The phrase ‘treasure chest’ only begins to describe U Hla Win’s private gallery and residence - located in Thanlyin, one hour south of Yangon. His personal collection is the most impressive assortment of Myanmar artwork and artifacts in the country (far more than the National Museum) and very likely the world. On display are precious lacquerware antiques, priceless ceramics, statues, scrolls and paintings- thousands of items, spanning tens of Myanmar dynasties and kingdoms. The museum is split into two newly renovated galleries housed within the same compound. The property itself is as extraordinary as the artwork on display. Balinese bamboo, teak sculptures, cascading fountains and beautiful gardens offer an unbelievable setting.
Even more outstanding than the treasures on display are U Hla Win’s energy and enthusiasm. Though on the day we visited we were his only two guests, U Hla Win hosted us for FOUR hours as he ran from room to room picking up piece after piece while recounting the stories behind each item. After a long and successful career as an art and gem dealer, U Hla Win is now focused on preserving his country’s cultural legacy. Though he spoke of potentially charging an entrance fee, or perhaps setting up a café, his only hope for the time being is to expose his rich collection to as many people as possible. Go to the museum’s Facebook page for information about scheduling a visit.