The folk wisdom of sala, a master Lanna craftsman, is mostly the art of storytelling that portrays the Lanna way of life through delicate arts and crafts. Those salas in a woodcarving group of Tham Pha Tong village, Tha Sut district, Chiang Rai, are still working on their masterpieces and making their hammering resound throughout the world.
Kamchan Yano is a sala who depicts the stories of the local Lanna culture and sustainable way of life from his lifelong experience in the old days, by turning a worthless and lifeless piece of wood into automaton woodcraft. An electrical mechanism is applied to his traditional carving technique to make those little pieces of wood come alive. This style of making has raised the value of wooden arts and become a notable identity of the woodcarving group in Northern Thailand that is well-known among art lovers around the world as the true living spirit of Thai craftsmanship. From the past to the present, these woodcarving arts have been reflecting a determination of Sala Kamchan to preserve the idyllic life in the Lanna culture and pass it onto the young generation by keeping it alive in people’s hearts forever.
This ‘Old Man and His Crafts’ short documentary is part of TAT Newsroom’s seven-part travel documentary series, titled ‘Insight Thainess’, to promote Thai values through the country’s unique way of life. To view the previous episodes, please log on to: TAT Newsroom’s Thai Travel VDOs.