lower past of his body and his right hand and arm are now useless, and he became a wheel chair bound artist working with his left hand only. But out of his perseverance and dedication he became the first glass bottle artist in Myanmar and his work of art is well known. U Nyo Lay explained, “Bottle-art depends upon the subject which is going to be painted, and to finish a bottle, it takes at least 15 days. Unlike ordinary painting, it is done in reverse style.
At the Kinpone Base camp before you start hiking to the Kyaikhtiyo Pagoda. Along the way, there are many shops and malls selling souvenirs of Bamboo toys. How Bamboo toys are made here. And the process is very simple with the regional products. So please take a look at it. The first step is to cut the Bamboo as required measurement and the next step is connecting the bamboo and the wood. There is a hole where they can put a plastic pinion then, they will put it inside and they can make the sound like a bullet. So it’s the second step. The third step is very interesting as he blows the wind through the pipe by using a candle, he can write letters as he wish. The items can be done as the costumers require. They are made with Bamboo and very sample. So it’s a must for every visitor to come and buy these things for souvenirs for children. It is enjoyable how the processes are made and they are making. So come and see and take them.
Beach Souvenir Sea Shell Decoration
What do the sea waves bring to the beach? Shells. It is really a nice hobby to collect shells on the beach. And, it is also lucrative business to produce these beautiful shells into decorative household adornments. There are various kinds of shells on the beach. Some are big and some tiny and cute. They have various kinds of shape and design. When we combine each of their beauty and create skilfully with the art of human hands by stringing, these beautiful little ones become more beautiful and useful in household decorations. With the creation of a skilful designer, oyster shells decorations designed as birds, elephants, owls, rabbits, turtles, and shell partitions, hair bands, necklaces, hats table lamps and so on are attractive souvenirs to the holiday beach-comers. Shell decoration business will last forever until the sea and the lovely creatures, which are washed upon the sand along with the white waves, exist.
The Cotton Weaving Industry of Inlay
Most people, depending on the terrain and climate of their environment or on the kind of raw materials available, wear clothing made of silk, satin, cotton.
But from the point of view of health, clothes made of cotton are the best. So, especially when the weather turns warm, we normally choose cotton wear. Pure cotton fabrics are available in our country. The people of Inn-lay region, which lies in the south-eastern part of the Shan State, are very talented and innovative in weaving and designing cotton and silk fabrics and in sewing attractive articles from materials such as silk, cotton and wool.
The young girls who need very good reflexes and a lot of practice and skill to work with hand looms. A good weaver needs concentration of mind and perfect co-ordination of eyes, hands and feet to work the loom, to produce a handsome fabric from which all manner of articles may be sewn. Of the many fabrics produced by the looms of Inlay, one of the most charming accessories is the shoulder bag, generally known as a “ Shan Bag ”, although many other regions in Myanmar produce different versions of the same bag. This shoulder bag made of cloth of variegated colours is stitched together from wool and from cotton material woven on a small low back-strap hand loom known as “Jut-Khok”.
The weaver sits on the floor with both legs outstretched and a belt strapped around her waist to keep the hundreds of thread in line. She then has to beat each thread into place with a piece of flat wood, hence the name “Jut Khok” (hacking into place). With this small traditional loom, the young girls, with utmost patience weave pattern of fabulous mythical creatures like the `Tonaya`, a lion-like creature of the Himalayan regions, dragon, fishing boat, as well as symmetrical squares, stars, dots and stripes. The bags with their eye-catching patterns are a favorite with young and old, and much in demand by foreign tourists.
The Innlay region also produces “ pasoe”(men’s wear) and “ htamein” (women’s wear), of the best cotton in all colours and designs especially for the ladies. The men’s wear is more sober but the material for both is smooth and flawless. So, if you desire not just piece of cotton fabric, but one with the right colours and attractive designs. Then the variety of cotton material produced by the Innlay region will certainly have something special.
Embroidery is a Myanmar Traditional artistic work. It is the art of sewing silver and gold threads on costumes, garments and dresses of members of royal palace of many decades ago. These are modern embroideries, which are a combination of articles and artist work according to traditional handicraft figures. The embroidery paintings are being implemented by handicraft to bring out the shape of figures including ideas of light and dark and a mixture of colours and views of art.
Pictures depicting traditional oil lamp dance, a romantic dance by a male and a female dancer, or a duet dance, single dance and a damsel carrying a bowl for offering of food to monks and other pictures of traditional cultural styles drawn on the fabrics are sewn with silver and gold threads on the painting which becomes a beautiful embroidery. Moreover, pictures of pagodas and beautiful national scenes of Myanmar are also sewn on it. Painting plays a vital role from the beginning to the end of an embroidery work. It is the painting that brings out the figures in the embroidery to be distinct.
In the process of an embroidery painting, the artist first draws the sketches on a piece of silk, satin or velvet. The artist then uses cotton to bring out the figures to be distinct and also strings beads and spangles with coloured threads and decorates the figures. Then embellishes the faces of the figures by his artistic work. Painting is one of the ten traditional arts and crafts. Embroidery painting is a combination of art and handicraft work. The embroidery is attractive to viewers to preserve Myanmar traditional cultural heritage.
Fabulous glassware decoration
Glass-wares, the clear colour and transparent materials are considered precious items, as their beauty is exquisite and at the same time decorative. And that’s why we, Myanmar, like to use glass-wares not only in the kitchen but also use them as home decorations. Nowadays, Myanmar glass-wares are starting to compete in international markets. Though they are produced by machine, many of the glass-wares are hand-crafted, thus they are regarded as Myanmar handicrafts. There are many private glassware enterprises.
Among them Naga Glass Factory situated in Hlaing Township is well-known and sought out by buyers from with-in and out of the country. Many of the products have handicrafts designs. The raw materials are pieces of glass, lime, sand and silicon compound which are systematically mixed for the production process. Among the many items produced for decoration, the fish-shaped vase is very interesting. The main glass furnace has 8 crucibles that can be used to melt simultaneously 8 colours of molten glass. First, take required molten glass from the furnace, heated to 1200`C. Then make it round by turning it in a cup mixed with a little bit of water and oil.
Then the round tip is taken out by long pliers. That’s the amazing skill of handicrafts maker. It’s very important to create the desired shape in time, as molten glass can cool in a moment. That’s the head of the fish. Moreover tactile skill is also essential in making the body. Later on, the eyes of the fish are placed. So also spines and fins are then made. To mould the molten hot glass, like wax, it depends on the skills of the glass craftsman. And it is also important to give heat if needed to the glass while moulding. How to make fish tail in a short time using long pliers is also artistic. Making of glass-mug is also amazing. After taking molten glass from the furnace, blow it into the cast iron mould. The mug is shaped out not only with mouth but also with skilful hands. When the molten glass handle is added, the mug is completed.
Making glass tube for science laboratory is also a speciality of this workshop. To produce these glass-tubes, two employees stand facing each other and one blow the molten glass into a well-proportionate glass-tube. To get fine glass-wares, one needs to anneal all the finished products in the kiln for 24 hours and cooled again for 24 hours. Molten glass is also used for cutting glassware. After polishing with abrasive machine, the smooth and wonderful glass-wares are ready to be used. Glass-wares are well-worth, priceless handicrafts and these fabulous glass-wares will always make fine precious household decorations.