Hand-woven treasures from the land of Karen
Buy a longyi
The fabrics in this small shop are all handwoven on a bamboo loom and then the patterns are hand stitched. There are between 40 and 50 patterns available and several styles of traditional costume, including the very cool Karen Blazers, popular with members of the KNU, and the beautiful white smock dresses, the longer of which is worn by young unmarried women and the shorter one worn over a longyi when a woman marries.
A Karen stronghold
The shop owner U Ye Lwin Htoo opened this store in 1995. He moved to Ahlone in 1988 as a teacher, later becoming the headmaster of the local school. He is now the General Secretary of the Pwo Karen Baptist Community.
Traditional Karen drums
The horn-shaped drums are actually the most expensive item in the shop. They cost as much as 500,000 kyat each. The traditional drum holds immense cultural significance in the Karen community and is even depicted on their flag. Dr. Francis Mason, writing at Toungoo in 1868, says “a kyee-zee is what constitutes a rich Karen. No one is considered rich without one; whatever may be his other possessions.”