Traditional painting styles face endangered status: artist warns

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An artist has expressed concern over the declining number of people proficient in the creation of traditional painting styles, highlighting the looming threat of the crafts’ near-extinction.
Artist Ko Thet Maw said: “Considering the mural paintings in the Padalin Cave of Shan State, the art of mural painting might be a history spanning over 10,000 years in Myanmar. Among the six eras of Myanmar art history, Bagan stands out as the pinnacle. The artists from that age employed a sketching and colouring technique.”
Among 14 traditional painting styles in Myanmar, Nipat Painting (painting Buddhist chronicles), combined painting (crafting figures using paints and materials), and Shwezawah Yoon (painting figures on a lacquerware surface using gold foils) are on the brink of extinction, he emphasized.
Moreover, fewer artists practise traditional sketching techniques. The basic of traditional Myanmar painting involves floral motif, nari (women), kapi (monkeys, ogres, dragon, garuda), and gaza (large figures such as elephants).
Beginners need to take a practice of these figures initially with charcoal or soapstone before progressing to the next level, which incorporates the use of colours. Myanmar paints typically consist of vermilion, soot, copper sulfate, black ink, and various coloured soils. The painting brushes are crafted from feathers and animal fur.
A total of 14 Myanmar traditional art styles are Nipat painting, combined painting, graphite painting, oil-colour painting, water-colour painting, lacquerware painting, gold painting on lacquerware, straw painting, batik painting, gems painting, signboard painting, glass painting, bottle painting, and mural painting. — ASH/NT

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