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Mother-of-pearl inlaid work is part
of Thai decorative-technique heritage that is still carried on nowadays.
Thai artisans in the ancient time applied this technique in decorating
different kinds of objects used by Buddhist monks and members of the
royal family. Master pieces of mother-of-pearl inlaid work are now
visible in the Grand Palace and most of the royal monasteries.
Thai artisans are very skilful in cutting
mother-of-pearl’s shells in tiny pieces and different shapes.
Piece after piece, they put those tiny pieces of shells together on
the lacquered surface of any object to form a magnificent patterns.
The patterns may depict scenes from Buddhist legends, Thai classical
literature, or any floral patterns. It is said in Thai that this type
of decorative art is so beautiful as if it was the work of angels.
Not only Thai people, but also foreigners, who appreciate Thai mother-of-pearl
inlaid work. Visitors from abroad who had seen the works in Thailand
brought their impression back to their home countries. This impression
makes Thai mother-of-pearl inlaid work well known to the world.
As a humble painter who have been creating
works in neo-traditional Thai style, I-Thanee Chincusak- never expected
that I would be part of a group to create a special piece of wonderful
mother-of-pearl inlaid work.
On Wednesday 25th June 2003, I received
an e-mail from Dr. Seilert, a German gentleman who is now working
in Krabi in Southern Thailand as a Field Manager to the Coastal Habitats
and Resources Management Project (CHARM). This project is a co-operation
between the Royal Thai Government and the European Union. Dr. Seilert
said that he had been fascinated by all type traditional Thai art.
He also appreciated my works shown on my web page www.jitdrathanee.com,
so that he wanted to come visit my studio in Bangkok. He said further
that he wanted to have a mother-pearl-inlaid cabinet in his collection
of traditional Thai artifacts. He wished I would help form a group
of craftsmen to make him one cabinet.
When I first received his request, I
had to turn it down. I have neither skill nor experience in creating
any piece of mother-of-pearl inlaid work. More than that, I at that
time knew nobody who is talented in this type of work. Luckily, one
of my friends later introduced me to a skilful artisan of mother-of-pearl
inlaid work. This artisan is now teaching at Widhayalai Naiwang Chaai
or the Palace Art College for Male Students under the Bureau of the
Royal Household. Having talked to him about Dr. Seilert’s will,
a project of making a traditional Thai cabinet with mother-of-pearl
inlaid work got started. I am responsible for designing the cabinet’s
shape and drawing all decorative patterns.
Since Dr. Seilert is now staying in
Krabi, he cannot regularly come and see the progress of our project.
I offered to report the progress to him through my new web page. I
also intend to use this web page to introduce this special project
to public. The presentation of this web page can be divided into two
1. My inspiration
In this part I will talk about the origin of the project. The inspiration
which led me to start this special art project will be discussed.
2. Working process
This part will be divided into 12 chapters which are equal to 12 months,
the duration of the project. In each chapter, pictures of all working
steps will be shown with description.