Myanmar is a country with a very rich cultural heritage. Numerous wonderful traditional arts have flourished in this beautiful nation in the past and many of those are still in existence and practiced widely. The beauty of this culture has been enhanced manifold by its willingness to assimilate and adapt to different cultures and arts during its long and colorful history. Among the various arts and crafts that are practiced in Myanmar, there are ten arts which have a special place in the culture of this country. These traditional arts have been passed on from one generation to the next for the past many centuries and they have managed to survive even till today. These ten special arts are referred to poetically as Myanmar’s ten flowers and they are as follows:
Panbe – Art of the Blacksmith:
- This is the art of forging iron in a furnace and using specialized tools for creating various kinds of items from it. In English language, this art is known as the art of the blacksmith.
- In Myanmar this art emerged in the 11th century A.D., which is also known as the early Bagan period.
- By the mid Bagan Inwa and Yadanapon period, this art had improved and enhanced considerably.
- In the Yadanapon period, Myanmar’s Panbe art had become quite famous and even today it is quite famous in South East Asia for its special artistry.
Panbu – Art of Making Designs in Wood:
- Panbu is a branch of sculpture wherein figures and designs are made using wood and ivory.
- The origins of this art in Myanmar can be traced back even before the Bagan era began. Significant strides of improvement were made during the Bagan period and this art continued improving as the time progressed.
- Most of the figures and designs made using
the Panbu art are related to Buddhism.
Many practicing artists survive even today and wooden sculptures can easily be found in shops.
- People interested in seeing the wood sculptures of older periods may visit Shwezigone Pagoda at Nyaung-U; Shwe-inpin Monastery, Mandalay; and Bargayar Monastery, Inwa.
Pantain – Art of Goldsmith and Silversmith:
- This is the art which is known in English as the art of goldsmith and silversmith.
- In older times, silver was used in Myanmar for making various kinds of utensils while gold was used for making ornaments.
- Pantain artists have been creating silverware for the past one thousand two hundred years, and the quality of the utensils even in those old times was truly exceptional.
- The people of Myanmar can be truly proud of
their rich heritage and superior workmanship in this area.
Pantin – Art of Making Utensils from Metals
- Pantin is the art of taking metals such as copper, bronze, or brass and changing them into useful utensils.
- This art emerged in Myanmar before Bagan period and was improved upon during the Bagan and Inwa periods.
- The bells used in pagodas, gongs, and cowbells made using the Pantin art are popular souvenirs which foreign tourists like to take back with them.
Pantaut – Art of Creating Designs and Figures from Stucco:
- A Pantaut artisan is someone who is skilled in using stucco to create floral designs and figures such as lions and dragons.
- The people of Myanmar started practicing this art even before the Bagan period and kept improving on it in the Bagan, Inwa, Amarapura, and Yadanapon eras.
- Me Nu’s brick monastery at Inwa is a stellar example of Myanmar’s exceptional Pantaut workmanship.
Panyan – Art of Bricklaying and Masonry:
- Panyan is the art of bricklaying and masonry.
- This one art that Myanmar can be really proud of as the buildings built in this country during the Bagan era are considered much superior amongst all historical periods.
- The buildings built during this period are astounding due to their solidity, magnificence, enormity, and elaborate adornments.
- The masonry of mid Amarapura period is also considered quite exquisite in its own.
Pantamault – Art of Stone Sculpting:
- This is the art of sculpting with stone and Myanmar’s history is rich with stellar examples of Pantamault art.
- Traditionally the artisans in this country make images of Buddha, pillars, flag poles, tables, and animal figures such as elephants and deer.
- Even today this art form is very popular and widely practiced throughout Myanmar.
- The city of Mandalay holds the most Pantamault studios but workshops are held in Yangon and many other cities as well.
Panpoot – Art of Turning Wood in Lathe:
- The history of Panpoot art in Myanmar can be traced backto8th centuryA.D.
- This art involves crafting wooden utensils by turning wood in lathe.
- Umbrella shafts, table legs, bed legs, posts for railings and pavilions, food containers, bowls, and boxes are some of the common items made using this craft.
- The art of turning designs on the lathe gives a unique and interesting shape and design to the items which are well liked by people all over the world.
Panchi – Art of Painting:
- Panchi is the art of painting and Myanmar’s history is rich with gorgeous illustrations of this splendid art form.
- The Myanmar’s Panchi artists traditionally paint sceneries, objects, figures of humans and animals, and even cartoons.
- The Konbaung period of Myanmar history has presented the world with the most number of paintings. The paintings made during this era were also more colorful and lively as compared to other periods.
Panyun – Art of Making Lacquerware:
- This is the art of making lacquerware using bamboo, wood, and a special kind of varnish.
- The traditional style followed by Panyun artists was derived from the stories about Buddha’s life.
- In Myanmar’s history, the emergence of this art can be traced back to 11th Century A.D.
- Bagan is considered as the home of this craft and many of the Panyun lacquerware is considered invaluable due to its artistry and historical significance.
Besides the above mentioned “Ten Flowers” Myanmar also has a rich history of many other arts which include pottery, tapestry, mosaic, lapidary, silk weaving, wall painting, and gold foil making.