Bronze statue businesses thriving in Shan Kalay Kyun Sanpya village

A man making bronze Buddha statue in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region.  Photo: Maung Chit Lin (Indaw)
A man making bronze Buddha statue in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region. Photo: Maung Chit Lin (Indaw)

Bronze statue businesses are operating successfully in Shan Kalay Kyun Sanpya village in Amarapura Township, Mandalay Region, enabling the local people to earn extra income, according to local bronze statue business owners.
Mandalay, which is among the transport and economic hubs in the country, has no dearth of handicraft enterprises.
“I mostly make bronze statues of the Buddha. The raw materials for this business are bronze, red clay, and wax. First, the wax is applied around the clay core. Finer details are cut or etched into the wax surface, while pieces of wax in various designs may be added at this stage to create surface relief. After the wax image is coated with fine red clay and powdered paddy husk, care is taken to make sure that each crevice is completely filled. The outer mould is then created with a heavier mixture of clay, sand, and paddy husk. To hold it in place, some thin iron rods are inserted into the wax to the clay core. They later act as an outlet for the wax when it is replaced by molten bronze. The images are then left to dry. With one stove we can make 65 Buddha images, and this takes about a month. We send the images mostly to Tampawady. The raw materials are brought in from Tampawady and cost K9,800-10,000 per viss. The red clay costs K50,000 and can be used for around 3 months,” said U Aung Naing Win, a bronze statue business owner.
It takes around 70 tical (1 tical =16.3293 grams) of bronze to make one 7-inch tall Buddha image, while 1 viss of bronze is needed to produce a 8-inch tall Buddha image, and 6 viss of bronze is used to make an 18-inch tall Buddha image, said bronze business owners.
While a Buddha image measuring 1 foot is priced at K55,000, a 15-inch image sells for K90,000, and an 18-inch image fetches K150,000, they added.
“The labour charges per image stand at K5,000. This business needs more skilled labour, and it can generate extra income for workers,” said U Aung Naing Win.
There are eight locals engaged in the bronze statue businesses in Shan Kalay Kyun Sanpya village. The bronze Buddha images are mostly purchased in Mandalay region. —Maung Chit Lin (Indaw) (Translated by Hay Mar)

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