Gold embroidery industry remains alive in Mandalay

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Artisans embroider the tapestry with gold thread and pearls in workshop-store in Mandalay. Photo: Than Zaw Min (IPRD)

The gold embroidery industry is still surviving in the Mandalay Region. Although a traditional and popular craft of Myanmar, gold embroidery is not included in the ‘Ten Flowers’, a metaphorical name for traditional Myanmar arts and crafts.
The art of painting, called Panchi in Myanmar parlance, is essential to the gold embroidery craft.
“The craftwork was exported earlier, but now has a market only in the country. Gold embroidery is used in Myanmar traditional ceremonies such as noviciation and in office decor,” said Daw Chaw, a gold embroidery business owner from
Mahaaungmyae Township, Mandalay.
“The basic raw material used in gold embroidery is velvet. The embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. Most of the raw materials for gold embroidery can be bought easily in Amarapura and Mandalay.
In modern times, the embroidery is usually seen on caps, hats, coats, blankets, shirts, denim jeans, suits, stockings, and golf shirts,” she said.
The price of gold embroidery work depends on the design and the size. Although small-sized pieces can be finished within a day, specially ordered large-sized pieces take time. Besides, the price of arts and crafts is expected to be high.
Gold embroidery crafts are selling for K 20,000 to over K 1 million, depending on the design and size. Although tourists are interested in observing how gold embroidery work is done, the number of potential buyers is very small.

—Than Zaw Min (IPRD) (Translated by Hay Mar)

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