Mosaic (Decorations of the gems)

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Myanmar mosaic art was off to a good start by the time of the Bagan period, as scholars and researchers, now testify. Historians also agree. This noble art is seen mainly on royal and religious items and buildings. But sometimes mosaic is also used in artifacts and household objects of the common lay people to achieve a new sense of beauty and splendor. In this art there are four main disciplines on which the workmanship is based.


The four types are Knut (flower style), Kapi (monkey shape), gaza (elephant base) and nari (femininity). These four basics also apply to Myanmar painting and drawing. The materials have shining glorious colors mostly embedded with various precious gems and stones. The glass is lit with colorful, shining objects in mosaic art. Valuable precious gems and semi-precious stones are used to invest ordinary utensils and other household articles with glory and splendor to make them unique and attractive and thus fit for royal use. So they are bedecked with pearls, coals, jade, rubies, etc. The Nine Noble Gems also decorate several items for royal use. Remarkable beauty is thereby achieved. These items decorated with mosaic were used only by royalty and persons of great wealth. When brilliant gems and fine stones are put on glass by means of starches from the barks of certain trees, in various styles and designs, this art reaches a high state of workmanship. Light, splendor and brilliance is achieved to bedazzle the eyes of all on-lookers. Glory is also attained. So Myanmar mosaic is also termed the "art of systematic order on glass" (hman-si-shwe-sha) with gold for further embellishment. This is a subtle art to be practiced only by the most skilled specialists. Experts make the glass that is to be embossed or embedded in various sizes and shapes in the forms of circles, squares, triangles, ovals, etc. according to the dictates of harmony and artistry. Even valuable gems and pearls are embossed or embroidered or bedecked in suitable ways.



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