Burmese Wood Carvings Myanmar Handicrafts – Wood carvers of Myanmar (Burma) are masters in the art of wood carving, they are intricate and usually three dimensional. In Myanmar the oldest remaining examples of wood carving date to the 11th century in Nagayon, Bagan. What exists there tells of a much greater lineage of craftsmanship that has since disappeared. Most visitors to Myanmar (Burma) are struck by the diversity and beauty of the arts and crafts unique to this culturally rich country.
The main inspiration for much of the Burmese Wood Carvings and Handicrafts is connected to Buddhism as well as the pre-Buddhist animistic beliefs which are held in Myanmar. This philosophical outlook, together with a rich tradition of story-telling and myth, along with a highly developed appreciation of aesthetics has been the inspiration and foundation for the creation of works of art that are uniquely Burmese. The range of crafts made from teak wood and other types of wood is phenomenal.
Up until more recent times, the state of arts and crafts in Burma was in decline due to sanctions imposed on the country. The British occupation from the 1800’s also had a negative affect on many of the centuries old traditions. Economic isolation imposed on Burma for so many years by the Junta rule also seriously impacted on artisans wishing to continue the production of traditional Burmese arts and crafts.
You can find beautiful and exquisite carvings in many of the old temples and monasteries throughout Myanmar, they decorate doorways, windows and alters that are made to hold Buddha statues. Because many of these carvings are made from teak they still endure today despite the neglect they have suffered over the past 100 years.
Today many of the arts and crafts are still made in traditional ways, although this is slowly changing due to the lifting of sanctions and the opening of Myanmar to the outside world. Mmodern wood carvings are not quite as fine as those you might find in Thailand, although many older pieces are well executed. Burmese carvings usually consist of organic shapes of human figures, mythical creatures and flowers, ornamental boxes and animals. Many wood carvings are created to adorn doorways, facades, rooftops, Buddha images and for decoration within Temples or Palaces.
Even so, Burmese arts and crafts continue to be a source of pride to all Burmese people and within Burmese communities artisans still enjoy a good measure of respect.