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Author Archives: Fan Fan

  1. Kua Huak Kua Hang

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          Kua Huak Kua Hang refers to various containers and objects from the Lanna region. Coated with lacquer from the “Rak” tree or lacquer tree that grows in local forests, these devices can be called “lacquerware”, as influenced by China. The oldest evidence for lacquerware in China dates to over 3000 years ago, and lacquer is widely used across East Asia and Southeast Asia, specifically in China, Japan, Korea, Burma, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia. Lacquer is applied as a coat on various containers to lend durability to the materials in different ways, and can be decorated to add beauty and attractiveness to usable objects.    

         Kua Huak Kua Hang is presumed to have been used in Lanna for a long time, as the Lanna region is rich in materials required for production, particularly bamboo and lacquer. Lanna people also refer to the objects themselves, collectively, as “Kua Huak Kua Hang”, after the nature of materials used. Kua Huak Kua Hang is a combination of three words: “Kua” meaning “kitchen” which, in the Lanna dialect, refers to related objects, items and utensils; “Huak” meaning sap from the lacquer tree; “Hang” meaning cinnabar, a sulfide mineral of mercury that is ground into a red powder, most of which is imported from China. When the powder is mixed with lacquer, a beautiful red color is produced, which has become a unique characteristic of lacquerware in the region due to its immense local popularity.

        Carl Bock said, of the Lanna lacquerware style, that Lanna people make “…betel nut boxes…water cups, rice bowls, and other household tools, all treated with lacquer…”. A survey found that Lanna people also like to make “other household items” using lacquer, such as chests made of fabric used for storing clothes or valuables, “Khan-toke” – pedestal trays used as small dining tables, “Bung” – containers for storing seeds or planting, similar in appearance to a sticky rice box, “Bung” or “Piet” – for transporting items to market or carrying rice, “O-harb” – containers functionally similar to Pung, “Sa Pom” – personal items similar to a wallet, used by women to carry money, most of which are beautifully decorated. It may be said that Sa Pom are the most beautiful pieces of lacquerware able to be worn and displayed in public. 

    The word “Khrung Kheun”, also meaning lacquerware, comes from the name of the production site and craftsmen of the Thai Kheun community, who settled in Ban Wua Lai and Ban Nantarat, Mueang District, Chiang Mai Province. This group belongs to the Tai Lua lineage from the Chiang Tung region along the Kheun River, from which they are known as the Tai Kheun people. Evidence exists that some members of this group migrated and settled in Chiang Mai, all of whom were skilled artisans excelling in metalwork, weaving, paper-craft, basketry, and lacquerware. Their method of producing lacquerware often employed a technique known as “Hai Lai”, or engraved patterns. From the reign of King Rama V onwards, these people favored engraved lacquerware which soon became widely popular. Thus, all types of lacquerwares are called “Khrung Kheun”, after the ethnic group from whence it originates. 

  2. Announcement of museums open date and time

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    We are please to announce that ‘Chiang Mai Centre Museums’ will be opened on 1st July, 2020.  During the first phase, the museums will be operated on Monday to Friday from 08:30 to 16:30 hrs and closed on public holidays. To prevent and reduce the spread of the Corona Virus 2019 (COVID-19), we kindly ask every visitor to comply with strict government measures. 

  3. ‘Evolution of Shophouses’ in Chiang Mai

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    สันต์ สุวัจฉราภินันท์. (2559). ย้อนอ่านสถาปัตยกรรมตึกแถวในถนนท่าแพ : เส้นทางของความทันสมัยเมืองเชียงใหม่. หน้าจั่ว, (ฉบับที่ 13)


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    The Mae Ping River Valley
    Traditional Textile Skirt with Lame Border

    The Pa Sin Tin Jok is a traditional skirt worn by T’ai Yuan women in Lanna, also known as northern Thailand. It is typically seen in the valley of the Maenam Ping and characterized by designs that represent local identity and heritage.

    The especially traditional skirts called “Pa Sin Tin Jok Kham” have elaborate borders into which strips of precious metals, gold or silver, have been inserted or were woven with spun gold or silver threads. This technique emphasizes the beauty and value of the weaving as well as the social status of the person wearing the skirt. For this reason, the Pa Sin Tin Jok Kham is generally reserved for high-ranking members of society who live in the city of Chiang Mai and its environs.

    The valley of the Maenam Ping presents a diversity of motifs the traditional culture of weaving. Groups may be clearly identified by the use of color and creativity in woven motifs. The unique expression of these beautiful, eye-catching motifs is basic to the structure of the traditional skirts. Motifs and designs develop in the village context from the work of master weavers. They skirts these women weave inspire other weavers to be equally creative.

    The Pa Sin Tin Jok in this gallery are representative of the skirts worn by women living in villages along the Maenam Ping River, running north to south in the province of Chiang Mai down to Lamphun province. Shows the creative diversity and use of these motifs in the unique Lanna weaving tradition.

    Traditional Skirts From The Mae Ping River Valley Exhibition
    Collected by Assoc. Prof. Kanta Poonpipat
    Current shows at Lanna Folklife Museum
    Opening Hours
    08.30 – 17.00 Tuesday – Sunday (Including public holidays)
    Close on Monday