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Thai Art

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Under the patronage of the royal courts during the Ayutthaya period were writers, painters, dancers, sculptors, architects, musicians and skilled craftsmen.  Artists and architects were expected to design and decorate buildings in conventionally accepted forms and styles.  Variations and creativity were not encouraged, therefore according to rigid discipline, art and craftsmanship were passed on from generation to generation.

 

The Krom Chang Sip Mu (Organization of the Ten Crafts) was created in an attempt to provide general training to Thai craftsmen, particularly those who worked in the palaces.  Originally, the organization covered at least 13 craftsmen. Grouped into 10 divisions during the Bangkok period were: drawing (including draftsmen, painters, muralists and manuscript illustrators), engraving (engravers on metal, precious metal inlay and woodcarvers, turning (carpenters and joiners, glass mosaic workers, lathe workers), sculpting (paper sculptors, decorative fruit and vegetable carvers), modeling (mask and puppet makers, bronze casters and beeswax molders), 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).

Although they are modernized to an extent by improved technology, contemporary Thai arts and crafts are still very much inspired by tradition.


 


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