Long known for its intricately painted lacquer bowls, Myanmar today offers many more treasures to be collected. Built by the British in 1926, Bogyoke Aung San Market (formerly Scott Market) is located ten minutes from The Strand and open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm. For those who like to bargain for locally produced goods, stall after stall here proffer elegant velvet slippers, jewels and gems, new and antique pieces, delicate lacquered parasols and kaleidoscopic longyi, the local term for the ubiquitous Asian sarong. Insiders know to climb the stairs to Yoyamay (Bogyoke Market #20, Main Front Building; +95-1-256-411) a jewel box size shop filled with natural dye textiles, tribal jewellery and accessories from across Myanmar, stylishly curated by an owner who hails from the Chin State.
Serious antiquing takes place at Augustine (No. 25 Thiri Mingalar Street, Kamayut Township; +95-1-525-359 or +95-9-541-9459). Forage here for silver, brass and copper ware, colonial and teak furniture, textiles and porcelains. Just down the street from The Strand and upstairs from the popular Monsoon restaurant [link to our Dining page], fair-trade pioneer Pomelo Boutique (89 Thein Byu Road; +95-1-295-224) offers charming, easy to pack soft toys, handmade traditional crafts, beaded jewellery and glassware bought directly from artisan cooperatives around Myanmar as well as exquisite textiles from Rakhine State. Bring cash, as credit cards are not accepted here. The same cash only policy applies at Myanmar Lacquerware (No. 7, 13th Street; +95 1 226 261), a reliable, well-priced source for these beloved traditional products.
Even before Myanmar’s political opening to the world, collectors were paying attention to Yangon’s nascent contemporary art scene. From Pansodan Art Gallery (286 Pansodan Street, Kyautada Township; +95 9 513 0846) on the edge of the colonial district, trusted gallerist Aung Soe Min champions talent from all over Myanmar to international buyers while his Pansuriya (100 Bo Galay Zay Street, Botahtaung) focuses on rare vintage and contemporary photography.
Classic Burmese landscapes hang alongside contemporary street art at Nawaday Tharlar Art Gallery (Room 304, 3rd floor, 20B Yaw Min Gyi Road’ +95-9-4309-7918) where curator and art collector Pyay Way represents around 50 artists from around Myanmar. Opened by renowned local artist Min Wae Aung in 1989, New Treasure Art Gallery (84A Thanlwin Street, Golden Hill Avenue, Golden Valley, Bahan Township; +95 1 526 776) centres on his stark canvases of Myanmar’s monks and nuns while promoting young local artists. Our long-time neighbour River Gallery (Chindwin Chambers 33/35, 37th and 38th Street; +95-1-378-617) showcases the works of established and emerging Myanmar artists.