Central Region of Thailand encompasses a vast fertile plain. The
crafts which have been practiced there include almost all of those
found in the other regions of the country.
Ayutthaya, which was founded in the middle of the 14th century on
the central plain, royal patrons supported many clans of artisans
within their households. Craftsmen fashioned ornaments and decorations
of gold, ivory and precious stones which were symbols of status
for the nobility. Elaborate woodcarvings and finely crafted ceramics
graced the palaces. In addition to these emblems of royal power
and privilege, crafts developed to decorate the wats, including
images of the Buddha cast in bronze or carved in teak.
was during this period that the Organization of the Ten Crafts was
first established by royal decree. The organization's purpose was
to provide training for Thai craftsmen, particularly those who worked
in the palaces. The Ten Crafts were:
(including painters, muralists, and manuscript illustrators), engraving
(woodcarvers, engravers on metal, precious metal inlay), turning
(lathe-workers, carpenters and joiners, glass mosaic workers), sculpting
(paper sculptors, decorative fruit and vegetable carvers), modeling
(beeswax molders and bronze casters, mask and puppet makers), figure
making (dummy and prototype makers), molding (craftsmen in bronze
and metal casting), plastering (bricklayers, lime plasterers, stucco
workers and sculptors), lacquering (masters of lacquerware and mother-of-pearl
inlay), and beating (metal beaters and finishers of metal articles).
crafts carried over to the Bangkok period after the fall of Ayutthaya,
and the teachings they imparted are the foundation on which craftsmen
and artisans continued to produce their treasures for both royal
and religious purposes.
finest examples of these crafts are reflected in the masterfully
crafted splendor of the Grand Palace which was the religious and
political center of the new capital and the reconstituted kingdom.
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