Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wooden boat salvaged in Nay Pyi Taw

Residents of Thit Taw village in Lewe township with a wooden boat made from ‘dammar’ wood that was salvaged last month. (Pyae Thet Phyo/The Myanmar Times)Residents of Thit Taw village in Lewe township with a wooden boat made from ‘dammar’ wood that was salvaged last month. (Pyae Thet Phyo/The Myanmar Times)

A 65-foot carved wooden boat has been salvaged from a creek in Nay Pyi Taw, residents said last month.

The boat, which is 8 feet wide, was raised from Pa Lwal Creek, just north of Thit Taw village in Lewe township, on January 15, said U Thit Lwin, a National League for Democracy member who serves as the local administrator.

He said the boat had been salvaged with the financial help of a retired army major, U Khin Maung Win.

Villager U Kyaw Thein said he discovered the front of the boat in Pa Lwal Creek when his cows were grazing.

“As soon as we found it we started uncovering it with about 20 villagers. But we stopped because the Won Tae Kuu village tract administrator warned us that if we didn’t stop then government officials would take it,” he said.

The boat promptly disappeared but showed up again when the water level dropped at the end of December, he said.

U Khin Maung Win said he learned about the boat when he visited the village two years ago and had spent more than K10 million since December on the salvage operation.

He said he wanted to display the boat, which is made from a kind of hardwood known as dammar, in his garden beside the Yangon-Mandalay Highway so that the public could enjoy it.

The boat will be pulled by elephants to the side of the Yangon-Mandalay Highway.

“We will carry the boat by car to my garden from there,” U Khin Maung Win said.

“This boat is longer than the one on display in the Fountain Garden [in Nay Pyi Taw]. But it will still need to be examined by archaeologists to work out how old it is.”

While residents had said they thought it could be more than 100 years old, an official from the Department of Archaeology told The Myanmar Times in late January that the boat is about 50 years old.

“It is not ancient at all. [We can tell this ] because it lacks arabesque [carvings],” he said.

One 85-year-old resident of Thit Taw village said the boat was of a similar style to those used to travel between upper and lower Myanmar about 150 years ago, before the arrival of road and rail transport. She said the boats were mostly made in the Bago Yoma.

About 30 years ago, a similar boat was salvaged from Pa Lwal Creek, while about five years ago another one was discovered in Nga Lite Creek.

The latter was installed in Nay Pyi Taw’s Fountain Garden.

Translated by Zar Zar Soe