Myanmar village ‘blessed’ with marble bounty

The fine white dust that shrouds much of his northern Myanmar village also covers sculptor Chin Win as he leans over a half-finished Buddha statue.

“We are blessed to carve Buddha,” he said at his stone workshop surrounded by the seven white hills that give Sagyin village its name, which means “marble” in Burmese.

For generations, artisans in this part of Buddhist-majority Myanmar have carved out a living from the marble, fashioning mostly colossal Buddha statues to be sold in the nearby city of Mandalay or exported to neighbouring China and Thailand.

Many of the several thousand villagers here earn a modest living from the marble mines, hauling the slabs down the hill, carving them into statues, or exporting them overseas.