Thursday, 28 March 2013

Golden Cuckoo, Bagan

Bagan, on the eastern bank of the Irrawaddy River in central Myanmar, is one of the most extraordinary archeological sites in Asia. The area is also well-known for its lacquerware. Actually a lot of lacquer objects sold in neighbouring countries come from Myanmar, and mainly from Bagan. The main production centre in the region is the small village of Myinkaba between Old Bagan and New Bagan. Dozens of workshops can be found between centuries-old temples and stupas.

While a fair share of the lacquerware sold to tourists will be of low quality, with a bamboo-only frame and around seven to ten layers of lacquer, some of the workshops in Myinkaba, including the family-run Golden Cuckoo, also produce good quality articles with sixteen to twenty layers of lacquer. These are made of a fine pieces of bamboo tied together with horse or donkey hair and can take months to produce. Indeed each coat of lacquer must be allowed to dry before it is sanded down with ash from rice husk and the next layer can be applied. Depending on the season and consequently the degree of humidity, this can take between five and days days per layer. Therefore it is wrong to expect high quality lacquerware to be cheap, even if the price quoted first can usually be brought down during a good-humoured haggling.

U Tin Htun + Daw Aye Aye
Golden Cuckoo
Family Lacquer-ware
Workshop
Myinkaba (Sein Gone Quarter)

Location: Bagan - Chauk Road, Myinkaba Village, Bagan / Pictures taken in January 2013

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