Bagan’s Famous Lacquerware

Bagan in central Burma is not only well known for its much more than 2,000 historic temples and pagodas but also for its famous lacquerware, which is a person of Bagan’s primary resources of earnings. For amazing wonderful lacquerware of optimum excellent both aged and new, Bagan is the area to acquire it due to the fact listed here is exactly where it is generated in a difficult and time-consuming system that necessitates a really large conventional of craftsmanship and artistic expertise both of which are handed down from generation to generation in the numerous lacquerware relatives businesses in Bagan.

The historical past of lacquerware can be backtracked to the ‘Shang Dynasty’ who ruled a kingdom centred in the Huang He (Yellow River) valley in China from about 1570 B.C. to about 1045 B.C. They formulated the 1st lacquer and the earliest examples of lacquerware are archaeological fragments from the time the ‘Shang Dynasty’ ruled China from exactly where this artwork came to Burma.

Lacquer operate is the process of implementing a varnish to the surfaces of a product as both equally a decorative and protecting unit. Lacquer is a mixture of resins (natural and artificial), a cellulose spinoff and other elements. Soon after the lacquer – a fast drying liquid utilized to surfaces of objects to give a stiffening, decorative and protecting coating – is utilized to a floor the solvents evaporate and the cellulose and resins dry and undertake a chemical reaction that leaves a challenging nevertheless adaptable coating. Lacquer’s two most notable traits are that it generates a surface impervious to superior temperatures and humidity and that it blends easily with color pigments and/or other embellishments.

Due to the fact owning arrived at Burma, existing-working day Myanmar, at some time in the 1st century A.D. through the ‘Nan-Chao Empire’, currently Yunnan, it has created here into an artwork of refined high quality and belongs to the style of Burma traditional arts and crafts. The Burmese phrase for lacquerware is ‘Yung Hte’, indicating ‘The Wares of Yunnan’. Pagan/Bagan – where the art of building lacquerware is believed to have been carried to during King Anawrahta’s (1044 to 1077) conquest of Thaton in 1057 – and Prome/Pyay are modern centres of Myanmar’s lacquerware industry. Other cities with lacquerware tradition are Mandalay, Kyauk Ka and Kyaing Tong.

The unique styles of Burma’s/Myanmar’s lacquerware are:

a) Kyauk Ka Ware, (simple lacquer ware), b) Yun Ware (incised lacquer ware), c) Shwe Zawa Ware (gild lacquer ware), d) Tha-Yo (relief moulded lacquer ware), e) Hmansi Ware (mosaic and guild lacquer ware), f) Guy, Guy Paya or Hnee Paya (dry lacquer ware).

The lacquer ware created in periods past was predominantly of terribly fine quality and only 1 strategy was applied: the dry lacquer method. For occasion, lacquerware bowls were made close to bamboo wickerwork and plaited horse hair, typically even only horse hair, which to plait into extended and slim strings can take a lot of people and time. The outcome was a diploma of overall flexibility that allowed the urgent collectively of the bowl’s rim without the lacquer’s peeling off or the bowl’s breaking these a exceptional top quality does of program use very a hefty cost tack. These days there are two other tactics of creation that prevail. Inferior lacquer ware articles or blog posts have a wood base remarkable articles have commonly a core of bamboo wickerwork only, assuming larger longevity and elasticity.

a) Kyauk Ka Ware

‘Kyauk Ka lacquerware’ contains primarily utilitarian products utilized in the household these kinds of as trays, cups, flower vases, goblets, and betel bins. This sort of relatively straightforward lacquer ware is black on the outdoors and red on the inside. No get the job done of creative worth is essential and used to deliver this ware. Its identify, Kyauk Ka, it has from the village it is originated. Kyauk Ka ware is offered at quite reasonable rates.

b) Yun Ware

‘Yun lacquer ware’ articles are created largely for decorative and votive functions and are objects this sort of as furniture (for case in point, tables, sideboards, chairs), bowls, flower vases, wall decorations, paravents, jewel containers, relic caskets, napkin rings, top quality chopsticks and bangles. Yun ware objects are very attractive and the artfully incised regions in the black floor depicting intricate patterns of floral ornaments, animal and human figures are crammed with red, orange, yellow, blue, green and white.

c) Shwezawa Ware

‘Shwezawa’ or ‘Guild lacquer ware’ contains in essence any type of article that is meant to be highly decorative and exceptional in look. To the artfully with a stylus incised components of the respective item are gold foils utilized just after the place in concern is coated with lacquer. For the reason that of the use of gold foil and the superior diploma of inventive work demanded to generate Shwezawa ware these articles or blog posts are comparatively highly-priced.

d) Tha-Yo

‘Tha-Yo’ is relief moulded lacquer ware and any variety of object can be embellished with Tha-Yo. From tiny containers and caskets to furnishings. As the title implies, ash of animal bones (tha-yo) is combined with paddy husk, saw dust and/or even cow dunk and lacquer and pugged into a easy and pliable plaster, which is then rolled into strings of varying thickness These strings of plaster are then applied to make reliefs by applying them to the lacquered area of the pertinent item that is to be adorned and forming them into the structure selected with a stylus. On completion of the reduction that is now sticking firmly to the floor it is dried and coated with a number of layers of lacquer. In the closing stage the reliefs are gilded or coloured what presents the aid layout the overall look of getting carved out of the substance the item is made of or moulded in one piece with the article it ornaments.

e) Hmansi Ware

‘Hmansi lacquerware’ is really a mixture of ‘Shwezawa’ and ‘Tha-Yo’ complemented by glass, mirror, marble and/or mother-of-pearl mosaics. This kind of lacquer ware is applied predominantly for articles that serve decorative and votive applications and for the embellishment of home furniture. It is not suitable for utilitarian goods as reliefs, on the a single hand, are of significant decorative benefit but do, on the other hand, restrict the work of the objects for a lot more realistic use. Into the lacquered and tha-yo embellished surface of the object variably sized parts of in different ways coloured glass, mirror marble and/or mother-of-pearl are lied making use of as adhesive a unique lacquer. In the upcoming phase gold foil is used to the full surface and later on eradicated from the products employed for the mosaic surfaces by merely washing it absent with drinking water. However, to the lacquered sections of the floor the gold foil stays trapped. Because both of those product and creative craftsmanship employed are highly-priced and the finished solutions are of very attractive benefit, Hmansi lacquerware pieces are pretty expensive.

f) Male Paya

This expression refers to ‘Dry lacquerware’ and is made use of in Burma/Myanmar for this variety of (Gentleman Paya) lacquerware simply because votive posts for pagodas – mostly Buddha images – are dry lacquerware. The name has little to do with the method in which the post is produced but as mentioned is derived from these content articles votive function. To apply lacquer to a area of wood, wickerwork, and so forth. is known as ‘Man’ and ‘Paya’ usually means pagoda. Subsequently ‘Man Paya’ is lacquer wickerwork for a pagoda. Due to the fact the framework of Buddha statues, which is made of bamboo wickerwork – is identified as ‘Hnee’, this form of lacquerware is also named ‘Hnee Paya’. But, as said beforehand, the appropriate identify is dry lacquerware. To make dry lacquerware is a months-lengthy procedure – involving twelve or a lot more levels of output – that needs higher-excellent supplies, cool, airy and dust absolutely free drying chambers as nicely as a substantial common of artistic craftsmanship. The end result is an extraordinarily great, large-high-quality lacquerware solution.

The full generation system as outlined in the next starts off with the assortment of lacquer. Accurate lacquer is made from the purified and dehydrated sap of ‘Rhus vernicifera’, a species of sumac tree located in Southeast Asia. This is the substance in which standard lacquer operate is commonly done in Asian nations. Shellac, typically employed in European and American lacquer function and ware is made from the secretion of the scale insect ‘Laccifer lacca’.

In the very first phase, uncooked lacquer is in exactly the exact same way in which latex is tapped from rubber trees taken from the ‘Thitsi’ tree (Melanorrhoea usitatissima) a tree that is rising wild as very well as in artifical plantations (cultivated) in the Shan point out. The sticky, gray-coloured extract turns tough and black when receiving in speak to with oxygen (air).

Upcoming, light-weight bamboo wickerwork mixed with horse hair or wickerwork completely of horse hair is manufactured. The latter remaining of maximum excellent and most pricey, while the former is of lower high-quality (since of the less costly and much less excellent as well as significantly less complicated to manage content) and, subsequently, offered at reduced prices.

Upon completion, the core materials/primary write-up is thoroughly coated with a layer of a concoction of lacquer and clay. The object is then stored in an ethereal, dry and dust absolutely free drying chamber for three to four days to slowly dry and harden.

In the next production stage the object is coated with a mixture of Thitsi lacquer and ash. Other supporting components are e.g. paddy-husk, teak wood saw dust or cow dung. The fineness of these supporting materials determines the quality regular of the ultimate product as significantly as the product aspect is anxious. The object’s floor is polished sleek immediately after remaining dry and the approach of coating and sprucing is repeated numerous instances right until even the slightest irregularity is eliminated.

Now the posting is black on its outdoors and inside of and the decision on no matter if it will be embellished by way of engraving, gilding, portray, implementing reliefs, mosaics or a mixture of two or extra of the various types of decoration is produced.

More cost-effective but nonetheless quite gorgeous article content are artfully painted. The worth and attractiveness and, subsequently, the price tag of lacquerware improves with the supplies employed as properly as amount of methods used and the diploma of inventive craftsmanship in which these are executed.

Much more expensive content are engraved, painted and polished – the colours usually used currently being gold, yellow, crimson, blue and inexperienced – or embellished with gilded or coloured reliefs, painted and especially polished. Some do furthermore have inlays of parts of mirror, glass of distinct colours, marble and mother-of-pearl.

The generation of multi-technique and multi-colour dry lacquerware posts normally takes involving six and twelve months, occasionally even lengthier. The art and craft of lacquerware building is predominantly hereditary, i.e. is handed down from era to technology. It is a loved ones and house small business even when accomplished on a larger sized scale in so-called lacquerware factories. But there are also unique centres this sort of as the ‘Institute of lacquer ware making’ in Bagan. Below the expertise and capabilities demanded for the art of earning lacquerware are conveyed to new generations who will perpetuate this great artwork and craft.

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