Local bamboo woven products from the North of Thailand or Lanna area are regarded as handicrafts that have been passed on from generation to generation for a long period of time, as seen in the mural paintings in many Buddhist temples in the North, which depict local people using basketry products in their daily lives. Examples of such mural paintings are those in Lai Kham Pantheon in Phra Sink Temple, Chiang Mai Province, which depict many local people sitting and chatting with local style baskets called ‘Piat’ beside them. The Piats depicted in the mural paintings are not different from those used nowadays. This means Lanna people have been weaving Piats for no less than one hundred years, based on the ages of the mural paintings.
The ‘Chak San’ term in Thai (meaning basketry) shows the methods to make the product. 'Chak’ means to prepare and turn the materials into stripes or strings. Meanwhile, ‘San’ means to weave, which is an important step after ‘Chak’ which is the step of material preparation. Weaving is a creative way of thinking of human beings for using materials in the nature. In the early ages, the weaving technique was flat, crossing the material stripes with one another. This method is called ‘Lai Khat’ or ‘crossing motifs, whereby one stripe is pulled up over a crossing stripe before being pulled down underneath the crossing stripe. The stripes that cross over and under one another are held together, covering as much space as needed. Based on the ‘Crossing Motifs’, human beings have developed various weaving techniques to meet their needs by weaving the materials around the molds in order to shape their works as containers. The molds can be fruit skins or pottery products. After developing the basketry techniques, human beings began to develop the motifs in order to create containers that meet the needs for use and have beautiful and attractive looks.
Sources of Basketry Products in Chiang Mai Province
Basketry Group, Saraphi District
Most woven handicrafts from Ban Pa Bong Village in Pa Bong Sub-district, Saraphi District, are utensils used in daily life such as baskets and nets. From the interrogations, it is discovered that products from Ban Pa Bong have been sent to the Handicraft Center of Ban Thawai in Hang Dong District. Before sent to the center, the products are sent to some other areas where they will be added values. For examples, they are sent to Nong Khwai Sub-district for painting and colouring, and Han Kaeo Sub-district to be decorated. Afterwards, they are sent to Ban Thawai Handicraft Center.
Basketry Group, Hang Dong District
The creation of woven products by craftsmen from Hang Dong District is based on the natures of agricultural society. Weaving craftsmen are farmers as their ancestors. When they do not have any farming work, they use materials found in their neighbourhood such as bamboos or other materials to make basketry products in order to spend their free time creatively. Their products used to be made in order to serve their needs for household use, but, presently, they weave products mainly for commercial purpose. Examples of woven products from Hang Dong District are Lai Am covers and baskets for longans (local fruits).
Basketry Group, San Pa Tong District
San Pa Tong District has unique cultural features that are interesting, one of which is basketry of San Pa Tong District, which is valuable. Techniques to weave household utensils have been passed on to new generations by ancestral generations. Since the past, people wove utensils that they used in their daily lives and sold in marketplaces. This is a simple way of life. Most locals are farmers growing rice, longans and orchard plants. When they do not have any agricultural work to do, they spend their free time weaving products that they use and sell to make additional money. Basketry products that are found in a great number in San Pa Tong district are ‘Kuai Kla’ which are containers to temporarily contain and carry agricultural crops that will be transported because these containers are strong and durable.
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