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Ban Roi An Phan Yang Wood Carving Museum in Chiang Mai

Michael Babcock, December 15th, 2012

Ban Roi An Phan Yang Museum is a museum devoted to wood carvings. Located in a Lanna-style house on the outskirts of Chiang Mai, it contains astounding examples of what can be done by a master wood carver. It is well worth a visit.

Note: I am going to let the carvings speak for themselves through photographs taken by myself and Kasma in a slideshow at the bottom of the page. I have made the images 450 x 600 pixels: I apologize to those of you with slow connections but I want the photos to be large enough to do justice to the carvings.

Carved Dragon

Craved dragon

This museum is the labor of love of a Thai man, Charoui Na Soonton, who has collected more than 1,000 wood carvings. The “museum” is actually his house, a warren-like maze of rooms filled with carvings in all styles, from giant elephants to intricate bas-relief carvings displaying an episode from the Ramakien (the Thai version of the Ramayana). There are Buddha statues, columns with traditional deities elephants, goddesses, demons and more. Some of the pieces on the wall are up to 20 feet long and may be up to 6 feet high.

(Click images to see larger version.)



The museum (house) is spread out between three or four floors; one of the staircases consists of old, wooden wagon wheels. The carvings extend out onto balconies and then into a garden at the back of the house. Expect to spend at least an hour wandering through the labyrinth.

Charoui is a devout Buddhist and there are many altars spread throughout the complex.

In addition to collecting carvings, Charoui also commissions them from several carvers who are allowed to carve without specific deadlines. He has scoured the countryside for old wood for use in the carving.

It began as a personal collection. It has become a museum because Charoui had exhausted his savings and has opened the museum so that he can get financial support for keeping this priceless collection alive.

There is also a store where you can buy beautiful carvings.

One thing that the photos can not show, is the incredible delicacy, layering and intricacy of some of the carvings.

Getting There

Here is the address of the museum:

Creative Handicrafts – Ban Roi An Phan Yang
255/4 Chiangmai – Sanpatong Rd., (Between K.M. 19-20)
Moo 4, Tambon Harn Kaew
Hang Dong District, Chiangmai 50230

Tel. (053) 441-214, 822-649, 822-664, (01) 951-2542
Fax. (053) 441-214

Essentially, it is located on Chiang Mai-Sanpatong Road between kilometers 19 and 20.

It is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. daily. There is a requested donation.

Also see How to Get There (offsite, opens in new window).

Wood Carving Museum Slideshow

Click on “Play” below to begin a slideshow.

Clicking on a slide will take you to the next image.

Bas Relief
Quan Yin
Winged Horse
Buddha Statue
Wood Carving
Buddha Carving
Wall Carving
Chariot Rider
Carving Detail
Bas Relief Dragon
Elephant Carving

Part of a dragon carving

Detail of an elaborate free-standing carving

Carving of a Kinaree, part human, part bird

Detail of a carving showing two figures

A carving with elephants in a forest

Carving of the Chinese Goddess Quan Yin

Carving of the Buddha

Two elephant heads on the wall

A very large free-standing rhinoceros carving

Free-standing carving of a winged horse

Buddha statue in an upper room

Carving of a demon

Smaller carving of a rider on a demonic horse

This bas-relief with a Buddha is found in the garden

This demonic looking animal is part of a larger work

This scene from the Ramakien covers most of a wall

Another scene from the Ramakien with a chariot rider

Close up of one of the demons from the Ramakien

Bas Relief Dragon

Detail of an elephant on a larger carving

Dragon thumbnail
Bas Relief thumbnail
Kinaree thumbnail
Detail thumbnail
Carving thumbnail
Quan Yin thumbnail
Buddha thumbnail
Elephants thumbnail
Rhinoceros thumbnail
Winged Horse thumbnail
Buddha Statue thumbnail
Demon thumbnail
Wood Carving thumbnail
Buddha Carving thumbnail
Demon thumbnail
Wall Carving thumbnail
Chariot Rider thumbnail
Carving Detail thumbnail
Bas Relief Dragon thumbnail
Elephant Carving thumbnail

Written by Michael Babcock, December 2013

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