The History of Lacquer in Myanmar

Fragments of lacquered basketry vessels recovered from the Laymyethna temple, Pagan. Thirteenth century.


The earliest written record of the origin and the use of Lacquer in Burma was described in a Chinese test the “Pyu”, the first urbanized of Burma between 3rd  to 7th century A-D in Thayekhitya or present day “Pyi” which is about 250 kilometers from Yangon to the west .the Chinese text also mentioned that the sap of the lacquer was used by the pyu to decorate the palace architecture. The forest -dwellers also use the sap of the lacquer to apply on the vessels as a water proof coating.

 During the golden era of Bagan dynasty between 11 to 13 century A.D, the use of the lacquer was not recorded , so previously it was not known when lacquer was first used in Bagan but now fragments of lacquered basketry vessels were recovered from the Laymyetthna temple from 13 century A.D .So this ahistorical evidence that the sap of lacquer started to use in Bagan since Bagan dynasty.

Some scholars said that China started this lacquer process making earlier than the any other country in the south east asia. Anyway it may coming from China , our process of this lacquer objects in Myanmar is not like China .Because we have our own evolution style .Most Chinese and Vietnam lacquer are decorated with mother of pearl and painted the colour with brush. Our Bagan lacquer is different own stlye and the design is made by acthing needle.



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