Yandabo's population of 800 are mainly engaged in pottery making and agriculture. Clays and silt from the river bank are mixed to form the basic product. Each potter makes 60-80 pots per day, depending on their size and whether they are cooking pots or water pots. Every few months several families get together and build a communal kiln where about 4,000 pots are fired. They lose nearly 20% in the firing process and the rest are sold locally for 1-2,000 kyat each, or taken to regional markets by barge and sold for double that.
In the afternoon we had a recap on Myanmar geography, history, culture, etc in the lounge. The Farewell Cocktail Party starts at 6:30pm and we settle our ship's bill this evening.
Tomorrow after breakfast we disembark and have a look around Mandalay before checking in to our hotel for lunch.
Enlarging and shapingVery skilful hammering with flat wooden mallets against a round metal anvil inside the pot. In the process the clay is stretched and decorations applied. The bottoms are rounded as this makes them easier to carry on the women's heads.
The start of a kilnThe pots are stacked in a circular mound with layers of pots and sticks, up to about 2m high. The firing lasts 3-4 days, with another 3-4 days to cool.