Textile Odyssey Tour to Myanmar 2018 - Textiles and Temples
Main Tour, Textiles and Temples in Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay and Inle Lake:
Jan. 13 - Jan. 25, 2018
Extension Tour to Rakhine, Khami, Mru, Laytu Chin Weavers: Jan. 25 - Jan. 31, 2018
Kengtung Hilltribes of Shan State: Jan. 31 - Feb. 5, 2018
Main Tour, Textiles and Temples: Yangon-Bagan-Mandalay-Inle Lake-Yangon (Jan.13 - Jan. 25, 2018)
Discover Myanmar’s unique and intriguing textiles while experiencing the beauty and harmony of its majestic temples and spectacular landscapes. Textile Odyssey takes us to Yangon, Bagan, Mandalay, Inle Lake, Sittwe, and Mrauk U where we’ll see a variety of textiles as well as demonstrations of their production in the homes and villages of artisans.
Among these beautiful textiles are lotus stem fiber cloth, originally woven for monk’s robes; Myanmar’s renown acheik weaving (known as lun taya or “100-shuttle wave”); sazigyo, a tablet-woven cord used to bind Buddhist scriptures; intricately embroidered story tapestries known as kalagas; lovely silk ikat and supplementary weft weave textiles; and hand woven, natural dyed cloth. Both men and women continue to wear Myanmar's elegant national dress:
a lungyi (sarong style long skirt) with a distinctive pinni (top). Handwoven bags are accessories carried by men, women, as well as children.
As Myanmar begins its historic political transformation, now is the time to experience this country. The unique appeal of this nation lies in the combination of its gracious people, ethnically differentiated into 135 groups; the thousands of ancient temples, pagodas, and stupas dating back as far as the 11th century; and a simple way of life that still exists. The lack of industrialization and skyscrapers provide a backdrop for spellbinding landscapes of sunsets and sunrises with silhouettes of ancient pagodas.
Myanmar’s renown temples, pagodas, and stupas are architectural masterpieces that reflect the aesthetics of the varied cultural influences in its history as well as the beauty and art in religious devotion. Very much an integral part of the daily life, these religious monuments are busy centers filled with devotees who come to worship and make offerings. At special novitiate and ear-piercing ceremonies, both young and old dress in lavishly decorated costumes unique to Myanmar. We’ll have opportunities to view these daily temple activities and any ceremonies or festivals that may be in progress.
Our walks through sleepy villages, idyllic rides in canoes on Inle lake, riverboat rides, and horse-drawn carriage rides on dusty roads add to the romance and charm of experiencing an ancient way of living. Eighty percent of the population thrives on agriculture and/or cottage industries. We'll have opportunities to view demonstrations of the production of many of these handcrafted arts--such as fine lacquer ware, basketry, woodcarvings, elaborate puppets, rare gemstones and jewelry, handmade paper, decorative painted umbrellas, gold leaf, pottery, and sand paintings.
In keeping with Textile Odyssey Tours’ commitment to providing unique tours that expand our understanding and vision of the world, we’ll explore Sittwe and Mrauk U in Rakhine State. This area is home to many tribal groups whose textiles are most coveted among collectors. Stability has returned to this area, which was restricted due to internal conflicts in 2012. Flying to Sittwe, we'll cruise up the Kaladan River to the “Lost City” of Mrauk U, once the center of the powerful Arakan kingdom and a bustling trade port for a multitude of goods such as rice, ivory and elephants from Burma and cotton, spices and textiles from India, Persia and Arabia. Today Mrauk U is a quiet, sleepy town seldom visited by outsiders. Morning and evening mists create mystical landscapes as they float through a backdrop of forest-clad hills dotted with temples, lakes, marshes and mangroves. Influences of nearby India and Bangladesh are evident in the fascinating ethnic groups such as the Rakhine, Mro, and Khami groups whom we’ll be meeting. Traveling to their villages, we’ll see demonstrations of their textile techniques, renown for their complex weaving designs and distinctive styles. As we learn about their textiles, we’ll also have opportunities to learn about the unique ways of living of each of these groups.
Kengtung Hilltribes of Shan State: Yangon-Kengtung-Yangon (Jan. 31- Feb. 5, 2018)
As we wander through local markets, we’ll mingle quietly among the local people as they move about in their daily lives. We'll see ethnic minorities dressed in their distinctive group outfits, such as the Pa-O with their elegant black tunic tops, short jackets, and long skirts accented with brightly colored plaid headscarves and the “Long-neck” Paduang, striking in their unique brass coil neck rings. In galleries, small shops, workshops, and villages, we’ll also see the textiles and dress of many ethnic groups, such as the Kachin, Naga, Karen, Rakhine, Khami, Mro, Chin, Akha, and Padaung.
Optional Extension Tour to Rakhine State Weavers : Yangon-Sittwe-Mrauk U- Yangon (Jan. 25 - Jan. 31, 2018)
We travel off the beaten path to the remote town of Kengtung in Shan State. This region lies near the border of China and Laos and is the gateway to many intriguing ethnic minority groups who continue ancient ways of living. We’ll take short walks (up to one and half hours each way) into hillside villages of several ethnic minority groups, including the Akha who are striking in their unque headdresses laden with silver coins and balls and long strings of beads.
Many of the garments worn by the Ann --including those of men, women, and children--are handwoven, indigo-dyed, and cleverly tailored. Some of the striped panels on the women's skirts and shoulder bags and the plaid baby carriers are made of hemp.
Palaung women wear velvet jackets, hand-woven striped tube skirts along with several bamboo, metal, and lacquered rings around their waists. We will also encounter members of the Akhe, Shan, Wa, Lahu, and Loi groups. As we visit these artisans in their homes, we’ll have opportunities to observe their weaving and embroidery techniques and learn firsthand about their unique cultures, and experience the warmth and hospitality that is an intrinsic way of life here
To reserve a place on this tour or for more information: