‘Local Wisdom of Traditional Lanna Architecture Exhibition’ now open to visitors

17 February 2022

The Center for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, Chiang Mai University,

Local Wisdom of Traditional Lanna Architecture Exhibition, now showing at CMU Lanna House Museum (CMULHM), officially opened on January 28, 2022. The opening ceremony was chaired by Michael Heath, the Charge? d’ Affaires a.i. of the U.S. Mission in Thailand, and also in attendance were the CMU President’s representative Assoc. Prof. Rome Chiranukrom, the CMU Vice President, and the US Consul-General for Chiang Mai, Sean K O'Neill, as well as CMU administrators, the director of CMU Centre for the Promotion of Arts and Culture, distinguished guests and press.

Assist. Prof. Vilawan Svetsreni, the director of CMULHM and the project, has explained that the exhibition is one of the centre’s projects on ‘CMU Conservation of Traditional Lanna Architecture in Chiang Mai’ funded by the Ambassadors Fund for Cultural Preservation (AFCP) by the US Embassy Thailand amounting to 150,000 USD. It is a product from two years of implementation through a presentation of information, stories, and the body of knowledge on the artisans’ lifestyle and wisdom in Lanna house conservation. This database of knowledge has been published and shown to visitors on the first floor of Pan-Ya House (Heaun Anusarn Sunthorn) located in the museum.
The exhibition is divided into three zones – Zone 1: Lanna Houses and Way of Life, Zone 2: Local Wisdom and the Building of Lanna Houses, and Zone 3: Understanding Woods – The Usages of Woods.

Zone 1: Lanna Houses and Way of Life demonstrates the way of life of Lanna people who mostly lived in their houses. Their living space had an elevated floor and was divided by partitions that separated bedrooms from the living room as well as other spaces. On the elevated floor, there was a bedroom, a multipurpose space in front of the bedrooms, a kitchen, and a terrace. The space below the elevated floor is for storage and animal keeping. Lanna people would keep pigs, ducks and chickens for food and plant vegetables around the house, and find foods such as fish, mushrooms and wild animals from natural sources.

Zone 2: Local Wisdom and the Building of Lanna Houses exhibits artisanal equipment which was key to their craftwork. In the past, the equipment mainly required manual labour and the artisans had to spend a lot of time and effort in their job. The equipment is divided into five categories by usage – 1. planing, 2. cutting, 3. punching, 4. clamping and 5. measuring.

Zone 3: Understanding Woods - The Usages of Woods shows the types of woods that were popular for building houses among Lanna people, including teak, Burmese Padauk, Xylia, Siamese Sal and Burmese Sal. Here visitors will also learn how to distinguish different types of woods by their smells.

Interested visitors can contact the information desk at CMULHM, the Centre for the Promotion of Arts and Culture. The number is: (+66) 53-943-625-6 or visit the Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CMULHM.

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