Sunday, August 26, 2007

Arts and Crafts of Thailand

I found a really interesting book at the library that I enjoyed reading. "Arts and Crafts of Thailand" (by William Warren, no longer in print) not only had wonderful photographs of traditional arts, but also very in-depth information about the history and cultural significance of many of Thailand's crafts and the symbolism they are imbued with. There's a Thai history book I keep borrowing from the library and returning unread because it's a little daunting (I will finish if before we bring home our little one!), but in this book the history kind of sneaks up on you in interesting bits.

The chapter I found the most interesting was the final one, which examined "Theater and Other Diversions". This chapter had info on games the Thai have played for centuries (including a kite-flying competition that pits a very large and powerful "male" kite against a smaller but more maneuverable "female" one) , and some of the unusual musical instruments that have been used in Thai music. I also was interested to learn a lot about khon, the rituals and dancing performed by actors in elaborate masks and costumes. The storyline of the performance is based on the Hindu stories of Ramakian. Ramakian is such an interesting story, I think I'll save it for another post, perhaps when the snow is flying and we have nothing new to report.


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