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Woodcarving is done everywhere in Thailand, but the North, and especially the area around Chiang Mai is really famous for it.
So, while walking on the Night Bazaar in Chiang Mai, why not please yourself and your guests with a "tailor made" name plate for your front door? I had this one made within 24 hours. But don't think they had all the letters in stock. The ones they did have in stock were a little too large, so they started immediately sawing new ones, the right size and the door plate was ready the next day! One of the best souvenirs I can imagine!
Outside Chiang Mai there are some good wood factories. If you go to the one that specializes in furniture, you can buy a dinner table with a hand-cut top like this one. They send it to your home anywhere in the World and they pack it perfectly. The table and chairs themselves are not really what I would call handicraft, but the top of the table (and the back of the chairs) certainly are!
This table with chairs are certainly 100% handicraft! This
magnificent set was also made in Chang Mai, but not in a factory. Note
that most of the wood has kept its original color, but that some parts
have been colored in three colors, with natural materials. You don't
have to be afraid that these chairs will be taken from your house, as
every chair weighs more than 100 kg!
Please note that you can have any large furniture items sent to your home. Several people have asked me about the price for shipping. As a rule of fist, you should reckon with double the price in the shop, before you have it standing in your home!
Elephants are very popular in Thai handicraft, and also with tourists. Therefor you can also buy bronze elephants in several sizes or wooden elephants in any kind of wood and in any size you would wish to have!
Everybody who has been in Thailand will be familiar with Thai silk.
Most well-known are Thai silk neckties, pillow covers, shawls etc.. But
why not also take a look at Thai silk flowers. The ones on this picture
are very realistically made. Even the raindrops are not real, but
certainly they (too) do look real!
Thai silk is, contrary to Chinese silk, a relatively "rough" material. So, if you see a silk fabric that feels very soft, it has been made out of Chinese silk, not out of Thai silk!
Another type of handicraft from Thailand is the so called "laquerware". It comes in two types: gold on black (like here on the picture) and multi colored. Both are attractive, but my personal preference goes to gold on black.
Thai ceramic products are not very popular with
tourists. At least you do not see them very often in souvenir shops. I
hope that you agree, after looking at this picture, that it certainly
is worth more attention.
A place where many, if not most, of these ceramic products are being made is Koh Kred, a small island in Bangkok, in the Chao Phraya River, on the Thonburi side.
This kind of painted earthenware is called "Benjarong". Literally this means "five colors". So this type of decoration will always consist of five different colors (gold and silver included). Benjarong is a beautiful, though not cheap, souvenir.
Benjarong products are popular with tourists. Therefore they usually are packed in solid boxes. You will find all kind of objects in Benjarong. On the pictures you see a pot and a Chinese style tea cup, with a cover.
I also want to introduce to you the Thai way of painting. This is a detail of a much larger painting, showing several scenes from daily life in rural Thailand. The Thai artists are masters in this style of painting! This is just a small part of a painting, which hopefully will give you some idea of the richness in detail in this style. If you take the trouble to go to an art shop, you will see that there are several other styles of painting too, many of them inspired by "Western" art.
And, finally, why not take a typical Thai stuffed animal for your children, or maybe for yourself, home? This water buffalo ("kwai") is very popular in Thailand. It is available from several factories. Go to the nearest branch of Central Department Store and you will find it there in several sizes. A wonderful friend, to remember Thailand!
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This page was last uploaded: April 12, 2011 at 12:11