Myanmar is known as a golden country and gold is found everywhere, from the quarries to the temples and Buddha statues. Gold has become an indispensable part of the Myanmar culture. Even now, the making of Gold Leaf has become one of the most important artisan crafts as well as a service attracting tourists in Myanmar. Mandalay Gold Leaf Workshop is the place that visitors can witness the entire process of making gold leaf.
This workshop is also called King Galon. It consists of two main areas: one for man to beat gold, the rest for women to cut and pack gold leaf. In area for men, the stone pedestals are placed side by side in a row, next to a large fifteen pound sledgehammer to beat thin gold leaf. It is a hard work and requires a lot of patience and strength. Workers have to sweat and swung hammers rhythmically to creating thin gold leaf 0.000005 of an inch thin. The entire beating process can take 5 to 7 hours. Meanwhile, women employees’ room is quite small and muggy because windows and door must always be tightly closed, preventing the gold leaf blown by wind. At this time, the gold leaf is cut into squares of 2 inches, 1 1/2 inches or sometimes 1 3/4 inches in size and packed in the piece of paper and small plastic bags, then sold to local residents and tourists.
You will find gold leaf in all the pilgrimage sites in Myanmar because people in here have sacred traditional: rubbing gold leaf into Buddha statue to show their devotion or gilding the outside of temples or ancient architecture. It’s not difficult to buy a packet of gold leaf as a souvenir, or you can choose sophisticated gilded handmade items. The Myanmar people believe that gold combined with a number of other herbal ingredients into medicament will be good for health. Moreover, gold leaf is crushed to a fine powder, mixed with pure rain water and other ingredients into a gelatinous liquid. Myanmar women use this mixture to apply on their face as a traditional beautifying method.
Coming to Mandalay Gold Leaf Workshop, travelers will be visiting the largest factory of gold leaf in Myanmar and learn more about the working life of the local people. You will surely be amazed at the hidden wealth of this country.