By: Ainda

Photos: Sonny Nyein

      According to Art Cyclopaedia, "Folk Art is art which does not come out of the fine art tradition. Folk Artists are typically from rural or pre-industrial societies, and are more closely related to craftsmen than they are to fine artists. Folk Art is characterized by a naïve style, in which traditional rules of proportion and perspective are not employed."   In a country with plentiful wood and bamboo, and the farmers enjoying enough leisure while the paddy grows and after harvest, whimsical and useful folk art items of Myanmar are often whittled out of wood. They are animal or bird figures to decorate  the yoke of their bullock carts, toys, containers made out of dry seeds with a carved stopper, carved handles for their scythes, and medicine containers cut out of stems of bamboo. Men with wives and daughters who weave at home usually made the implements for them  such as shuttles, spinning wheels, brushes to keep the cotton smooth, pulleys, and parts of the loom frame, which are carved in pretty designs and traditional motifs.                                                


The women in return weave turban cloths, bags, and waist garment for their men. Children play with horses, bulls, elephants and tigers whittled by fathers, uncles and brothers, and painted with dyes obtained from leaves and flowers. Mothers and aunts sew scraps of leftover fabric into marionette dolls to delight little girls. In these modern times when plastic goods are easily available in villages, the creation of folk art is on the decline. However, many of these craftsmen continue to produce these ‘naïve’ works in the same way their fathers did. Folk artists enjoy the process of creation, to take pride in the result and to give something made with their own hands to someone dear to their hearts. This is the beauty of folk art, that it is created out of enjoyment, given with love and used with tender memories.            


Enchanting Myanmar Travel Magazine sincerely thanks  U Tin Win(Beikthano Gallery) and U Nyi Nyi(Shwe Ingyin) for their invaluable help in making this article possible.

All rights reserved. Copyright 2006 Enchanting Myanmar Publications.