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NATIONAL CULTURE
    In accord with the policy of the State, the Ministry of Culture has been making endeavours for the vitalization and flourishing of Myanmar culture and arts through conducting courses and research, entertaining the public, maintaining culture and the arts and preventing their waning, working for their flourishing, and also to allow the public to fully acquainted with the traditions and cultures of the national races.
   Under the Ministry of Culture, there are the Fine Arts Department, the Department of Archaeology and the Department of the Cultural Institute.
Department of Culture
     In its endeavours to ensure the flourishing of Myanmar fine arts and the performing arts, the Department of Culture runs the schools of fine arts and the performing arts in Yangon and Mandalay. Moreover, in order to see that Myanmar theatrical art does not wane, the department organizes the State orchestral troupe and dance and drama troupes and presents both at home and abroad traditional dances and drama performances. culture01
    With a view to enhancing bilateral relations and acquainting the world of Myanmar culture and the arts, Myanmar cultural delegations have performed in neighboring countries and those in the west and has received similar delegations in reciprocation.
Myanmar cultural dances and those from abroad are performed at the National Theatre and the Padonma Theatre in Yangon. Similarly, a modern National Theatre built in Mandalay has been completed.
    To ensure flourishing of Myanmar culture and performing arts and to nurture world-class artists, the University of Culture was opened in Dagon (South) section of Yangon on 24 September 1993. It provides a four-year degree course in art, sculpture, music and theatrical performance. A host of 173 graduates received their degrees at the first convocation on 30 October 1997 and the fifth convocation was held on September 2001. The University of Culture (Mandalay) was opened in November 2001 and attended by 194 students.
Department of the Cultural Institute
   The Department of the Cultural Institute takes charge of libraries, research on literature and culture of the national races and the observatory. It runs the National Museum, the National Library, the observatory and the Bogyoke Aung San Museum. It runs the libraries and museums in Kachin, Kayah, Kayin, Chin, Mon, Rakhine and Shan states. It also runs the libraries and museums in Mandalay, Mandalay Division, and in Pathein, Ayeyawady Division. It takes charge of conservation of rare ancient Myanmar inscriptions and rare books. It also takes charge of research into and recording of the cultures, traditions, modes of dress, means of livelihood and traditional festivals of the national races.
    The new National Museum was opened at 66/74 Pyay Road, Yangon, on 18 September 1996. Each of the floors of the five-storey building is 380 feet by 200 feet. It consists of the chamber for the Thihathana Throne, the displays of Myanmar alphabet and written scripts, the display of the Yadanabon period, the display of Myanmar Pre-history and early history, display of Myanmar history, display of Myanmar musicology, display of Myanmar folk art and ten traditional arts, display of Myanmar art, display of Buddha's statues, display of Myanmar national culture, display of natural history and the display of ancient armour and dress.
Department of Archaeology
    The Department of Archaeology has carried out excavations concerning the Stone Age (for example Shwesaryan, Taungthaman Lake and Letpanchaypaw Village), the Pyu period culture (1st Century to about 10th Century AD), ancient Beikthano City (1st to 4th Century AD), ancient Hanlin City (5th to 9th Century AD), ancient Tharekhittra City (5th to l 0th Century AD), ancient Mengmaw City (5th to 9th Century AD). To study ancient Mon culture, excavations were carried out at ancient Kyaikkatha City (circa 5th Century AD), and to study ancient Rakhine culture, excavations were carried out at ancient Wethali City (5th to 9th Century AD). There are ongoing excavations at ancient Myinsaing and Tagaung cities.
    Currently, the Department of Archaeology is maintaining the 5th Century religious edifices at the site of Tharekhittra City, 2230 of such religious edifices and frescoes of the 11 th Century Bagan City and the 18th Century to 19th Century wooden monasteries in Mandalay, Sale, Pakhangyi, Sagaing and Innwa.
Myanmar Traditional Performing Arts Competitions
    The Myanmar Traditional Performing Arts Competition has been held since 1993, according to the objectives laid down by the Government for the promotion and perpetuation of the performing arts. The competitions have brought to the fore talented young men and women who will carry the torch onward.
Year Toatal contestants No.of prizes Value of prize[ks]
First competition 1993 284 118  
Second competition 1994 1427 295 6785000
Third competition 1995 1676 325 7675000
Fourth competition 1996 1751 323 7735000
Fifth competition 1997 2146 412 15860000
Sixth competition 1998 2572 419 17040000
Seventh competition 1999 2525 420 16700000
Eighth competition 2000 2553 442 18395000
Ninth competition 2001 2538 487  
Venues of the competitions cultlure05
Singing competitions National Museum,
Pyay Road, Yangon.
Dancing competitions National Theatre,
Myoma Kyaung Road, Yangon.
Composing song competitions Fine Arts Department,
Kaba Aye Pagoda Road, Yangon.
Musical instrument Playing competitions Badonma Theatre,
Sanchaung Township, Yangon.
Level of contestants
  1. Professional level
  2. Amateur level
  3. Higher Education level
  4. Basic Education level [15-20 years old]
  5. Basic Education level [10-15 years old]
  6. Basic Education level [5-10 years old]
Singing competitions
  • Classical songs
  • Hymms [Religious song]
  • Modern songs
Dancing competitions
    Male Dance, Female Dance, Marionette, Drama.
Musical instrument playing competitions
  • Harp, Xylophone, Piano, Oboe Violin, Mandolin
  • Dhiobat, Ozi Myanmar Orchestra (Group/Single)
Sr State/Division Gold Sliver Bronze Special Total
1. Yangon Division 103 63 39   205
2. Mandalay Division 25 27 30   82
3. Ayeyawady Division 12 17 13   42
4. Bago Division 8 5 10   23
5. Rakhine Division 6 8 6 1 21
6. Magway Division 4 2 7   13
7. Kachin Division 4 1 7   12
8. Taninthayi Division 3 5 3   11
9. Shan State 2 4 6   12
10. Kayin State 2 3 4   9
11. Mon State 1 9 12   22
12. Sagaing Division 1 7 12   20
13. Kayah State 1 3 3   7
14. Chin State   3 5   8
    172 157 157 1 487
Note: The award for the best player in drama and the award for the best background music in drama are enlisted in "Gold" coloum.
Myanmar Traditional Regatta
     The Myanma Traditional Regattas are not simply regattas where boatmen compete but include the Myanmar concept, culture, traditions and traits, ancient naval craft, procedures and strategies and the pomp and ceremony involving royalty. Among the twelve seasonal festivals in Myanmar tradition, the regatta shows off naval prowess, its promotion and perpetuation, with the valour of men of strength coming into full play.
     With the regaining of independence, these were revived in participation at the Independence Day and Union Day celebrations. The revival of this festival and related events enormously helped the revival and revitalization of the Myanmar rowing art and sport, together with the encouragement of tenacity, industry, team spirit and selflessness.
Myanmar Traditional Equestrian Festival
     To help remember each of the traditional festivals identified with the respective months, there is a verse that aptly lines them up in the Thadina Pyo treatise of the Minister Letweithondara.
    Though generally known as the Royal Equestrian Festival, it involved, in addition to horses and elephants, infantrymen, archers, war charioteers, and all other war implements, each section displaying all its skills. Swordsmanship by horsemen that boasted 37 items and another 37 items on the use of the spear by horsemen were included in the ancient Myanmar battle displays, to help warriors improve while competing.
Myanma Traditional Cart and Cattle Competition culture10
    Cattle have constituted the main component of the traditional rural communities and mainstay workforce for agriculture. Evidence is found of the extensive use of cattle for cultivation and transport from as early as Bagan and Innwa periods onwards on stone inscriptions, frescoes and ancient drawings.
     Cattle have been part of rural life, well cared for at all times and trained from young. Cattle shows and skill competitions have also dominated the rural scene.
Myanmar Traditional Apparel Shoe
    Myanmar Traditional Apprel show, ceremony was agened at 22 December 2000 to 21 January 2001 in National Museum organized by Ministry of Culture.
   In this show, the demonstrations of Myanmar traditional apparel show were presented on costumes of national races, dresses of Bagan, Inwa, Nyaungyan, Konbaung, Amarapura and Yadanabon periods, dresses of ladies of university in pre-war and post war preiods and from 1965 to date, and demonstration of Myanmar Traditional Novitiation Ceremony.
Exhibition of Ten Traditional Arts
    Among the Four Social Objectives, it is required to endeavour for the uplift of national prestige and integrity and preservation and safeguarding of cultural heritage and national character. In keeping with these objectives, the Ten Traditional Myanmar Arts Exhibition was held in Mandalay which is home to such artisans and craftsmen, from 20 to 31 December 1996 at Sinbyukan Grounds, with thousands attending.
    As enunciated by the Monywa Zaytawun Sayadaw in his Yazawwada treatise, the ten traditional Myanmar arts are Pabe, the art of blacksmiths, Panhtein, the art of gold and silver-smithy, Padin, the art of bronze casting, Pantawt, the art of making floral designs using masonry. Payan, the art of bricklaying and masonry, Pabu, the art of sculpture, Pantamawt, the art of sculpting with stone, Panpoot, the art of turning designs on the lathe, Bachi, the art of painting and Panyun, the art of making lacquerware. In 2002, another exhibition organized by Myanmar Traditional Artists and Artisans Association (Central), was held at Tatmadaw Convention Hall in Yangon at 201-2002 to 3-2-2002.
In the exhibition, altogether 712 paintings, 110 sculptures and works of ten traditional arts and crafts are displayed and 33 private galleries also participated.
Myanmar Necklaces (Beads) Exhibition
    The exhibition was held in National Museum on July 2000. Among exhibits, Traditional Necklaces of Nationalities and various kinds of necklaces in Stone Age and Pyu Period to the present were included. Altogether were 20 kinds of beads, 493 pieces of necklaces and 125 beads.
Exhibition of "The Legacy of Bagan"
    The Legacy of Bagan Exhibition was organized by the Department of Archaeology. In exhibition, the booth on the ancient cultural region of Bagan and the map of its environs and the illustrations of cavalries and elephant troops, the livelihood of people in Bagan period drawn on the wall and brick arches were shown. And also among exhibits, the valuable wall paintings the replica of Nandapyinnya Pagoda is Minnanthu Village of 13 AD, documentary photos of maintenance work of Bagan pagodas, the scale model of Nanphaya made of stone.
ASEAN Art Awards
    ASEAN Art Awards began in 1994. It has been held every year up to 2001 and now in its seventh time in a row. As it was decided the forthcoming awards to hold it every two years, will be held at Bali Island in Indonesia in May 2002.
    In the years 1998 in Hanoi, 1999 in Kuala Lumpur, 2000 in Singapore, Myanmar has participated as a guest competitor along with Cambodia and Laos. Up to the Singapore competition in 2000, only seven ASEAN countries could have participated. Now, these three countries including Myanmar will take part in the final stage of the ASEAN Art Awards to be held in 2002.  
Lawka Chantha Abhaya Labha Muni Image culture13
    The stone sculptor U Taw Taw happend to find an unusually large marble rock, 37 feet and 7inches long and 24 feet wide and over l 1feet thick, 500 ton in weight, it is flawless and of high quality in Zakyin village, Mattaya Township, about 21 miles north of Mandalay.
   He acquired permission to carve the marble rock into a Buddha Image. The Chairman ofthe State Peace and Development Council Senior General Than Shwe, gave guidance that it should be conveyed to Yangon for public obeisance as Buddha Image in accord will religious traditions. The image was conveyed in July with Yadanar Shwephaungdaw Jetty and taken to Mindama Hill, Yangon on August 2000.
   The state gave guidance on caring of Lawka Chantha Abhaya Labha Muni Image and all-round construction work of Mindama Hill, in Insein Township.
All-round renovation Hsandawshin Kyaikhtiyoe Pagoda
      The enshrinement Shwehtidaw hoisting and consecration ceremony of Hsandawshin Kyaikhtiyoe Pagoda was held on a grand scale on 19 March 2001.
     The Kyaikhtiyoe Pagoda is located in Kyaikhto Township, Mon State.
The original height of the pagoda was 13 feet 8 inches. As it was laid with reinforced concrete to ensure durability, the height increased to 22 feet 5 inches. The decaying tiles on pagoda platform were substituted with 20000 two feet by two feet heat-resistance granite slabs. A new 350 kv generator and underground wiring system was installed with public donations. The pagoda was illuminated to be more sublime. The 7-mile mountainous road leading to the pagoda was laid with concrete and road drainage system was added.
SEAMED
     The History Agenda 21 Workshop, The Inauguration Ceremony of SEAMED Regional Centre for History and Tradition (CHNT) and Regional Arts and Crafts Fair were held in Yangon on December 2000.
    The History Agenda 21 workshop has two main objectives. The first is to consider new initiatives for study and research in Southeast Asian history and the second is to consider the needs to conclude regional history into secondary school curricula and the methods of implementation.
    The main objective of the SEAMED centre is to develop a better understanding of the history and tradition of the Southeast Asian region through research activities as part of the efforts to create and maintain a better sense of national identity.
A regional Arts and Crafts Fair was be held at Centre premises for three days.
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