Bagan Lacquerware – How an Artisan Creats a Masterpiece
» Origin of Bagan Lacquerware
Originating from China, the lacquerware has developed thousands of years in almost Southeast Asia countries. In Myanmar, resin is taken from Thit-si tree, which is popular in most of Myanmar forests. The sap of the lacquer tree features a strong adhesive quality and a beautiful shine. For a Bagan travel, the local lacquerware is a one of the best things to do in Bagan to understand more about local life.
» Complete Process of Making Bagan Lacquerware
Making the Inner parts
It is believed that the origin of the lacquer in Myanmar was from Bagan in 12th -13th century. In the Mingalazedi Pagoda, one of the oldest lacquers was found. The locals use bamboos coming from the forests of the Chin State to make the inner parts of the lacquer ware. After being cut out and softened, bamboos are shaped in different forms such as bowls, dishes, vases, plates and various boxes.
The first lacquering is covered with “Thayo”- a paste made of resin and mixed ashes. The craftsmen could conduct the work with their bare hands or with fine gloves. The quality of the lacquer is determined by the number of layers coated on the object. Craftsmen used this technique to make the work from generation to generation.
After the application is finished on the mould, then it is compulsory to dry it in wet places. Drying will take about 1 week. The quality of the lacquers will be affected if there is a lack of moisture.
After completing the stage of drying, washing and sandpapering is the next stage which plays a significant role in the quality of the lacquer.
The layers of the lacquer are carried out evenly and continuously. Each time when a layer is finished, one may polish the surface with a fine fabric.
7 layers of Lacquering
At the last layer of the lacquer, one will paint it with different colors such as red, green, blue or yellow. If the lacquer is mixed with the powder of mercury cinnabar, the color will be obtained. This mixture is called Hinthabada.
The last stage for a complete lacquer is decorating. Craftsmen use their bare hands, without model to engrave the work. Both small objects such as utensils of crockery and pieces of furniture such as cupboards, tables are ornamented with beautiful colors.
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