T h e L o c a l PRIDE
Remarkably imprinted with local identity, traditional craftsmanship and artisanry are the key essences of Chiang Mai. Drum making, basketry, textile weaving, laquerware, kram-dyeing
- are arts that requires experience, precision and knowledge. Yet, they are gradually withering away. This month, Raya Heritage Hotel features an extraordinary exhibition telling us the stories behind each master of these traditional crafts, and showing us the meticulous work and creativity they have. ‘TRACING THE FADING LEGACY, stories of Living Legends’, is an exhibition which highlights the people behind Lanna crafts and how their life is closely link to these crafts. They are the guardians of a local wisdom - so precious to our community. With this exhibition, Raya Heritage honours and makes sure their work is truly valued and sought after.
As the natural environment that shapes a way of life is ever changing, a community’s identity and cultural heritage thus formed are gradually withering away. Traditional craftsmanship and artisanry that once underlied the soul of a community are alas threatened by inexorable changes in social conditions and cultural tastes that evolve with time.
‘TRACING THE FADING LEGACY, Stories of Living Legends’ an all-new exhibition at Raya Heritage, recounts the artisanry, life and cultural traditions of northern Thailand’s
ancient Lanna period. Through the traditional crafts, artifacts and motifs showcased throughout this hotel, together with the stories relayed, the exhibition pays tribute to the
craftsmen and women – the “living legends” – who may sadly be the last guardians of Lanna’s invaluable cultural heritage.
Through the journey chronicled in this exhibition, it is hoped that the age-old knowledge and skills associated with this traditional artisanry would remain in the public consciousness and continue to be passed on to future generations. And it is from these artists, the “masters”, the “teachers” and their passion for their crafts and their stories that the inspiration for this exhibition was drawn. It is with a debt of gratitude to them that Raya Heritage’s team is committed to ensuring their treasured past lives on and their crafts continue to be produced within their communities, providing livelihoods to their makers and reflecting their simple yet graceful approach to life and art.
This February, you can witness the beauty of traditional craftsmanship everyday at Raya Heritage. The free entrance exhibition features the work of the local people who have contributed to the interior decoration of the hotel. There is also an interesting fifteen minutes video show highlighting their stories. During the week ends, you can also meet with some of the guardians of this heritage, as the hotel invites them on Saturdays and Sundays for afternoons handicraft making shows.
This month, you will meet with Mae Somsri, a Karen Textiles Master from Mae Jaem. As with other Pga K’nyau women, Mae Somsri had learned to weave her own clothing since she was a young girl. What sets her apart is the relentless work she has put into preserving her community’s traditional wisdom and cultural heritage in a tangible manner, for instance: by setting up a village weavers cooperative, helping to create an alternative source of income for the local villagers.
- “To give someone a handwoven piece of clothing was a way of showing love and affection. As the breadwinner and leader of the family, men are responsible for fetching bamboos to build a house while Pga K’nyau women must learn to weave. In the old days, we did not have sweaters to keep us warm. To give someone a handwoven piece of clothing was a way of showing love and affection… I won’t live that long, soon I will be gone. But my work will continue to live for hundreds of years. The patterns I designed will also be passed on to the next generation. By giving and sharing our handwoven textiles and garments, it is a proof that we once lived and were able to share love and kindness with one another.”
The exhibition is a chronicle of stories told perhaps by the very few remaining guardians of an important part of Northern Thailand’s cultural heritage: a heritage that may fade into a mere legacy, one that our children and grandchildren may sadly not be able to ever witness.
Set in a secluded, verdant garden along Ping River, Raya Heritage Resort is a river sanctuary that is a mere 15 minutes away from Chiang Mai’s old city. Inspired by the spirit of Lanna life in former times, Raya Heritage offers a clean, contemporary take on traditional Thai design. Beautifully curated, one-of-a-kind furniture pieces, artifacts and accessories, created by hand by local craftspeople, are featured throughout.
Upon arrival, Raya Heritage immediately seduces guests with its large, open-air, white-contemporary style reception, overlooking the green garden and the river. This view sets the stage: luxurious, calm and relaxing. The exhibition ‘Tracing The Fading Legacy. Stories of Living Legends’ welcomes everyone and has free entrance. The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service from Tamarind Village Hotel, in the old city (50/1 Rajdamnoen Road, Chiang Mai).
After discovering the exhibition, and if you would like to enjoy a unique moment, you can taste delicious desserts at the hotel’s Laan Cha Tea Terrace overlooking Ping river.
At Khu Khao, Raya Heritage’s signature restaurant, guests may choose between the elegantly rustic indoor dining room or outdoor table settings on the terrace and garden setted on the banks of the Ping River. Chef Somyot, the resort’s Executive Chef, has created a unique crossroads concept - offering a menu of delicious, healthy and original recipes influenced from northern Thailand, Myanmar, Laos and Yunnan. Try their signature dish Khao Raem Fuen Sai Gai Yunnan (Yunnanese rice-curd salad with spicy grilled chicken bean sprouts). With this incredible exhibition and rustic-chic spirit all through the hotel, Raya Heritage offers us an afternoon of total pleasure - an unforgettable moment for everyone. ‘Tracing The Fading Legacy’ exhibition will be on display until March 31, 2019. Daily 10:00 - 19:00 hrs.
RAYA HERITAGE :
157 Moo6 T. Donkaew. Mae Rim. Chiang Mai