Myanmar’s majority group, which are around 40 millions people, or two thirds of the populations, are the Bamar (or “Burmans” as we know them). They were wet-rice farming people and as the country’s largest racial group the Burmese language has long been the national language. The Bamar have influenced and shaped Myanmar introduced many cultural forms and traditions.One of the greatest distinguishing trademarks of the Bamar is the pale yellow/white powder, made from thanaka bark, which Bamar women and a few men apply to their faces as protections against the sun. Not only is it being used as a sun-blocker but also for cosmetic reasons. Styles vary, ranging from a simple sircular patch on each cheek to more complicated patterns painted using intricate leaf stencils. Apart from those properties, thanaka is believed to cure acne and act as an antiseptic, which explains why the cream has been used for as long as 2,000 years.
It’s a very simple formula…
First you grind the bark with water on a stone:
Then you apply the bark to the face:
The cream is made from the ground bark of several trees. It has a fragrance close to that of sandalwood which is being commonly released when the ground bark is being pulverized on a stone slab. It is then mixed with water to form a paste and applied to the skin where it acts as a physical shield against the sun while also nourishing the skin with its rich antioxidant properties. I loved the feel of it and it is a great opportunity to experience the culture of the Bamar first hand.