Phetchaburi: City of Siamese artisans

Last updated: 31 Aug 2021  |  4472 Views  | 

Phetchaburi: City of Siamese artisans

“Phetchaburians possesses meticulous hands” 

The above mentioned words accurately reflect the integrity of Phetchaburian artisans. Phetchaburi is overflowing with arts and crafts. If you look up to the sky above Phetchaburi, instead of tall skyscrapers you will see the peak of Wat Mahathat Woravihara temple. On each road you will be met with peaceful and ancient red-brown temples made from laterites, most of them are adorned with mural paintings inside the cathedral. If you travel to other districts of the province, you will find agricultural apparatus, coastal fishing tools, and classic gabled-roofed Thai houses in Phetchaburian style.

Phetchaburian crafts works are thousands of years old. It can be trace back to various time periods. From the era of Dvaravati: archaeological sites Thung Setthi. From the Khemere era: the castle of Kamphaeng Laeng temple. From Ayutthaya period, from which the term “Phetchaburi, the clan of craftsmen” was born, for example: the reclining Buddha of Phra Phutta Saiyat temple with its beautifully symmetrical face of the Buddha, Yai Suwannaram temple with its Ayutthayan style wooden sermon hall and its mural painting of Thephanom (a figure of deva), Ko Kaeo Suttharam temple which possess a beautiful and perfectly preserved mural painting. From the Rattanakosin period: the stucco works inside Mahathat Woravihara temple. Lastly Phra Nakhon Khiri Historical Park, and Phra Ram Ratchaniwet Palace, both have been influence by the combination of the late Ayutthaya period and western arts.

One of the most prominent artisan works of Phetchaburi are stuccos, which are used to decorate the front yard, and temple arch, which can be found adorning every Phetchaburian temples. Phetchaburian stuccos are unique because of its fascinating patterns, the beautiful offwhite colored lime produced by craftsmen who meticulously blend their own lime by mixing rice papers, palm sugar, fine sand, lime and water. Furthermore, stuccos are used as part of gilded works and window decorations.

Tok Kradas (paper carving), the art of carving Thai pattern or mythical beasts on papers, they are used to decorate different sites, such as funeral pyres, and cinerary urns. They are generally used in various events, for instance; ordination ceremonies, and weddings. For such special events colorfully carved paper flags are hanged from railings adorning the ceremonies together with paper garlands.

Phetchaburian gold smiths, traditional gold patterns usually of the natural designs, such as phikul flowers, pine cones, fishtail palms, and lotus flowers. The gold smiths of Phetchaburi will use only one smith per assignment, and it is for the most part made by hand. Producing each piece by hand gives each piece of work its own unique characteristics. Traditional source of gold in Phetchaburi are on Pa Nich Charoen Street and Surin Ruechai Street.

Thaeng Yuak (Banana stalk carving) is a delicate and precise work, commonly use in ordination ceremonies, kon chuk (top-knot cutting) ceremonies, and funerals. Most prominent are the decorations of royal catafalque used during royal cremation ceremonies of Kings and royal family members, such as royal cremation ceremony of Princess Mother Srinagarindra, Galyani Vadhana (Princess of Naradhiwas), Princess Bejaratana Rajasuda, and Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poraminthra Maha Bhumibol Adulyadej Borommanatbophit (King Rama IX), whose Thaeng Yuak craftsman comes
from Phetchaburi.

Presently, the craftsmen of Phetchaburi are divided into stucco work, Thai mural painting, the art of gilded mirrors, Thai lacquer work, Banana stalk carving, paper carving, large embroidery, wood carving, and the sculpting of Khon mask and animal mask. Art works can be found adorning
various temples, the skills and technique are taught to those who are interested at the home of master’s craftsmen and youth activities, such as the Luk Hwa group who uses the Suvwannaram Gallery inside the great Suvwannaram temple to learn the trade of craftsmen.

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