Young stone carvers in Khattakan village of Monywa Township are leaving their traditional business to make tombstones in China, which is more lucrative, according to locals.
“Sculptors have become rare and most of the young people have taken up jobs overseas. Those who make carved tombstones can save K20 million in eight months. That is impossible for them if they stay in their village and so, they are mostly engaging in carving headstones and tombstones,” said U Myo Myint, a local.
With raw stones becoming rare, metal mortars will replace stone mortars in the next 10 years, according to an elderly carver.
“Young people are not interested in the mortar-making business, and only the middle-aged are engaged in it. Handmade mortars fetch K350 per mortar, while machine-made mortars are priced at K500 per mortar. Those who make mortars by hand can produce 5 or 6 mortars a day, while those who use machines can manufacture 15 mortars per day,” he added.
Mortar manufacturers source raw materials such as siltstones and sandstones from the Phoekhaung Mountain. But now, these are being used as paving stones, and so, raw stones have become scarce. “Entrepreneurs order different sizes of raw stones, and a truck full of stones is worth K150,000. A ditch can be sold for K50,000, and about 150 mortars can be produced per ditch. There are two sizes of pestles and five types of mortars in the market,” said a stone miner from Phoekhaung Mountain. — Myo Win Tun(Monywa)
(Translated by La Wonn)