March 25: Stilt Villages, Silk and Lotus Weaving

This morning we travel by motorized sampan to Phaung Daw Oo Pagoda , the lake’s main sanctuary, which contains five sacred images of Buddha so covered with gold leaf as to be completely unrecognizable as the Buddha.

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Each year during September and October, four of the five images are placed on the barge below, a replica of a royal barge funded by American Buddhists, and towed by small boats powered by leg rowing men around the lake. The images are placed in a monastery overnight and villagers are permitted to venerate them.

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We then went to Nga Hpe Chaung Monastery, formerly known for its “jumping cats” going through hoops. I saw one lone cat which was resting in the heat.

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One can imagine years of bare foot traffic on this floor.

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I had to restrain myself from removing the object from the seat.

Lunch today was to be at a typical Inthe house which was off a small waterway from the main canal, and prepared in a typical fashion. We were happy to be under roof on this hot, humid day. Here is the group which took the Inle extension tour.

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This silk and lotus weaving shop was a considerable distance from the open lake.

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The frame for stringing the warp.

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winding silk thread onto spools

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All work is done by natural light.

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Pulling strands from lotus stems.

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The operator pulls a handle which causes the shuttle to move across the warp.

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The loom is somewhat automated to reduce operator fatigue and increase speed.

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Each of the operators were warm and accessible.

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An example of one of the cloths in production.

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The operator assembles the threads for weaving.

The remainder of the afternoon was spent at rest at the hotel. Tomorrow is a travel day.

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