Video: lacquer craftswork a labour of love in Myanmar

Bagan craftsman also shows how to spot fakes

PUBLISHED : Monday, 04 March, 2013, 10:58am
UPDATED : Thursday, 29 August, 2013, 4:13am

It can be easy to dismiss dull-looking, black lacquerware among all the Aung San Suu Kyi T-shirts, the vintage editions of George Orwell's Burmese Days and beautiful jewels sold at markets and gift shops across Myanmar.

But on closer inspection, one will find that the handicrafts hold a subtle beauty - just like the country itself.

On a recent trip to Bagan, a world heritage site filled with crumbling Buddhist temples and shrines, I met Nay Ulin Naing, an artisan who runs one of many family-run lacquer businesses. This particular workshop was set up by his grandfather, U Pe Nyunt (pronounced almost like "opinion").

Nay Ulin Naing shows us the intricacies of this centuries-old tradition, how to discern fakes and why genuine lacquerware is worth your money - and admiration.