Without an H

Photography from south-east Asia by Jon Sanwell

The buddha factory

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Wandering around the southern part of Mandalay’s central grid, looking for a pagoda that I never found, I came across a row of workshops where buddha statues were being made. The air was thick with dust as workmen used circular saws to cut away extraneous rock and reveal the buddha figures hidden within. Women cleaned and polished and provided the finishing touches. Half-finished statues, their bodies perfectly crafted but their heads still unformed, clustered together in the morning sun. Others, victims of some error or flaw, lay abandoned amid piles of rubble. In other workshops, craftsmen busied themselves with making gold-plated ornaments, such as the conical htis that sit on top of Burmese pagodas.

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8 Responses to “The buddha factory”

  1. Jo

    Wow the statues are beautiful! And knowing that they are hand made makes them even more worthy of appreciation!

    Reply
  2. Hanni

    I never expected them to be handmade! It’s truly amazing and I’ll have a close look at one next time I see one.

    Reply
  3. BuntyMcC

    We are lucky you couldn’t find the pagoda. The unfinished heads make for an interesting juxtaposition with the perfect bodies. Are there two different levels of craftspersons involved in the sculpture, one for bodies, one for heads? Or are they waiting for some sort of blessing. The women working on the heads look like they are doing so with an attitude of reverence.

    Reply
  4. van-do

    Reblogged this on Do have me with flaws. and commented:
    I wish I could reblog the whole categories, both ‘myanmar’ and ‘burma’ of this guy. The portraits are so rich that it is as if I am standing in front of them, talking to them. And I like most is that he mingled himself with the Burmese’ everyday life and got drawn into a personal discovery of Myanmar for himself.
    What would I do with the camera in hands when I were to Yangon next year?

    Today I finally bought the cheap flight ticket to Saigon heading for Yangon! Gut gut gut ich mag gern sie hahha. Còn nốt vé tàu Tết về thôi. Mình sẽ đi tàu Tết để xem Phương với Kiên hồi xưa như thế nào. Đợi nhé đợi nhé.

    Reply

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