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Daunglan, byat, kalap, kwet, ok, etc., which are plain lacquerware, have been used by the Burmans from time immemorial.We cannot say when the Burmans began to know this industry.” U Kyaw Dun differentiates between plain lacquerware and the lacquerware called yun.Taw Sein Ko, Superintendent of the Epigraphic Office of British Burma, and U Lu Pe Win, Director of the Archaeology Department of independent Myanmar, when Anawrahta conquered Thaton, the capital of the Mon kingdom in Lower Myanmar, in AD 1058, he brought back with him to Bagan not only Buddhist relics, scriptures and learned monks but also artists and craftsmen, including lacquer craftsmen, whom he settled at his capital.In the understanding of this school, the lacquer tradition of the Mon kingdom which was transplanted to Bagan was not native to Thaton but was acquired through its overland trade with the neighbouring kingdom of Chiangmai. In a contribution to the Journal of the Burma Research Society, U Kyaw Dun has noted, “The Mons knew how to make a betel box lacquer work long ago, for they have its name in their own language.” The Mons were producing their own style of lacquerware before they started their trade with Chiangmai.The lacquer tradition in Myanmar is an ancient one.The art of lacquerware, pan yun, is one of the ten traditional arts and crafts of Myanmar which are metaphorically called “flowers” (pan) and an early example of Myanmar lacquerware is provided by the lacquer tube dated to AD 1274 which was excavated at the Mingalazedi Pagoda in Bagan.A second school of thought opines that the lacquer tradition was established in Upper Myanmar during the reign of Anawrahta (AD 1044-1077).According to this school, which had among its exponents Mr.
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.
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.
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 Bagan Museum also has on display a number of excavated lacquerware, including Buddha images, votive objects and household articles, which attest to the antiquity of the lacquer tradition in Myanmar.