“This street was full of shops, containing no other articles than lackered ware: boxes, trays, cups, &c. varnished in a very neat manner, were displayed in the front of the shops; they were of various colours, some had figures painted on them, others wreaths of flowers.”
In 1795, about 220 years ago, the British officer Symes recorded the scene of the streets of Nyaung-U that has line of lacquerware stores. In the central Myanmar there are several lacquerware producing towns such as Kyaukka near Monuya and Inwa, also Bagan is very famous for traditional lacquerware production, those products has been widely traded since long ag..
Almost all lacquerware was daily necessities as mentioned by Symes. Also lacquerware used as bowls for offering, and court regalia. Today, shape and design of lacquerware has large variety due to changes in lifestyle.
Myanmar lacquerware is made of bamboo and lacquer. Make body with thin strips of bamboo, paint lacquer many times on it, and let it dry. Characteristic is the technique of decoration. Carving a fine pattern with a small knife, pouring lacquer with various colors there, complete a lacquerware with a colorful appearance. In Japan, this technique is called "kimma", which is originated in northern Thailand.
After the fall of the Bagan dynasty, around the 14th century to the 18th century, Technique of making lacquerware was introduced to Myanmar from North-east hilly areas. A combination of bamboo from Ayeyarwadi valley and lacquer from Shan hills. It can be said that traditional crafts unique to Bagan where was the center of culture.