Inwa locals switch to machines for producing alms bowls

An artisan worker polishing an alms bowl to smooth the surface of the object.   Photo: Than Zaw Min (IPRD)
An artisan worker polishing an alms bowl to smooth the surface of the object.  Photo: Than Zaw Min (IPRD)

Local businesses in Inwa region, Tada-U Township, Kyaukse District, Mandalay Region, have begun using machines to make alms bowls instead of shaping them by hand.
“There are two ways to make alms bowls — the ancient method and the modern method. The monks prefer to use alms bowls made using traditional methods. Such bowls are made of Thitsi (Melanorrhoea usitata) and the good-quality ones are long-lasting. Producing alms bowls using traditional methods takes time and is expensive. Modern alms bowls are made of glue and silt. They are of low quality and thus, cheap. However, modern alms bowls are now popular in the market,” said Daw Khin Pone Kyi, the owner of Inwa Nay Pyi Taw alms bowl business.
“The production of handmade alms bowls takes a month and making machine-made bowls takes just a week. Due to high demand in the market, manufacturers are bent upon producing machine-made alms bowls in Inwa region,” she added.
There is less demand for handmade alms bowls in the market. Although handmade alms bowl are of high quality and long-lasting, they are rather expensive because of high labour charges. So, local people from Inwa region have now turned to machine-made alms bowls.
Lacquered alms bowls cost more than K12,000 per piece, while machine-made ones cost between K3,500 and K5,000 per piece, depending on the quality, Daw Khin Pone Kyi added. The machine-made alms bowls are sent across the country from Inwa region. —Than Zaw Min (IPRD) (Translated by Hay Mar)

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