Southeast Asia Tour 2015
Pindaya | Myanmar
03 Dec 2015 | Thu
Day 15 of 46
Aung Homemade Paper Umbrellas Pindaya
The Pindaya region is famous for making handmade paper umbrellas by the local Danu people (an ethnic group that lives in this area). After our visit to Pindaya Caves, we stopped off at Aung Umbrella Shop. The Aung family has been making handmade umbrellas for over 150 years. Now in the fourth generation, they have expanded into making paper lanterns, envelopes, notebooks, and other beautiful art.
Their shop in Pindaya is set up to show and demonstrate the step-by-step process of making paper umbrellas from mulberry bark.
How Mulberry Bark Paper is Made
Making handmade paper is very time-consuming, labor-intensive, and difficult to show the entire process, but here are the basic steps for making mulberry bark paper.
The first step is stripping bark from the branches of the young paper mulberry tree.
The bark is then cooked in a mixture of water, soda ash, and caustic soda (which bleaches and breaks down bark fibers). The best, pure white bark is separated and beaten with a wooden mallet until it becomes a smooth mixture (which can take several hours).
The mulberry bark “pulp” is poured into a large flat vat with a bamboo screen frame (filled with a thin layer of coarse fabric or metal screen) mixed with water.
The bark pulp and water mixture are mixed by hand until the pulp adheres to the screen.
Once the pulp has started to settle (and the desired thickness is achieved), decorative flowers or leaves can be sprinkled evenly across the screen.
After this, the paper screen is removed and placed in the sun to dry/cure.
When fully dry, the paper can be peeled away from the screen to result in a large sheet of mulberry paper