Ban Roi An Phan Yang Museum is a museum devoted to wood carvings. Located in a Lanna-style house on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, it contains astounding examples of what can be done by a master wood carver. It is well worth a visit.
Note: I am going to let the carvings speak for themselves through photographs taken by myself and Kasma in a slideshow at the bottom of the page. I have made the images 450 x 600 pixels: I apologize to those of you with slow connections but I want the photos to be large enough to do justice to the carvings.
This museum is the labor of love of a Thai man, Charoui Na Soonton, who has collected more than 1,000 wood carvings. The “museum” is actually his house, a warren-like maze of rooms filled with carvings in all styles, from giant elephants to intricate bas-relief carvings displaying an episode from the Ramakien (the Thai version of the Ramayana). There are Buddha statues, columns with traditional deities elephants, goddesses, demons and more. Some of the pieces on the wall are up to 20 feet long and may be up to 6 feet high.
(Click images to see larger version.)The museum (house) is spread out between three or four floors; one of the staircases consists of old, wooden wagon wheels. The carvings extend out onto balconies and then into a garden at the back of the house. Expect to spend at least an hour wandering through the labyrinth.
Charoui is a devout Buddhist and there are many altars spread throughout the complex.
In addition to collecting carvings, Charoui also commissions them from several carvers who are allowed to carve without specific deadlines. He has scoured the countryside for old wood for use in the carving.
It began as a personal collection. It has become a museum because Charoui had exhausted his savings and has opened the museum so that he can get financial support for keeping this priceless collection alive.
There is also a store where you can buy beautiful carvings.
One thing that the photos can not show, is the incredible delicacy, layering and intricacy of some of the carvings.
Here is the address of the museum:
Creative Handicrafts – Ban Roi An Phan Yang
255/4 Chiangmai – Sanpatong Rd., (Between K.M. 19-20)
Moo 4, Tambon Harn Kaew
Hang Dong District, Chiangmai 50230
Tel. (053) 441-214, 822-649, 822-664, (01) 951-2542
Fax. (053) 441-214
Essentially, it is located on Chiang Mai-Sanpatong Road between kilometers 19 and 20.
It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. There is a requested donation.
Also see How to Get There.
Kasma visits this museum with two of her off-the-beaten track, small-group trips to Thailand – Trip and Trip B.
Wood Carving Museum Slideshow
Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.
Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.
Written by Michael Babcock, December 2013