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Pantain (art of the gold and silversmith)

The artisans and craftspeople of pantain make items of gold or silver. This is known as gold or silver smithing in English. 'Smith' is both a noun and verb meaning 'working with metal'. A person who makes gold objects, such as earrings, rings, necklaces and ornaments is a goldsmith. A person who makes silver items is a silversmith.

Read the article about silver smithing in Myanmar and complete the questions with NO MORE than ONE WORD from the text.

  1. In past times, the ownership of silver items signified the ________ of the owner.

  2. Silverware was only used by monks on ________ occasions.

  3. Ywet-ni was primarily used in the making of _______ .

  4. Both weight and _______ determine how much a piece of silverware is worth.


The art of silversmithing in Myanmar is more than 1,200 years old. It was King Anawrahta, who introduced his people to Theravada Buddhism, who first brought Mon artisans and works of Mon gold and silverware to the capital Pagan.

Monarchs customarily used silver and gold bowls to reward ministers and the court attendants for their loyalty to the royal family. Silver items were also a status symbol because only the ministers, the generals and the rich citizens used silver for everyday items such as flower bowls, vases and spittoons. The poor citizens could not afford silverware and monks and clergy refrained from using any silver or other worldly luxury items except for religious purposes.

Ceremonial silver bowls were often crafted from ngwe-zin-baw-phyu, the best kind of silver. Another lesser grade of silver, ywet-ni, made from an amalgam composed of equal parts of silver and copper was mostly used for silver coins.

In their workshops, traditional Myanmar silversmiths manufactured a range of silverware by hand. No machines were used. The value of the silverware depends on the weight and quality of the workmanship.


Now watch the video about a contemporary Myanmar goldsmith and complete the summary with the words in the box below.

Note: There are two extra words.

Aung Chay is a goldsmith. He crafts jewellery ________ on traditional designs. Whereas most jewellery is now ________ , Aung Chay's jewellery is handmade, making it more valuable. Hand crafted items have qualities that cannot be __________ by machines and each piece is different and _________. Aung Chay gets ___________ from his environment, especially Yangon, and is proud to be doing work that helps to ___________ Myanmar culture.

When you are ready, enter you answers in the sheet below:


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