From SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU Fri Mar 24 06:15:23 2000
Date: Thu, 23 Mar 2000 11:42:31 -0600
Sender: Southeast Asia Discussion List <SEASIA-L@LIST.MSU.EDU>
From: May Kyi Win <C60MKW1@WPO.CSO.NIU.EDU>

Pottery in the Chin Hills

By Charlotte Reith, 23 March 2000

During my research on contemporary pottery villages in Burma, I was given the name of one such village, Lente, by a native now living in the United States. Lente is located in the Chin Hills, a remote area of western Burma difficult to access, inhabited by many tribes speaking a large number of languages. Foreigners are rarely given permission to visit the Chin Hills, and although I obtained permission to travel to Lente, I was ultimately prevented by the authorities from going further than nearby Falam. I was nevertheless able to collect data from Lente in three ways: first, my guide Daw Moe Moe was able to visit Lente and take photographs of the potters there; secondly, Daw Moe Moe was able to return to Falam with a potter from Lente village and with enough of the proper kind of clay to facilitate a demonstration which I photographed and documented; and thirdly, I was given a copy of a videotape showing the potters working in Lente village. This tape was taken by a young man from Falam who is interested in recording local crafts processes. The tape allowed me to observe a process of making pots with which I was totally unacquainted, and which has otherwise escaped recent photographic or video documentation. This was a true “discovery” concerning the ways in which pots can be made, and still another indication of the imagination and ingenuity of humankind.