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Best of Thailand
Craft l Culture l Fruits l Games l Nang Yai

During 1976, Her Majesty Queen Sirikit established the Foundation for the Promotion of Supplementary Occupations and Related Techniques (SUPPORT), with the objective of giving rural Thais alternative sources of income and also for reviving some of the kingdom's traditional crafts. The result has been a variety of beautiful items available in Thailand through a chain of outlets called Chitrlada Shops. There are five such shops in Bangkok alone while others can be found in Nakhon Pathom province and Chaing Mai.

Among the SUPPORT products to be found in these shops are hand-woven silks from the northeast, elegant "Yan Liphao" handbags, made from vine that grows in the south often adorned with gold fittings, jewelry in distinctive designs, supple Thai cotton in classic patterns and numerous moderately priced souvenirs. All funds raised from the sale of these crafts go to the SUPPORT project.


Hand woven textiles are typical of traditional rural communities, and the craft flourishes in the northeast. The most famous fabric of the region is "Mat Mee" silk with production centered in Khon Kaen where there is a week-long annual silk festival in early December. Unlike other kinds of Thai silk, "mat mee" is made from tie-dyed yarn, which permits the weaver to work distinctive, multicolored patterns into the design. Truly a silk of rare distinction!


This is where a dark amalgam of lead, copper and silver metals is rubbed into etched silver. The craft was introduced to the south from India and then spread to the north. Nielloware is used to decorate trays, betel boxes, vases, and other small objects.


Very Oriental and very attractive, lacquerware is a craft special to Chiang Mai and the north. An art dating back from the Ayutthaya period, 3 layers of lacquer from the sumac tree are brushed onto a wood or wicker based and each layer is polished with charcoal. Then a fourth layer is added and once more highly polished with charcoal. For a finishing touch, it is inscribed and then soaked in red dye for 2 to 3 days.

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