Lanna Arts & Crafts

Nam Ton Pottery

A nam ton, also known as khon tho, is a pottery vessel that stores drinking water. One of the most famous places to witness and learn about the nam ton is Nam Ton Salah Dang Pottery Learning Centre. This renowned destination in Mae Wang, Chiang Mai, is dedicated to preserving traditional pottery techniques and forms. Skilled craftsman Salah Dang (Salah means craftsman, and Dang is the founder’s name) established this centre, and his extensive travels throughout Northern Thailand have granted him a wealth of knowledge about these methods. Students and visitors can experience and appreciate the Lanna arts and crafts at this exceptional learning centre.

Hand-woven Fabric

Hand-woven fabric is a precious heritage, embodying national honour, cultural capital, and centuries of artistic wisdom. Ban Pong Huai Lan, a charming village in San Kamphaeng district, is renowned for its exquisite handloom weaving and thread-spinning. This idyllic village is nestled in a plain area, surrounded by majestic mountain ranges, rice fields, and a serene reservoir. Inspired by King Bhumibol's sustainable livelihood initiatives, locals also cultivate cotton and organic vegetables.

Yi Peng Lanterns

In preparation for the Yi Peng festival, Lanna artisans create various lanterns to hold candles for candlelight worship at temples and chedis or to adorn their homes. These bamboo-framed lanterns come in a myriad of shapes such as the ant-nest style. The lanterns are made of saa paper and elaborately decorated with silver or gold patterns. Ban Mueang Sat has preserved the traditional techniques of making Lanna lanterns and has become a famous community for this ancient craft.

Wood Carving

Skilled artisans in the past crafted intricate wood carvings for various purposes, including Buddha images, royal thrones, and temple decor. Baan Tawai, known as the wood carving village, is a famous cultural attraction in Chiang Mai, renowned for its craftsmanship and variety of handicrafts. It has been the centre of Thailand's largest handicraft village for a long time and has earned a global reputation for its skills for many decades. 

Silverwork

Lanna silverwork is carefully crafted by skilled silversmiths and characterised by intricate patterns and designs that often depict the natural beauty of the surrounding landscape, with intricate floral motifs and leaf patterns inspired by the flora and fauna of the region. You can view Lanna silverwork at Wat Sri Suphan, the Silver Temple, which is completely clad in silver. Visitors can also view the silversmith workshop there to see the craftsmen and monks at work creating metal plates.

Basketry

Lanna culture is known for its rich heritage of handicrafts, and basketry is one of its most prized traditions. They are made from natural materials such as bamboo, rattan, and grasses. Their patterns and designs reflect the natural environment and the local way of life. Skilled artisans at Pa Bong Village have been making practical household items out of bamboo for generations, turning ancient skills into a handicraft industry.

Lacquerware

Lanna lacquerware comprises utensils and receptacles crafted from wood, particularly bamboo, in addition to pottery that can be discovered in various archaeological sites throughout the region. Sri Pan Krua village, one of Chiang Mai's thriving lacquerware production communities, has been preserving this ancient art form through generations. This community's remarkable lacquerware continues to attract connoisseurs and those with a need for such exquisite work. 

Umbrellas

Bo Sang umbrellas have long been part of Lanna's traditional and cultural events and ceremonies. They are made of bamboo and saa paper. In the past, umbrellas were made as an offering for monks as well as an accessory for upper-class people who would use them for outdoor strolls. You can visit Bo Sang Umbrella Making Centre to see skilled artisans at work in the outdoor area.

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