Nourished by the Same River Handicraft Traditions
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In the countries along the Lancang-Mekong River handicrafts that have been traded for time immemorial are still popular, and, as beautifully made products that can be seen everywhere here, these items reveal something of the local cultures.
Through their hands master craftsmen have passed on important aspects of civilization from the ancient past to the present day, and the trade in the items they make shows huge potential for economic growth. However, today the craftsmanship used to make these precious items of folk art are threatened by the process of modernization, and they may easily be lost forever.
Today we will see how primitive looking paper umbrellas are made with the simplest of materials, and skill some say may, in the near future, completely disappear. We will ask how the paper umbrella maker and a lacquer ware shop can continue preserving local traditions and listen as Old Man Zheng in Tengchong, Yunnan, China and U Maung Maung in Myanmar give their answers. In this program, we will also see a mysterious huge rock in Xiengkhuang, Laos, "the town of pagodas" in Myanmar and festivals related to handicrafts, all in this region nourished by the great Lancang-Mekong River.