Monday, March 17, 2014

#699 Na-Gar Glass Factory, Yangon (Rangoon), Myanmar (Burma)

On a side road just off Insein Road in the middle of Yangon's Hlaing Township is one of the most amazing workshops I've ever visited: the Na-Gar Glass Factory. As you walk in the gate, other-worldly piles and piles of dusty, broken glasses line the dirt paths, often sorted by color, some piles looking fresher than other piles, but all looking like waste. However, these form the raw materials for the recycled hand-blown glass ornaments that are prepared by the open fires under the workshop shelters. 

Famous for producing the huge, mesmerizing Buddha eyes in the Chaukhtatgyi Paya, but more popular now for its beautiful wine glasses, vases, fish ornaments, beer mugs and other decorations. The full nativity sets are popular, as are the large bowls and ornamental drops. No signs lead the way, and it really is a jungly wild driveway, so try and find someone who knows where to go!
Cyclone Nargis destroyed most of the workshop, but the owner Myat Kywe has rebuilt and is selling again. It even has a spot on Google+ and Foursquare! The video below shows them using a beer-glass mould.
Note: Many photos taken by Brian Marquand. All photos were taken before Cyclone Nargis.
Source: Lonely Planet Myanmar (Burma) 9th Edition 2005

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