Monday, August 14, 2017

Day 18: Bagan, Myanmar

We rented e-bikes today and cruised around the area. I had researched the name of a family lacquerware producer in the nearby village and we decided to try and find it. We turned off the main dirt road, took a right at the fork, and went down an alleyway. Clearly few tourists have ventured so far, but the village setting doesn't bother me one bit. We found the sign for Jasmine Family Lacquerware and peaked our heads around the fence. I asked if we could see their shop hoping the woman understood English. She nodded yes and motioned to come in. She brought us to one of the sons who spoke English. He dropped what he was doing and pulled up some chairs for us. We received an amazing half an hour long explanation of both the history and step by step process of lacquerware production with examples. Then he showed us the underground drying chamber and took us around to all his family members and explained their roles and what they were working on. Last we went to his store and purchased some goods to take home. While they packaged everything up for us his mom gave us treats and bottled water. He took our picture to remember us and gave us his card to spread the word.  For all the war and struggle that the people of Myanmar have been through I find them to be incredibly gentle and kind. A smile is all you need to communicate around here.  We went back to the hotel to cool off in the pool. Later we watched the sunset from the top of a Padoga as we did the night before. 

Learning all about lacquerware. 
Underground drying chamber. 

Inside the underground drying chamber. 
Explanation of how the first detailer carves the outline of the design. 

The matriarch of the family skillfully weaving the bamboo baskets that form the base of the lacquerware. The ladies in the background are the second detailers who fill in the design. 

The shop. It can take 5 to 7 months to complete one piece. 
JM is a celebrity around here. We were stopped several times and people asked to have their picture taken with him.  

No comments:

Post a Comment