Friday, 4 December 2015

The Myanmar discovery circuit - Day 3 (morning cont.) - Mandalay, the craftsmen's quarter - teak carving, embroidery and puppetry making - The 14th of November 2015


We then walked into a multiple crafts' workshop where we came across some specimens of  meticulously well done wood carving which is not surprisingly said to be among the oldest of Burmese handicrafts.  The teak wood carvers were having their lunch break we didn't therefore watch them carrying out their craftsmanship.

We then continued towards the alley of the embroideries which have long been an important part of Burmese life. We watched some ladies carrying out elaborately sequined and padded wall hanging embroideries to be incorporated on black velvet.
The technique used for making those "kalaga", though ancient has been adapted. One could clearly see the amount of work involved and the fact that the women embroiderers have to bend over those meticulous patterns for endless hours made me once more realised the "richness" of such an art and the extent of our unawareness whenever we negotiate the price of such goods.
I ended up handing out some colourful baloons and fruit lollipops to a child standing beside her embroiderer mother and was happy to see the way she put them in display on the working pattern her mother was carrying out before looking at me. 

Marionette images are among the traditionally wooden objects made today so we were given the unique opportunity to watch a teenager sewing the richly adorned costumes to the marionette structures before heading to the shopping area.  There was an unbelievable amount of marionettes in several costumes certainly associated to the yok they pwe, the traditional Burmese marionett Theatre.
I couldn't resist buying one, as I haven't given up the idea of being able to "skillfully" control the 10 or more strings attached to them and have them portray some basic movements, even if stylised.

I got acquainted with a teenager who prior to having been handed out some bracelets and photoframes in the form of hearts was looking rather stern and almost speechless. I was glad to have soon realised she was smiling back at me even if in a rather shy way as she put the coloured rubber bracelets around her wrist and called out for a friend, whom I ended up giving some to as well.


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