[ASEAN-Korea summit] Handicrafts of Mekong on display in Busan

By Im Eun-byel
  • Published : Nov 24, 2019 - 15:29
  • Updated : Nov 24, 2019 - 15:29

ASEAN Culture House under the Korea Foundation is to host mini fair “Bazaar Mekong: Handicraft and Design Goods,” introducing the art and design culture of the five Mekong countries.

The exhibition opens Friday at the Association of Southeast Asian Nations Culture House’s Community Hall in eastern Busan.

It is to showcase handicraft wares from five countries along the Mekong River, Southeast Asia’s longest: Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

According to the organizers, the exhibition aims to introduce the nations’ “aesthetically pleasing and functionally excellent products, based on traditional craftsmanship with a touch of modern design.”

Clockwise from top left: Cambodian silk products, Laotian homeware, Myanmar lacquerware and Thai pottery. (ASEAN Culture House)

Two teams of artisans from each country will participate. 

Creators from Cambodia will showcase silk products. Cambodia has a long history of silk production. Streets in rural regions are filled with stalls run by women selling handmade silk scarves, dresses, wallets, accessories and more.

The Laos section consists of dyed garments. Natural indigo-dyeing is a common practice in the country, recognized for its rich textile heritage. The dyed garments sell at high prices and are appreciated for their unique colors. 

Myanmar’s lacquerware is created by using the extracted resin of a local tree. The resin is used for varnishing and coating. The lacquerware is characterized by floral designs heavily influenced by Buddhism.

Thailand’s pottery heritage was shaped by Chinese migrants who took interest in the local clay. The pottery ware features dragon motifs and distinct floral patterns, and is characterized by its unique dark color.

Rattan and bamboo weaving are among the most common crafts in Vietnam. Rattan is made from a local tree often found in jungles. Woven with a flower-braiding technique, the rattan and bamboo products are sturdy, practical and appreciated for their natural beauty. Bags, baskets and boxes are sought after by both tourists and locals.

Poster image for “Bazaar Mekong: Handicraft and Design Goods” (ASEAN Culture House)

All the products on display will be available for sale.

During the exhibition period, organizers will also feature hands-on workshops to learn skills such as Laos’ Hmong embroidery, how to make Thai pottery necklaces and how to weave Vietnamese bamboo sheets. Participants can also make colorful rag dolls dyed with Myanmar’s traditional technique.

The exhibition takes place from Friday to Sunday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Entrance is free. For more information, call ASEAN Culture House at (051) 775-2000 or check the website at

By Im Eun-byel (