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Thai Wood Carving

Wood carving is an art passed down within families traditionally in Southeast Asia. The carvers of Thailand are famous for their skills resulting in intricate carvings that seem impossible to create. Teak wood is the preferred wood of carvers because it is easy to carve and is relatively resistant to the elements and insects. Monkey-pod wood comes in second to teak for carving. Although not as hard a wood as teak it carves well. Monkey-pod trees grow fast and quite large. The hill country around the city of Chiangmai in northern Thailand was once the Kingdom of Lanna. It was rich in teak, one of the world’s great durable timbers: once used for ocean-going sailing ships, teak can also be carved into details the thickness of a leaf.

With this legacy, the region evolved into a woodworking culture and became the workbench of the nation. The tools Lanna carvers use are pre-industrial: black- smith-made from reclaimed railway line or car springs. The handles are crude sticks from a local shrub selected because it doesn’t split. The gouges are not made in precise dimensions and are, curiously, beveled on both faces.

In this section, we focus on Creatures being the favorite subject of the carvers.

In the practice of Tolerance, one's enemy is the best teacher....Dalai Lama

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