Near the Mahamuni Pagoda in Mandalay, a whole street belongs to the stonemasons. Here is chiseled, milled or drilled and then painted. Hundreds of Buddha figures are made by hand and line the roadside. Above all lies the white dust of the stones or the marble. The sight is beautiful, but it quickly becomes clear what this means for the workers.
Protective clothing for the fine dust is not available. Most of the workers will work here for a maximum of 20 years and especially the elderly will suffer from pneumoconiosis, but younger people will hear coughing again and again. Just crossing the street gives you an idea of the conditions people are exposed to daily here.
The process is always the same: First, the body and finally the face is worked out. After the stonework, the Buddha figures are finely painted by hand. There are mainly Buddhas produced, but occasionally there are also guardian lions and elephants.
A little off, in the less dusty sections of the street, are mainly women busy polishing the finished figures to a high gloss. With water and sandpaper, the Buddhas are lit up to be painted in the last step according to the wishes of the customer.