Types/ Division of Craftsmen in Thailand

Thailand is rich in its cultural art and intricate designs. This is evident when you are visiting the temples in Thailand – where the design differ from one temple to another.

In the year 2019, Kasikorn Bank’s table calendar showcases the 10 divisions of craftsmen in Thailand. The description is written in Thai language but from the image itself you would have an idea on these ancient craftsmanship that is passed down from one generation to another. These are not contemporary workmanship but it is in existence for hundreds and thousands of years in Thailand.

Thai calendar 10 divisions of craftsmen in ThailandThe description: Chang Sup Mu or ten divisions of craftsmen are Thai artisans grouped into ten types of traditional artistic works. These skills have been curated from local talents to become the royal art squadron that has created invaluable treasures of the nation.

The 10 Division of Craftsmen are:

1. Drawing ช่างเขียน
2. Sculpting ช่างปั้น
3. Carving ช่างแกะ
4. Engraving ช่างสลัก
5. Moulding ช่างหล่อ
6. Turning  ช่างกลึง
7. Modelling ช่างหุ่น
8. Lacquering ช่างรัก
9. Metal beating  ช่างบุ
10. Plastering  ช่างปูน

Below are each of the painting featured in each month of the table calendar by Kasikorn Bank which is one the top banks in Thailand (in their signature green colour):

Drawing ช่างเขียน

Thai wall paintingAbove: You would be able to see beautiful paintings in the walls of some of the temples in Thailand. Some of the artisans would paint a new painting either showing highlights of the Buddha’s life, the heavenly realms, other realms and those showing Dhamma lessons. Sometimes they would perform repair works on the painting.

Carving ช่างแกะ

Thai artisan- wood carvingAbove are very intricately carved woodwork which I have seen decorating walls of temples. Sometimes a scenery is carved using wood (instead of being painted).

Engraving ช่างสลัก

Thai artisan Sculpting ช่างปั้น

Thai artisan working on a statue

Thailand is well known for its statue carvings. Above is the carving of a heavenly being.

Plastering  ช่างปูน

Thai craftsmen crafting out patterned designs

The carved structures above are usually used to decorate rooftops of buildings or temples. It is usually made separately and then transported to be attached to the building structure and then painted.

Lacquering ช่างรัก

Artisan in painting and repairing
Above, the craftslady is providing finishing touches to the wood through the process of lacquering. This produces a highly glossed surface on the wood.

Modelling ช่างหุ่น

Thai artisan doing the traditional masks used in Thai plays
Above are a head mask used in a traditional play in Thailand.

Metal beating  ช่างบุ

Turning  ช่างกลึง

Moulding ช่างหล่อ

Above a structure of a heavenly animal is being moulded and then painted.

Above: Embroidery done on the fabric by hand.

I am often inspired when I visit various places in Thailand because traces of artisan’s work could be seen. Now we have the technology we are able to use various tools to help in building structures. Drills and airlift would help do sculpt a high statue or paint on the ceilings. But how are such feat achieved hundreds of years ago? Totally and utterly amazing.

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