Example of a Kalaga from Myanmar (Burma). Example of a Kalaga from Myanmar (Burma).

Kalaga (ကန့်လန့်ကာ; 'curtain') is the local name for a traditional type of decorated wall hanging from Myanmar (Burma), and in particular from Mandalay and its environs.

A kalaga is generally made of cotton, linen or silk, and is decorated with beadwork, pieces of coral, glass, embroidery, pearls and/or sequins. Gold and silver thread (shwe-chi-doe) may also be applied. The term shwe-chi-doe (ရွှေချည်ထို) is also the local Burmese name for the kalaga. Kalagas often illustrate stories from the life of Buddha or ancient Hindu tales, as for instance from the Mahabharata or Ramayana. Other forms of decoration are animals and signs of the zodiac. Figures and designs are often made and decorated first, and then attached (appliqué) to the ground material. Sometimes these figures are padded, providing a three-dimensional effect. After attaching the figures, the remaining background is filled in with swirls of sequins or other forms of decoration.

See also the TRC Needles entry on a late nineteenth century kalaga now in the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Digital source (retrieved 3rd May 2017).

Digital source of illustration (retrieved 3rd May 2017).


Last modified on Saturday, 06 May 2017 20:09
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