The Pot Maker
North of Yangon sits the city of Bago, a popular rest point for those heading to the Golden Rock. Ago is also known for it’s pottery, and the area has many workshops where individuals labor day in and day out throwing, molding, pounding, and then firing clay pots.
The pots are used for anything and everything: holding drinking water, transporting water, plants, food storage, etc. They range in size from the small and hand-holdable, to ones so large a person could easily fit inside.
During our visit, we were able to stop at a workshop run by the same family for generations. They saw the pots through the entire process, from collecting the clay from nearby riverbeds all the way to selling the finished product. I watched at two people threw the clay on foot powered potters wheels, forming the basic pot. Those pots were then set in the sun for several hours to harden, after which this young woman would hammer, by hand, the patterns and reliefs into each pot, as seen in this image.
It was amazing watching her work. She used a hand crafted wood mallet with a design etched into the face of the hammer. And each whack of the hammer against the semi-hardened clay hit exactly where it was supposed to; no two strikes overlapped. It took her maybe four minutes to do one pot, and she did this for 200-300 pots a day, while sitting on a dirt floor in a covered workshop open to the heat and humidity. I didn’t see many people in Myanmar sweat, but this woman, as you can see, is perspiring.