Myanmar Arts

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Myanmar is a country full of ancient traditions and culture. From time to time, the Myanmars have adapted different cultures and arts. To describe about the Arts of Myanmar, there are 10 Myanmar traditional arts which are metaphorically called "Ten Flowers".

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Theses arts have been passed on from one century to another until today. The 10 arts are as follows:

  • Panbe (the art of blacksmith)
  • Panbu (the art of sculpture)
  • Pantain (the art of gold and silver smith)
  • Pantin(the art of bronze casting)
  • Pantaut (the art of making floral designs using masonry)
  • Panyan (the art of bricklaying and masonry)
  • Pantamault (the art of sculpting with stone)
  • Panpoot (the art of turning designs on the lathe)
  • Panchi (the art of painting)
  • Panyun (the art of making lacquer ware)

 

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Panyun (the art of making lacquerware)

Panyun means a handicraft which produces materials made of bamboo, wood and thick black varnish (sis-se). Lacquerware artisans produce alms food bowl, bowl for monk, and bowl of pickle tea, lacquer vessel, drinking cup, betel box, and cheroot box. Myanmar traditional lacquerware emerged in the early part of Bagan period.
 

Tapestry (gold / silver embroidery)

The art of tapestry or "Shwe Chi Hto" as we call it, is said to have originated in Myanmar about a thousand years ago. It is a form of needlework to create a variety of pictures and patterns so delicate and detailed that it requires skill, artistry and patience. It is a highly decorative embroidery that employs gold thread as its name indicates, but in fact silver and colored threads as well as other materials such as tinsel, sequins, semi-precious gems, colorful cut glass, seed pearls and beads go into the making.
 

Pottery

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Pottery has been the earliest craft in the history of human civilization. People in the terrain area had began to make use of pots, which could be easily and cheaply produced. Although pots are fragile, these can be made use in many useful ways. Pots were not only used to store or cook food but also as burial urns to bury gold and jewelleries.
 

Pantain (Goldsmith)

Pantain is an enterprise of making items of gold or silver. Silversmith is the art of making drinking bowl, receptacle bowl, prize-cup, shield and belt. Goldsmith is the art of making ear-plug, ear-drops, ear-ring, with a screw-on back piece, finger-ring bracelet, Pendent and necklace. Myanmar’s traditional arts and crafts artistic creation of gold and silver wares come under the genre (ba-dain) art of making items in gold or silver.
 

Pantamault (the art of sculpting with stone)

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Pantamault is the one stones curving. The artisans make Buddha images pole for Sima, pillar, leograph, elephants, deer, circular flat stone, pestle and mortar and table. Sculpture in stone is a significant feature of Myanmar fine arts, has to this day been the pride and honour of Myanmar people. There are sculpture studios or workshops in Yangon, Mandalay and other towns in the country, but the majority of studios are concentrated in Mandalay.
 

Myanmar Puppets

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In old days, Myanmar artists made Myanmar style figures with movable limbs i.e. arms, legs, head etc. and tried to move these moving parts by playing/controlling strings connected to these movable parts so as the actions look like as human being. At that time, the people who played the puppet show made puppets themselves.
 

Panyan (the art of bricklaying and masonry)

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Panyan is an enterprise which constructs the buildings using bricks, stones and cement. The masons build brick houses, Pagoda, bridges. Myanmar’s traditional masonry works enjoys world wide renown for the ancient Pagodas and other religious buildings around the Bagan region.
 

Myanmar Musical Instruments

Myanmar Harp (Saung)
A "harp" is called Saung in Myanmar. There basically was 2 types: Byat Saung and Saung Gauk (bent harp). There almost is nobody who can play byat saungs these days.
In 10th century AD, musicians used only 5 strings in Myanmar harp, which later increased to 7 strings in 18th century. During King Bodaw Phayar the art of playing harp was much promoted by the king and was improved to using up to 13 strings.
 

Pantin (the art of bronze casting)

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Pantin is an enterprise producing materials of copper, bronze or brass. The artisans make triangular brass gong, gong, and brass bowl for monk, weights in the shape of brainy ducks, tray, copper pot, cup bowl, cymbal, bell jingle bell and small brass gong. Myanmar’s traditional coppersmith’s craft emerged before Bagan period and it improved during Bagan and Inwa period. Every pagoda in Myanmar has bells, which were struck to tell the people of good deeds done.
 

9 Nawarat Ring

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The nine gems are ruby, pearl, coral, sapphire, diamond, cat's eye, emerald, topaz and zircon. The Nawarat Ringnawarat, a ring usually of gold with a ruby at its center and around it clock-wise from the twelve o'clock position, diamond, pearl, cat's eye, zircon or pyrope , emerald , topaz , sapphire, and coral.
 

Panchi ( the art of painting )

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Panchi is the one which illustrates living animals and inanimate objects using different colours. The artists paint the figures of human beings, animals, objects, scenery designs and cartoons. Myanmar traditional painting developed with the religion of Buddhism in the Bagan Region. Thus, Bagan become a repository of ancient Myanmar traditional paintings and sculptures in the 11th century A.D. Because of Myanmar artist’s achievements, we have more
 

Myanmar Movies

 

Lethwei (Myanmar Kick Boxing)

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Myanmar Traditional Boxing is a form of kickboxing which originated in Myanmar. Lethwei is in many ways similar to its siblings from neighboring South-East Asian countries such as Tomoi from Malaysia, Pradal Serey from Cambodia and Muay Thai from Thailand. If Thai Boxing is the science of 8 limbs, then Lethwei can be called the science of 9 limbs, due to the allowance of head butts. In comparison, Lethwei can be interpreted as being bolder and more extreme.
 

Myanmar Dances

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The Myanmar dance moves from ancient times were known by carefully analyzing and rediscovering the murals on the temple ruins in Myanmar. This is especially true for Bagan Dances. For other dances, historic books and literature showed accounts, while our links to Ayuthdaya (Thai) and India suggested similarities in our dances. Of course, the inherited dance moves from generation to generation in dance troupes also taught us how the Myanmar dances were like in the days before British colonialism.
 

The art of Myanmar Zat-pwe

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The meanings
In Myanmar, zat means story and pwe means show, so finally zat-pwe means Myanmar musical play. It can be understood as the opera or ballet of the western countries.
 

Panbu (the art of sculpture)

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Panbu means the one which produces figures and floral designs made of wood or ivory. The artisans make the figure of human beings and animals and floral designs. Myanmar’s traditional sculpture emerged before the Bagan period and it improved in the middle of Bagan Era.
 

Panbe ( the art of blacksmith )

Panbe is the tempering of iron in the furnace to make necessary items. The artisans make ox cart axle, ox cart iron, tyre, scissors, hammer, adze, pickaxe, knife, hatchet, axe, digging hoe and mattock. The Myanmar’s traditional blacksmith craft emerged in the early of Bagan period (11th century A.D)
 

Thaing

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Myanmar Martial Arts
Myanmar possesses a rich martial arts heritage. The martial arts was introduced into Myanmar almost 2000 years ago. Ancient writings reveal that as far back as the time of King Anawrahta (1044 - 77 A.D.) Buddhist monks were teaching the secrets of breath-control and mediation practice in addition to the principle of yielding of force – a principle that is found in arts like tai chi, aikido, and even judo. Myanmar's Martial art was named as Thaing.
 

Anyeint

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Anyeint is a dance form closely resembling popular theatre. The name of this form is drawn from a Myanmar word meaning “gentle,” which is a fitting description.Although its origins are somewhat unclear, Anyeint is popular in Myanmar today, and is frequently encountered as one of the entertainments provided in connection with the numerous festivals which are an important part in Myanmar life.
 

Pantaut (the art of making floral designs using masonry)

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Pantaut means a handicraft of making decorative floral designs in relief with stucco. The artisans make the figures of lions, dragons and floral designs with stucco. Myanmar traditional stucco carving emerged before the Bagan period and it improved in the Bagan, Inwa, Amarapura and Yadanapon period. According to the historical records, Stucco works were very famous in Bagan period. Stucco works of Bagan period have detailed decorations.
 

Banshay (Arts of the sword, staff and spear)

Banshay is a term for martial arts of Myanmar, focusing on weapon use. The sword, staff and spear are the major weapons. With the sword, the goal is to disarm the opponent. Sword fights are even conducted with the sword still sheathed, since only under extreme conditions will a Myanmar swordsman unsheathes his or her sword.