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Gold Leaf Making

Gold Leaf Making is a well-known handicraft which we can only see in Myet-Parr quarter, Mandalay, Myanmar. Unlike the other methods of making in the countries, this traditional style is qualified and unique. A major tourist attraction in Mandalay. We use gold leaf in order to offer to sacred shrines, Buddha Image, pagoda. In ancient those customs put about to decorate to pillars and ceiling of monastery or royal building (like Golden Palace Monastery). Its influence penetrates even in traditional medicine and in cosmetics for skin. An offering Gold Leaf to Buddha makes an easy access for every social class.

The sense of making gold leaf depends on man’s power. That’s why it is impressive. First, the workers heat the 12 gram of gold by blowing stove to soft then beat by small hammer. We just heat the gold gently. When getting the gold rod, we extend 20 times with oil about 5-feet long gold ribbon. Then, cut into 200 pieces. We put those pieces in each layer of numerous bamboo papers and cover by a layer of straw paper again. Those layer items is wrapped strictly by dear skin leather.

When we have a packed gold leaf, we start beating by 3-kilo weight hammer for 30 minutes. This can regard as an important and careful one. With the current of heat, gold inside becomes enlarged. After one times, cut each strengthening gold chips into0 6 pieces and enclose them into bamboo paper and deer leather as before. So, we get 1200 gold leaves. Pack them as before separately and beat for another half an hour. In the third stage, those gold leaves also packed in previous stage and beat for 5 hours. The beaters change alternately hour to hour.

An interesting thing to discover is the traditional water clock (halving with coconut cup). Water from the basin leaks into a small hole at its bottom. It takes an hour to get the cup filled with water. A traditional way!!

To recall the process, we need 3 beaters to get the gold leaf and it takes about 5 hour. The process mainly depends on the control of heat. The surrounding temperature play a role for the workshop. After the task, those time leaves are cut into the required size, put onto hay paper and export. Market offers some handicrafts made with gold leaf for visitors.

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