Notes Of General Aung San, The Floating Village Lake: 1 Kyat (Myanmar, 1958)-Article

Updated: Dec 19, 2021

This ornate Burmese banknote represents the 1st denomination of the Third Kyat (Series 1958). The Third Kyat is notable for reintroducing decimalization to Burmese currency. This was done in response to 1952 declaration, by the Union of Burma Bank's Currency Board. In which, 1 Kyat was to be decimalized into 100 Pyas.

Despite the Currency Board's decision, Third Kyat banknotes were not issued until 1958. These notes closely resembled the last Burmese Rupees, issued in 1953. Although with the addition of General Aung San's portrait. Usually in place of either an image of a peacock or Chinthe (guardian lion).

The Third Kyat replace the Burmese Rupee at equal (1:1) parity. Allowing citizens to simply exchange their Burmese Rupees for newer Third Kyat banknotes.


The observe features a highly detailed ornate frame and Burmese script. The frame is a mix of Burmese style stonework, with some guilloché decorations. The header reads "ပြည်ထောင်စုမြန်မာနိုင်ငံဘဏ်" translated as the "Union Bank of Burma. Along the frame's corners are number one's in alternating Burmese (၁) and standard numerals (1).

At the note's lower-center is an underprint, listing the note's 1 (၁) Kyat value. To the lower-left is the the note's serial number. The serial number is composed of a mix of Burmese script and numerals. It reads "၁၁ဒ ၁၇၉၈၁၇", which roughly translates to 11D 179817. With "11D" apparently representing the batch number.

To the note's right, is a portrait of General Aung San (1915-1947), founder of independent Burma. General Aung San created the Tatmadaw (Armed Forces). And negotiated the conditions of Burmese independence, from the British Empire. Although unfortunately the General was assassinated before Burmese Independence, in 1948.

Opposite of General Aung San is the note's watermark area. The watermark features a portrait of General Aung San, a feature seen throughout the 1958 series.


The reverse features a detailed illustration depicting a traditional Sampan boat, at Inle Lake. The Shan Hills can be seen in the illustration's background. Notably most Sampans are used for trade and transportation along inland waterways, such as lakes and rivers. Although some larger ocean-going variations were historically employed by Malay and Indonesian sailors.

Unlike the observe, the reverse features English language text. Simply stating the note's issuing body the "UNION BANK OF BURMA" and face value (ONE KYAT). Although unlike other note's in the series, this value is displayed on a pendent-like backing. With decorative embellishment, representing lotus flowers. Notably in Buddhist culture, the lotus represents purity of body, speech, and mind.

Opposite of this "pendent", is the note's watermark area. A simple moon-like unprinted and outlined area. Just as the observe, the reverse features number one's in alternating Burmese (၁) and standard numerals (1). This reverse frame borrows its design, from the lower frame of the observe. A simple sequence of repeating decorative embellishments.

The Floating Village Lake

Lake Inle is Myanmar's second largest freshwater lake, covering an average of 116 sq km (44.9 sq mi). The lake is a natural wonder, forming important link between the native Intha people's culture and the region's biodiversity. It rests high in the Shan Hills, a mountainous region that extends from China's Yunnan providence, Myanmar, and Thailand's northern highlands.

The lake's shallow depth rises and lowers seasonally. With an average dry season depth ranging from 2.1-3.7 m (7-12ft). This depth can rise by 1.5m (5ft), during the rainy season. Large portions of the lake's surface also feature mats of floating aquatic plants. These 2 properties played key roles in Lake Inle's most popular feature, it's floating gardens and villages.

The Intha people are renowned for their ability to built these floating platforms. They use their fishing boat to collect aquatic plants from the lake's bottom. Then carefully place them onto bamboo poles anchored to the lake bed. Repeating this labor intensive process creates floating islands. That adjust to the lake's seasonal rising and lowering.

In addition to gardening, the Intha are also avid fishers. Known for their distinctive leg-rowing techniques. Lake Inle features 35 native species of fish, 45 species of freshwater snails. and unique Lake Inle Crab. The Burmese Snakehead (known as Nga Ohn-ma) is considered a delicacy, among the Intha. Especially when steamed cooked in clay pots or pickled.

Although the Inle Carp (known as Nga Hpein), is the staple fish among the lake's inhabitants. Inle Carp is used to make a popular dish called Htamin Gyin. Made from fermented rice kneaded into balls with fish and/or potato. This meal is served alongside Hnapyan Gyaw, also known as twice-fried Shan Tofu. Which is made from chickpeas, instead of soy.

During the August-October festival season the Intha sell their handicraft to visiting tourists. These handicrafts include Cheroots (Burmese cigars), handmade silver jewelry, and lotus silk clothing. These goods can be bought from the local market. Which rotates daily between the 5 different location along the lake's shore. Merchants traditionally sell their crafts from their boats.

Additional Notes

  • This note dimensions are 108 x 66 mm or 4.25 x 2.60 in, smaller than a US dollar.

  • The preferable method to preserve this note, are side opening sleeves, cut to size.

  • Decimalization was first introduced by the WWII Japanese Occupation Rupee.

  • The village of Ywama, on Lake Inle eastern shores is home of the 18-day long Phaung Daw U festival. Celebrated at the Phaung Daw U Pagoda and the neighboring lake shore.

  • The Khaung Daing hot springs are located near Lake Inle's northwestern shore.

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