Mother of pearl Inlay (Khruang Muk)

Mother of pearl inlay ware exhibits an intricate interplay between the glistening, opalescent colors of the shell and teh shiny black of the lacquer background. Using a complicated and painstaking technique which dates back well over 800 years to the Sukhothai period,

 

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Department of the Ten Crafts (Krom Chang Sip Mu)

Ten Divisions of Traditional Thai Crafts (งานช่างสิบหมู่)

It can be said that traditional crafts created by the Department of the Ten Crafts are classified as fine arts. Each craftsman might create his work of art with different materials, but the “form” to be used as a medium usually followed customs and traditions. Based on ancient beliefs or traditions, craftsmen would re-form their artistic creations from a natural form as their source of inspiration. The artistic creations would become an invented form in accordance with the ideals or traditions of Thai society. Art objects created by royal craftsmen or those working at the Department of the Ten Crafts are, therefore, referred to as “Thai traditional art”.

 

Krom Chang Sip Mu or the Department of the Ten Crafts mainly comprised officials who were craftsmen. The name of the Department seemingly implies that this organization consisted of only 10 types of crafts. However, according to a poem written by Prince Pradit Worakarn, who served as chief of the Department of the Ten Crafts during the reign of King Rama V, the organization in fact covered 13 different categories: drawers, paper-makers, carvers. Modelers, sculptors, plasterers, lacquerers, metal beaters, turners, moulders, wood–carvers, engravers and carpenters.

A book on history of Prinec Prissadang explains the ten types of craftsmen and the Department of the Ten Crafts as follows:

“The name Chang Sip Mu comes from “Chang Sippa” of the Pali language. This is similar to “Silpa (art)” in the Sanskrit language, which means art and craftsmanship. Thai people in the old days preferred Pali to Sanskrit, therefore, the word “Sippa” was commonly used instead of “Sippa”, which is popularly used today. Chang Sippa is, thus, similar to Chang Silpa ro Chang Silp, which means an artist. However, the word “Sippa” was later pronounced “Sip” for short. For this reason, “Chang Sippa” finally became “Chang Sip”. The word “Mu (group)” was later added to clearly identify the grouping of craftsmen”.

There is no historical evidence showing that “Sip” represents the number 10. It is believed that “Krom Chang Sip Mu” was actually derived from “Krom Chang Sippa Mu”. Although officials working at Krom Chang Sip Mu were directly in charge of creating objects of art in response to the King’s wishes, the King himself did not reserve any one of them to serve him exclusively. He intended to recruit craftsmen of different types to be the prime force of the country in building royal palaces, royal regalia, royal vehicles, religious structures, places of worship, necessities for Buddhist monks and various public places. The King considered that it was his duty to contribute to the country and uphold Buddhism. He acted as a patron to various craftsmen, enabling them to contribute to the nation and the monarchy on a continual basis.

References Chang Sip Mu AOT, 2540

The Royal Craftsmen College (Wittayalai Nai Wong Chai)

Utestaksina Building in the Grand Palace compound was used as the school building.

Wittayalai Nai Wong Chai ; Utestaksina Building in the Grand Palace compound was used as the school building.

Her Royal Highess Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn has an initiation that to preserve traditional ancient handicrafts found at the Grand Palace and at any other places to stay in good conditions is of great importance. Therefore, HRH Princess has agreed to set up school which taught craft skills which learners could bring the knowledge learn to really preserve the ancient art works. To achieve such goal, The Bureau of the Royal Household and the Ministry of Education then establish the Royal Craftsmen College (Wittayalai Nai Wong Chai) in 1989.

With the permission of HRH Princess. Utestaksina Building in the Grand Palace compound was used as the school building. The Princess has also personally supported the budget for school activities. In every year, the Princess herself will present the certificates for students in their graduation ceremony.