“Lady of Inle Lake”

Inle Lake, Myanmar. November 2019 (12 photos)

This is Part 11 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 14 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

I spent a couple of days touring Inle Lake and nearby Samkar Lake on a longtail boat. Inle lake ranges from about a 2 metre depth in the dry season to a 5 metre depth in the wet season and a feature of the lake is that many villages are built on stilts over the water. One of my stops was at a fabric weaving complex. Initially the idea didn’t thrill me but to be honest I was anticipating it would only be a quick visit to the shop, to keep my guide happy, and then off to see something more interesting. But I’m happy to admit the visit to Mya Setkyar Pure Silk Fabrics was a highlight of my day. After a brief introductory tour, I had the freedom to wander around, meeting the lovely ladies of Inle Lake. They were very friendly and had no problem with me wandering around taking their photos for an hour or so.

“Mya Setkyar Pure Silk Fabrics”

One of the buildings of the complex. Getting around involves walking on wooden bridges connecting the various buildings. There is no dry land at all near the complex. The workers commute via boat. Several bring their children to work.

“Lotus fibres”

Lotus is found in abundance in the area, and as demonstrated above the locals extract fibres from the lotus flower stems, and spin it to make a luxury fibre, similar to silk. Of course, they also have other fabrics at the complex to make their various designs.

“Fanning the fire”

All day long, this lady fans an open fire, boiling raw materials in various coloured dyes.

“Colours of Myanmar”

“Let the spinning wheel spin”

I doubt I could sit like that working all day, not even a chair to sit on.

“A room of looms”



“The token male”

Well, my visit was just after lunch.

“Ladies of Inle Lake”

These ladies were enjoying a tea break. I took several photos of this group, including some whilst lying on the floor. There was a lot of smiling and laughing that afternoon.


“Perhaps nothing is so fraught with significance as the human hand.” …Jane Addams.


This is Part 11 of my posts about Myanmar, and Part 14 of my posts about my near month-long visit to Myanmar, Thailand and Singapore in November 2019.

Leica Etcetera, Photography Etcetera

Ladies of Inle Lake


59 thoughts on “Ladies of Inle Lake

  1. Alexandra says:

    this is a magical series, Lignum!! very up close and personal, such lovely details… I’ve never before heard of lotus fiber weaving… you’ve told the story with so much grace and consideration for their work… love those hands, working hands are beautiful!!

  2. J.D. Riso says:

    What a nice surprise to have the obligatory shopping stop turn into a highlight of the tour. I suspect that may have been you catching a quick nap.😎 Your photos are very peaceful, especially the hands. Humility and happiness.

    • Indeed, that would be a sneaky selfie if that were me taking a nap. πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ Thanks, Julie. The welcome from the ladies at the weaving centre was very warm and friendly. It was a fascinating look at life there.

    • I’d never heard of it before but with an abundance of raw material around them, it makes sense to use it. Yes, purchase made as a gift – unique and it supports them.

  3. I think craftsmanship of that nature would be quite interesting to see in person, and the openness of your ladies could only help. I bet if the thread of the lotus is as fine as silk, it would take forever to weave something. Thanks for the visit.

    • Thank you. Indeed, it was fascinating to see the work that goes into producing the finished product. Every thread from the lotus has to be obtained by hand as the lady demonstrated.

  4. Really enjoyed pouring over your photos again, Draco. There’s something hypnotic about weaving and working at the loom … the rhythmn in such artwork. And a bit of magic there too, in the creation of those colours and patterns. Fascinating. Thanks M.

    • Thanks, Meg. Yes, it was an interesting visit, to see the whole process on one site, entirely manual. Not even a template pattern for the patterns they were weaving. The finished products were very beautiful.

  5. Absolutely wonderful portraits with a great mood, Draco. I was ready to set off to Myanmar a few years ago and the nothing was the same.

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