Artisans,palaces and booksJanuary 17, 2018 in Myanmar ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C
Our first day of travelling was a tour of Mandalay. The city is much bigger than we thought it would be with over one million people living here. We started by visiting the southern part of the city where all the artisans live. Our first stop was at a workshop producing golf leaf. The amount of work that goes into making it is mind boggling. Firstly we saw two young men which wielding 7 kilo hammers, which they used to beat the gold leaf until it is literally paper thin, the. almost as much work is required producing the transparent bamboo paper which is a nescessary part of the process. After that we visited workshops making wood. Arcings, mostly de orative pieces such as wall hangings and doors, but of course, the inevitable buddhas and goddesses, next we drove by the stone masons wstone and bronze figures mainly of Buddha, all very labour intensive but producing great work, unfortunately ( tor fortunately) we coulld’nt fit a stone Buddha into our suitcases. We made a stop at a temple where a large Buddha statue is available for anyone to stick pieces of golg leaf onto, over the years there is so much stuck onto the figure that it’s face now looks out from a grossly distorted body.
After a return to our hotel for a midday nap we visited the old kings palace which is set in a two km square in the centre of town. The original palace was destroyed in the Second World War and the area is now occupied by the military but there is a reproduction palace there which shows what it looked like ( space of his 48 wives so he could be nagged by a different woman each week). We did visit one piece of the old palace in a different location which showed the original teak wood carvings, very interesting. Our final visit of the day was to a temple where the teachings and sayings of Buddha are enshrined on stone tablets each housed in a separate stone Stupa. We did go to the top of Mandalay hill to view an unimpressive sunset as the sun just set into the pollution haze that covers the city.Read more