Arts and Crafts In Thailand
Author: Nok Date Posted:4 August 2012
Thailand is a country that has a very rich history and with it comes a very deep vault of art, craft, and cultural heritage that has long survived for hundreds of years. Asian and Western influences have over the centuries molded Thai culture in such a way that these influences have become literally a part of what makes Thai culture so famous and distinct.
When we speak of Thai craft and culture, we immediately think of Buddhas and temples. This is because Thai art mostly is defined through religious art. This distinct definition dates back to periods of time even before the country we now know as Thailand existed. As a result of the patronage of the overwhelming class or its known capital, the styles or designs usually vary and overall become embedded into its culture.
To name a few of these overlapping periods here are quite a few examples:
The Dharavati Period where Nakhon Pathom was capital from the 7th to 11th centuries.
The Srivijaya where Nakhon Sri Thamarat region became its center from the 7th to the 13th centuries.
The Khmer period where they had Angkor as its capital from the 11th to the 13th centuries.
The Lanna, having Chiang Saen from the 11th to the 13th centuries.
The Sukothai from the 13th to the 15th centuries.
The Ayuthaya from the 14th to the 18th centuries.
Last but not the least Ratanakosin or Bangkok from the 18th century up to today where we know it to be called Thailand, or Siam.
Now, you will witness Thailand as a country of various contrasts where there is a competition of modern and ancient, built and natural alike. Any scene will definitely be enhanced by Thai artistry and cultural style. You will witness Bangkok as a city filled with hotels that have state of the art facilities yet still decoration with ancient and modern pieces that are either drawn, painted, photographed, sculptured, woven, or installed.
Thai artistry, if you will notice, enhances urban environments with its rich golden colors and multiple inlaid mirrors. Temples, shrines, or towers often dominate the skyline. Skills and talents often are passed only through family members and they reflect a very old age custom. Doors, walls, and ceilings are showcased in their temples with painted murals, sculptured Buddha images in various poses that depict each and every "attitude" the revered icon represent.
Foreign visitors will find a lively and thriving art and craft scene where ancient ways of creation are well preserved beside modern technology and often blended perfectly to create the perfect craft. Thai artistry is a showcase of the creativity, hard work, and diligence. A perfect example of this is a trip to the famed weekend market called Chatuchak, known as the largest weekend market in the world that covers an area of 27 acres containing over 15,000 shops selling goods from every part of Thailand. Not only is this venue a place for them to showcase their wares, but it also becomes an avenue for every Thai artisan to share methods passed from generations and meet current ideas to better expand their creative endeavors.
In every nook in Thailand there are districts specializing in a certain form of art or craft. One of the more known and refuted centers of art and craft in Thailand is the Chiang Mai region. Fondly labeled as the craft capital of the country and dubbed as The Rose of the North, the region is nestled in an area rich in natural materials as well as a very large pool of art and craft makers. Tourists often make a visit to this region only for the purpose of taking a tour through its numerous factories, workshops, or booths where skillful Thai artisans do their work. The choices of materials in this region are endless. Silk, ceramic, silver, wood, cotton, natural fiber, bronze, and lacquer ware are in abundant store and both young and old techniques are best utilized to bring out the best quality there is on the country. This region is also a perfect venue to witness these works of art in Buddhist temples, towers, and shrines. One place not worth missing when taking a trip to Thailand.