Sagaing silver artisans worth the visit

Traditional silverware on display at a stall.  photo: mna
Traditional silverware on display at a stall.  photo: MNA

Silver has a special place in many of Myanmar’s revered celebrations. For example, on special occasions silver bowls are used for pouring water, arranging flowers, sprinkling scented water, and silver kettles are used to pour water droplets during donations.
With such a prestigious place in Myanmar’s culture, you can be sure to find the Myanmar’s finest and most defining art and motifs on these silver paraphernalia. Indeed, detailed depictions of flowers and folklore can be seen engraved on pieces of silver and they attract the viewers’ attention. Among them, the silver crafts from Ywahtaung Ward in Sagaing City are famous for their artistry.
The process of crafting silver is interesting and the two important phases of the process are drawing the images and then the engraving. The general process of making silver crafts can be broken down into five steps. First the silver is melted and then hammered until it has a thin layer.
Then it is molded into the desired shape and size using three steps. Finally it is smoothed over for the finishing touch. This is the initial stage of the process and the silverware then goes through a detailing artisan process where the famous motifs are engraved onto it.
Most artisans give the silverware its coloring by washing in a concoction made from soapberries and then brushed and polished. The entire process takes time and requires patience. Another common usage of silver is in producing shields and trophies for competitions.—Nwe Nadi, Myit Nge

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