A click on this icon above displays the list of chapters of this film about Myanmar. A click on a dot goes directly to a chapter.
Reading the text below will help you better understand the cultural context of the images in this video.
00:42 • manufacturing incense sticks
01:14 • basketry
02:23 • goldsmith
03:25 • the village
03:55 • pagodas
Not far from Mandalay in Myanmar, between Monywa and Nyaung-U, on the banks of the Irrawaddy River is a small village called Ma Au.
This village, like probably many others in the region, has a significant number of pagodas and stupas, many of which are overgrown with weeds and some in the process of restoration.
But in this village, there are not only old stones. It is an extremely dynamic village with a very developed craft industry. One might think that this is one of those villages bringing together various craftsmen to attract tourists, but there are many indications that it is indeed a craft located in a place discovered by the tour operators. . Anyway, village for tourists or village of craftsmen, Ma Au is a village that we do not regret having visited.
Handcrafted incense sticks
Incense is present in all Buddhist temples around the world, and Burma is no exception to this rule. But the incense sticks that are burned in the pagodas are made somewhere ... In the village of Ma Au, a small business employing a few women from the village makes them in an artisanal way. In this film, we see how the base resin of the incense is affixed to the wooden sticks. This small workshop is obviously not enough to produce the enormous quantities of incense burnt in the temples of the country, but it has the great advantage of showing the manufacturing process. There is no doubt that the major producers rely more on machines than on young women to make their incense sticks.
Another of Ma Au's specialties is the manufacture of basketry articles. Here too, it is the women of the village who are called upon to produce baskets and basketwork dishes. Here too, great dexterity characterizes these women.
The diversity of crafts that can be found in Ma Au village is great. In addition to incense makers and basket makers, there are also artisans working gold jewelry in their small workshops.
Burma, renamed Myanmar, is an extremely religious country and for many centuries people have built places of worship. Many stupas and many pagodas are visible everywhere. Ma Au is no exception here. Dozens of stupas, some of which are currently under restoration, have been built over the centuries in the village of Ma Au. Does the proximity of the Irrawaddy River have something to do with it?
Ma Au village
Village life is also lively. A small market, traders selling their goods, passers-by, children playing. In short, a village like so many others.
Spoken comments in the film:
Ma Au is a village in the Monywa region of Myanmar. I don't know if it's a really typical village because there are really a lot of temples and stupas and quite active crafts. A workshop for manufacturing incense sticks, basketwork and goldsmith workshops.
But there is also a market, people, life, and very few tourists.
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Disclaimer: Despite its appropriateness, copyright issues prevent the use of burmese traditional music in "Ma Au, a Burmese village • Myanmar", hence the use of royalty-free music. Despite our careful selection, some might regret this decision, which is necessary to avoid potential lawsuits. Although difficult, this decision is the only viable solution.