Zaw Zaw / The Irrawaddy

Keeping Alive the Art of Handcrafted Danu Umbrellas

Zaw Zaw The Irrawaddy

Apart from its limestone caves, which enshrine thousands of Buddha images of various sizes, Pindaya, a small town in the Shan Danu Self-administered Zone, is famous for its traditional Danu umbrellas, which resemble the famous Pathein parasols of the Irrawaddy Region.

Only a few villages in Pindaya produce traditional Danu umbrellas as a cottage industry, as the majority of Danu people engage in farming for their livelihoods. But in the village of Nga-pyaw-taw, U Kyaw Shwe is the only person who has maintained this ancestral business to keep the tradition alive.

The family business is a major attraction of the village for both local and foreign visitors, said U Kyaw Shwe who also exports umbrellas to western countries, mainly France.

The traditional umbrellas are made from jute and bamboo and the whole production process is done by hand. Today, umbrellas are still used as ornaments by Danu damsels during their traditional festivals.

The Irrawaddy has captured the production process of Danu umbrellas at U Kyaw Shwe’s umbrella workshop.