Burmese crafts: The art of carving

Posted on April 8, 2017 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

burmese wood carving

burmese carving

burmese wood carving

burmese wood carving  burmese carving

burmese carving

 

Carving has endured a long history in Myanmar. Exquisite wood carvings can still seen at some ancient monasteries and pagodas. Teak is commonly used as it is a native species in the rain forests of South East Asia.

In Mandalay, we visited a wood carving workshop where we saw artisans carving large teak panels featuring the Buddha and other ornamental symbols related to Buddhism.

Yet not far from the wood carving workshop lies an entire road of marble carving workshops. This road is called Kyauk Sitt Thin (which literally means 'Stone Carving Road'). It turns out that Mandalay is particularly well known for its marble stone sculptures.

 

burmese marble carving

burmese marble carving

marble carving

burmese marble carving

burmese marble carving

burmese marble carving  burmese marble carving

burmese marble carving

burmese marble carving

Marble carving workshops in Mandalay

 

The Burmese word for marble is 'Sagyin', which also is the name of a village about 21 miles to the north of Mandalay. The village is located near Sagyin Hill, a mountain range consists of 7 hills with large quantities of marble. And not far from the hills is Mogok, which is known as the Valley of Rubies.

The marble from Sagyin Hill varies in colour from pure white to bluish grey. Traditionally, stone carving used to be carved solely by hand using chisels, but now power tools are being used instead. The once handcrafted trade has now become a mass production industry that exports globally.

We saw many young apprentices (who don't get paid in their first year of learning) working there without masks, which is quite alarming. And oddly, most of the Buddha statues we saw along the road look almost identical (with some variations in sizes), so no particular workshop stood out for us.

 

burmese sculptures

burmese sculptures

burmese sculptures

burmese sculptures

burmese sculptures

The making of bronze statues at a workshop in Mandalay

 

After seeing marble carving, we then proceeded to another nearby bronze statue workshop. A traditional lost-wax-method is used to produce these statues. First, a clay-based mold is made, then it is covered with a thin layer of wax, which enables the carving process to take place. Afterwards, a second clay frame is molded around the wax statue. Molten bronze is then poured in between the two molds, melting the wax and filling the gap. When the clay mold is cooled and removed, the bronze statue inside becomes a replica of the original wax statue. The statue is then polished by hand or power tools to make it look smooth and shiny.

 

burmese carving

burmese puppets

burmese puppets  burmese puppets

burmese coconut carving

The art of carving can be seen everywhere including traditional carved puppets and even coconuts!

 

To be contined...


This post was posted in Travel, Traditional arts & crafts, Puppetry, Myanmar, Carving and was tagged with puppetry, traditional crafts, Myanmar, Burmese craft, wood carving, marble carving

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