Insight Thainess – Episode 4 – Gold from the Ancients
The remains of an ancient city tell a story of its glorious past. The architectural legacy of the once prosperous kingdom of Sukhothai is a testimony of the predominant temples that existed in this former capital of Siam. After nearly a millennium, the glory of this ancient city is still evident, arousing visitors’ imagination and desire to search for its timeless heritage. The small community of Si Satchanalai is where exquisite handicraft articles are produced. It began with a Chinese goldsmith named Chuea Wongyai, who bestowed his craftsmanship on local artisans, enabling them to inherit and continue the master goldsmith’s expertise in Siam.
The secret of the beauty of ancient gold ornaments has been passed on to the present generation. Some patterns have been modified and more techniques have been created to interlace gold filaments with gold beads of varying designs. Such secret is the hallmark of Ban Thong Som Samai, whose gold articles are characterised by unrivalled craftsmanship. Ban Thong Som Samai’s goldsmiths have played a major role in re-introducing Sukhothai’s gold ornament tradition. Their carved golden articles are modelled after the architecture of the ancient structures of the Si Satchanalai Historical Park. Today, Sukhothai gold not only manifests superior beauty, but also tells a vivid story of the once glorious kingdom.