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Mandalay Art Myanmar Art

Mandalay Art, carving, stone sculpture, marble sculpturing, silver art, wood carvings, bronze sculpting, Myanmar art, wooden art, Myanmar arts and crafts, relief carving, silk art, jewelry art.

- Myanmar and Mandalay in upper Burma have a rich cultural background.

At Mandalay City are plenty of big and small Mandalay art & craft workshops. This area is also full of natural resources and natural products; marvels and miracles which could hardly be found in other countries.

The Mandalay art & craft scene has a wide spectrum in that area and there is no industrial manufacturing, everything is done by hand with chisel and hammer, other carving tools and saw for the bigger parts. Carving stone sculpture and marble sculpturing is done in a artist quarter close to the Mahamuni Temple. Silver art and wood carvings are also made nearby so is bronze sculpting and brass casting. Wooden art is created in lots of locations and wood for carvings is usually teak. Teal is also used for relief carving. Actually the best relief carving is done in Chiang Mai, Thailand. They buy whole teak trunks and create real masterpieces of wooden art. But not only with teak wood also rosewood is used, sometimes fro carving but mainly for furniture.

Silk art using Myanmar silk which a bit harder then Chinese silk, somehow similar to Thailand silk is a good business but for export not much used since the quality is less than Thai silk and the prices are higher than Thai silk, nobody outside the country buys that. One such thing is the existence of colossal marble images of Lord Buddha and not only marble, there is a thriving "art industry" around the Buddha theme and other subjects. All this arts and craft  are done in marble, wood via woodcarving, brass casting and bronze casting, silversmith, silk creations, paintings and sculpturing with different materials such as Jade Buddhas and ruby jewelry using the output from the

 ruby mines at Mokok north of Mandalay. At Monywa are the currently biggest copper mines and north of Mogok are the biggest Jade mines in the world. Lots of this jade is smuggled to the north into China and become Chinese Jade, after jade jewelry and other jade art items are created.

Buddha marble sculpturing are specially hewn out of a single flawless alabaster or marble stone from the Sagyin

hills range at Madaya township, Mandalay Division. The Sagyin Hills ranges are an extension of the mountains in the Mogok area, which is world-renowned Ruby Land.

There was a very interesting true story about the discovery of a huge alabaster monolith which was later
Myanmar arts and crafts
Myanmar arts and crafts

hewn and sculptured to be a Great Marble Buddha Image, known as Kyauktawgyi the title being (Maha Sakka Lawka Marazein) meaning (Of Sakka Race and Conqueror of Mara). It is known commonly as

Buddha marble sculpturing
Buddha marble sculpturing

as Kyauktawgyi (the grat stone image). During the reign of King Bagan (1848-1853), two Prince Mindon and Prince Kanaung, half-brothers of the ruling King rose against the latter. As the King’s royal troops were chasing the two rebel Princes, Mindon Princetook refuge at Sagyin village. At the place, Mindon came to know that there was an enormous alabaster monolith, which could be formed into a Buddha image. At that instant, he made a solemn how to make such an image, if he could ascend the throne.

Myanmar art stone sculpture
Myanmar art stone sculpture

It would be difficult to create this stone sculpture since the carving tools were not very developed during that time but marble sculpturing was at a reasonable level. Wood for carving wooden art was teak and relatively easy for carving the job was more depending at the artist when using wood, also for relief carving.

Prince Mindon became the King in 1853, but was not able to realize his promise until 12 years elapsed. Under the King’s order, the big alabaster stone was raised from the ground by levers and sledges. The volunteers carried down to the foot of the hall where it was sculpted. Master sculptors, U Toke Gyi and U Pike Htwa undertook their assignment and was finally completed after 2/3 years. The conveyance of the Great Image to Mandalay, King Mindon’s capital was an interesting account given by renowned doyen of Myanmar literature, Ludu Daw Ahmar. It was a marvel of Myanmar traditional engineering skill and ingenuity. The alabaster stone image was lodged on a twin barge and floated down through Sagyin lake and then into Sagyin stream and thence to the river Ayeyawaddy. The raft which carried the Image reached Mway village jetty on August 8, 1864. From there, it was hauled by the King’s steamer Mya Nan Setkya down to Mandalay. Four Ministers, one junior Minister and high officials were put under the charge. On August 19, 1864, the steamer arrived at Ei Kin jetty. The arrival of the Image was given guns salute and the King and his retinue welcomed the Great Image. Then, the raft carrying the Image was drawn into Shwetachaung Canal and transferred to a sledge taken by runners to the site at the foot of the Mandalay hill. The Crown Prince Kanaung Min and 12000 strong volunteers dragged the sledge to the very site, a distance about 5 miles with religious zeal 

and devotion. Daily report of progress was to be telegraphed to the King from Sagyin to Madaya daily.

On May 16, 1865, there was a state pageant for the completion of the Kyauktawgyi pagoda. The King was so enthusiastic that he himself painted the face of the Image after which professional artists gave the finishing touches. The veneral Sayadaws consecrated the Image by chanting the Buddhist doctrine of Anekajati Samsaram. The occasion was celebrated by music and dancing. King Mindon lavishly awarded titles, honours, promotions and cash to all those who participated in the making and transporting the colossal Image. Sagyin town were exempted from 12 kinds of taxation and revenue. The whole Sagyin area was declared “Birds” Sanctuary.

The Great Image, Kyauktawgyi measures 18 ft (5.4 m) across and 43 ft-8 in (13 m) in circumference at the base, with a girth of 15 ft-9 in (4.8 m) at the waist 12 ft (3.6 m) across and 19 ft-6 in (5.9 m) around the shoulders and the height is 26 ft (7.9 m).
The present roof of the temple, a unique design donated by the Shan Chief of Nyaungshwe. In the precint, figures of 80 disciples of Buddha are ranged round the central Image, 20 on each side. The said King’s pageant was painted on a folding white parchment (white parabeik) which came into the possession of Mr. R.C.J. Swinhoe of Mandalay after the British annexation of Myanmar. Mr. Charles Duroiselle, the Supreintendent of the Archaeology Survey, Burma (Myanmar), printed in book form in 1925.

- Traditional Ten Flowers Arts & Crafts (Pan Se Pwint)

More than thousand years ago, Myanmar people had learnt these Arts and Crafts, ever since from PYU and BAGAN periods (9-10th) centuries. Under the Myanmar traditions, these Arts and Crafts are of ten kinds and known as Ten Flowers (Pan Se Pwint). They are extolled by the famous Court poet Letwe Thondra U Myatsan, in his Thadina Pyo as:-
“These Flowers are of ten different kinds,
Not meant for offering at the Buddhist shrine”.
Monywe Zetawun Reverend Sayadawgyi, in his “Yazawwahda Treatise”, gave a brief rhyming to memorize in this way;
“Pe, Tein, Tin, Tau, Yan, Pu, Mau,
Know Ye Put, Chi, Yun”.
These alphabets convey the following meanings:-
1. Pe: = Pan Pe = the art of
blacksmith
2. Tein = Pan Tein = the art of
silver and gold smith
3. Tin = Pan Tin = the art of cop
per, bronze and brass smith
4. Tau = Pan Tau = the art of ce
ment, stucco and plaster sculpture
5. Yan = Pan Yan = the art of
masonry
6. Pu = Pan Pu = the art of
wood and ivory carving
7. Mau = Pan Ta Mau = the art of
stone sculpture
8. Put = Pan Put = the art fur
nishing and polishing (a turner)
9. Chi = Pan Chi = the art of
painting and drawing
10. Yun = Pan Yun = the art of
making lacquer ware

- Myanmar people appreciate Myanmar art, arts and crafts

as charming and elegant as the flowers that bloom in all seasons. For that reason, Myanmar calls these arts and crafts flowers. Pan means flowers, Myanmar art, arts and crafts decorate architecture, religious buildings and edifices, pagodas, temples and stupas. Wherever you go in Myanmar, you will find the eloquent evidence of Myanmar art and crafts glittering in the tropical sunlight and picturesque landscape and environs.

During the reigns of the Myanmar Kings, there was a Ministerial portfolio, called Minister of Blacksmith (Pan Pe Taw) or Pan Pe Wun appointed by the monarch. He was a trusted high official of the King whose charge was to produce swords, daggers and spears for the national army. There was also a Dah Kyat Wun whose duty was to make swords. Myanmar swords were of best steel. There was historical evidence that, during the Innwa (Ava) period, when the Shan King Tho-Han-Bwa became too oppressive on Myanmars, the upright and gallant Mingyi Yannaung manoeuvred him to a ceremony and thereby gave a fierce stroke with his sword. The sword was so sharp and powerful it cut through not only Tho-Han-Bwa’s body but the seat of the King and a hundred bamboo plinths underneath. It is reputed that Myanmar sword even could cut clean an elephant’s neck.

wood relief carving
wood relief carving
wooden art
wooden art

Mandalay art, carving, stone sculpture, marble sculpturing, silver art, wood carvings, bronze sculpting, relief carving, silk art, jewelry art, Myanmar art, Myanmar arts and crafts.

Mandalay Art & Craft
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