September 10, 2016

Traditional art of ‘mirror painting’ at risk of disappearing, says artist

The one and only mirror painting artist.
The one and only mirror painting artist.

THE traditional Myanmar method of ‘mirror painting’, in which an artist draws a scene reversed, needs to be taught to and fostered by a new generation, said U Chit Mya, a ‘mirror painting’ artist.
U Chit Mya is reportedly the only traditional ‘mirror painter’ still working.
Born in Amarapura, he began his artistic career by learning from his grandfather, U Ba Thet, and his father, U Ba Yee.
“The trick of the mirror picture is to draw conversely. The painter has to draw the front side first, and then the background is added. But, no one wants to hand over this technique and so it may disappear.
Foreigners have become interested in mirror pictures, though, so the mirror picture market is now much better than before.” he said.
A mirror picture is currently selling for around US$ 33 for a 10×14 inch frame for tourists while locals pay around K50,000 for a 18×24 frame.
“Previously, mirror pictures were mostly bought by Chinese people. After 2014, western foreigners were also in pursuit of mirror pictures.
Painting a Myanmar traditional mirror picture takes about two days.  The mirror pictures are drawn using four colours.” he added.
U Chit Mya will attend a mirror painting seminar which will celebrate the artform at a US university in 2017. He also demonstrated mirror painting in Bangkok at technology show in May of this year.


Aung That Khine


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