Historically, Burmese art was based on Buddhist or Hindu cosmology and myths. There are several regional styles of Buddha images, each with certain distinctive characteristics. For example, the Mandalay style, which developed in the late 1800s, consists of an oval-shaped Buddha with realistic features, including naturally curved eyebrows, smaller but still prominent ears, and a draping robe.There are 10 traditional arts, called pan sè myo (ပန္‌းဆယ္‌မ္ယုိး), listed as follows:[2]

  1. Blacksmith (ပန္‌းပဲ ba-bè)
  2. Woodcarving (ပန္‌းပု ba-bu)
  3. Goldsmith (ပန္‌းထိမ္‌ ba-dein)
  4. Stucco relief (ပန္‌းတော့ pan-daw)
  5. Masonry (ပန္‌းရန္‌ pa-yan)
  6. Stone carving (ပန္‌းတမော့ pan-ta-maw)
  7. Turnery (ပန္‌းပ္ဝတ္‌ pan but)
  8. Painting (ပန္‌းခ္ယီ ba-gyi)
  9. Lacquerware (ပန္‌းယ္ဝန္‌း pan-yun)
  10. Bronze casting (ပန္‌းတဥ္‌း ba-din)

In addition to the traditional arts are silk weaving, pottery, tapestry making, gemstone engraving, and gold leaf making. Temple architecture is typically of brick and stucco, and pagodas are often covered with layers of gold leaf while monasteries tend to be built of wood (although monasteries in cities are more likely to be built of modern materials).

Burmese literature has been greatly influenced by Buddhism, notably the Jataka Tales. Since orthodox Buddhism prohibited fiction, many historical works are nonfiction. However, British colonisation introduced many genres of fiction which have become extremely popular today. Poetry is a prominent feature and there are several forms unique to Burmese literature.

Pwe (performances) often feature an ancient form of dance called yodaya aka which is an imitation of formal Thai dancing, in which a woman uses only her hands and feet to express emotions. The name yodaya is a Burmese corruption of Ayutthaya.

Various types of Burmese music use an array of traditional musical instruments, assembled in an orchestra known as saing waing which the Burmese saing saya Kyaw Kyaw Naing has made more widely known in the West. An instrument unique to Burma is the saung-gauk, an arched harp that can be traced to pre-Hittite times. Singing in classical times stemmed from various legends in Pali and subsequently in Burmese intermingled with Pali, related to religion or the power and glory of monarchs, and then the natural beauty of the land, forests and the seasons, eventually feminine beauty, love, passion and longing, in addition to folk music sung in the paddy fields. Pop music, however, dominates the music of Burma today, both adopted and homegrown.pakado sila