Number of traditional potters shrinks in Meiktila as raw materials become scarce

Traditional earthen pottery businesses which have been passed down from generation to generation in Theetakan Village of Meiktila Township are shutting down as raw materials are getting increasingly difficult to find, said potters from the village.

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A worker makes traditional earthen pots in Meiktila. Photo: Thein Myint Kyaw (Meiktila)

“The village has 82 households and a population of 400. Most men have been earning their living by making pottery at home, like their ancestors. Earlier, the business involved lower inputs costs and raw materials were easy to find. But now, input costs are rising and raw materials such as farmland, straw, fuel, and wood are becoming scarce,” said U Kyaw Myaing, 100-
household leader.
“The cost of renting farmlands has increased slightly, and the rate for renting a cart has touched K2,500. With the changing climate, it is becoming difficult to cultivate paddy and straw is becoming rare. The scarcity of straws has led to a decline in pottery businesses in our village. Now, there are only 15 potters in our village,” he said.
“Women in the village are still making pottery on a manageable scale. Water pots, flower pots, planters, and earthen pots for palm juices are selling well in Meiktila, Mahlaing, and Taungtha markets. But, water bottles are being used instead of water pots and bronze pots are also being used as flower pots. Therefore, potters are making fewer water and flower pots due to low demand in the market. Demand is still strong for planters and earthen pots for palm juices. We will continue to hand over our pottery businesses from one generation to the next even if raw materials become scarce, in order to maintain the cultural heritage of our family,” said Daw Tin Mya.—Thein Myint Kyaw (Meiktila)
(Translated by La Wonn)

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