Friday, February 29, 2008

Oub Kham Museum

Relics of the ancient world
Oub Kham Museum
Chaing Rai, Thailand
พิพิัธภัณฑ์อูบคำ ศูนย์อนุรักษ์มรดกล้านนา

See the real Lanna throne from
King Naresuan movie at this museum.

The masterpiece of this museum is the golden throne. It is known to be the only complete and intact set of the throne left in the Southeast Asia from the former Lanna kingdom. The perfect replica of this throne could be seen in King Naresuan movie.
This small exquisite museum is too much of a well-kept secret. The museum is a private collection of Lanna art from the last 300 years up to the recent past, when the provinces of north Thailand, northwest Laos, parts of northeast Burma, and Yunnan China were ruled by local royal courts independent from the increasing encroachment of Siam.
The collection includes objects from the areas once belonging to or affiliated with the Lanna kingdoms encompassing northern Thailand and some parts of northeast Myanmar, southwest China and Vietnam. Apart from objects used in rituals the collection mainly consists of objects used at the royal courts including lacquer ware, silver jewelry and clothing.
Most notable is a golden bowl, a masterpiece, used by royals.
Khun Julasak Suroyachai อาจารย์จุลศักดิ์ สุริยะไชย, a teacher and art lover, realized that soon the heritage of northern Thailand would only be able to be seen abroad – so he started to collect antiques and relics affiliated with the Lanna Kingdoms, objects from northwest Laos, Burma, China and the area around Dien Bien Phu in Vietnam. First he founded the “Lanna Heritage Conservation Center” which late became the present museum.

เนื่องจากประมาณ 20 กว่าปีที่ผ่านมา อาจารย์จุลศักดิ์ สุริยะไชย ผู้ก่อตั้งพิพิธภัณฑ์อูบคำได้พบเห็นชาวต่างชาติเข้ามาที่อำเภอแม่สาย จังหวัดดเชียงราย ได้มาเสาะแสวงหาและกว้านซื้อของเก่า อาทิเช่นผ้าเก่า เครื่องเขิน ไปเป็นจำนวนมาก อาจารย์จึงได้คิดขึ้นมาว่าถ้าไม่มีใครเก็บสะสมของพวกนี้ไว้ คงจะต้องตกไปเป็นสมบัติของชาวต่างชาติจนหมดสิ้น และอีกไม่นานสมบัติเหล่านี้คงจะหมดไปจากประเทศไทย อนุชนรุ่นหลังของเราจะศึกษาค้นคว้าถึงอดีตบรรพบุรุษ คงต้องตามไปศึกษาศิลปวัฒนธรรมของเราเองจากต่างประเทศ ดังนั้น อาจารย์จึงได้เริ่มสะสมข้าวของเครื่องใช้ของชาวล้านนา อาจารย์ฯได้ทุ่มเททั้งเวลา ทั้งแรงกายและแรงใจและทุนทรัพย์ เสาะแสวงหาข้าวของเครื่องใช้ไม้สอยของเจ้าฟ้า เจ้านาง เครื่องเขิน เครื่องเงิน ของใช้ในราชสำนักล้านนา อันทรงคุณค่าและประเมินมิได้ แล้วได้เปิดเป็นพิพิธภัณฑ์อูบคำไว้ให้เป็นสมบัติของชาติเพื่อให้ อนุชนรุ่นหลังได้ศึกษาค้นคว้าถึงความเป็นมาของบรรพบุรุษของรานั้นมีศิลปะวัฒนธรรมภูมิปัญญาว่ายิ่งใหญ่และน่าภาคภูมิใจมิได้ด้อยกว่าชนชาติใดในโลก

Front entrance of the museum
The museum features the Lanna kings' regalia and royal costumes during the 15th century. Considered the finest museum in Asia, Oub Kham Museum has an assortment of rare and beautiful antique pieces well-preserved through time. The colonial powers collected an enormous amount of these artifacts from the different territories they occupied. Most of these collections became the foundation of the ethnographic museums in the western world.
Watch this fun video presentation.
It gives you a sense of virtual tour
when entering the museum.
Click Play arrow to watch.

Set withing its own enchanting garden of plants, sculpture, woodcarving, bubbling fountains, with a small outdoor cafe, the museum itself consists of a number of small reconstructed Lanna houses.
Outdoor cafe where we were treated with special herb tea.
The framed picture showed the royal visit from
Princess Som Saowalee.
I feel lucky to meet with Khun Julasak in person
and got a private tour from him.
Khun Julasak was so kind to give me a special treatment to visit the constructing portion of the museum. Click Play arrow to watch this short video clip. Listen to his vision how he wants to create this man-made cave as a hidden treasure museum.

Another short video clip. Click Play arrow to watch.
Khun Julasak proudly talked about his new piece of collection.

And this is the highlight of this place.
The magnificent gold-gilded teak throne from Chiang Tung
(present day Keng Tung is in Burma)
There is a display of the original golden throne of Keng Tung. Which is more than 250 year old. It could be side that this is a perfect and beautiful throne. This throne is made from 9 pieces of carved teakwood that has been lacquered,and covered with gold leaves. The left post is carved with an image of a peacock standing in the middle of a flower, a common symbol of the day. The right post is carved with an image of a rabbit representing the night. The significance of the images is that the King had the responsibility of taking care of, protecting and governing the population throughout the day and night. They believed that the King was an immortal Brahma, so the throne was decorated with images of the seven gods with the intention that they would keep the immortal Hrahma King safe from danger and wickedness. In front of the throne there is much royal regalia and on the left and right, there are the crafted wooden carvings of gods and goddesses holding flowers for protection of the King.The masterpiece collection is "Oub Kham", giant elaborately carved and gilded royal food bowls.
Made from carved bamboo that is lacquered and covered with gold leaves, an "Oub Kham" is a platter that was used for conducting the royal dinner trays of the King and the elder Buddhist priests.
อูบคำ ทำจากไม้ไผ่นำมาสานขัดกันจากนั้นจึงลงรักปิดทอง อูบมีหลายขนาด
The museum also contains exquisite Buddha statues from
Chiang Saen as well as other outstanding examples of centuries-old temple art.
เป็นสถานที่แสดงเครื่องประดับตกแต่งของเจ้านาง-เจ้าฟ้าของล้านนา ประดิษฐานพระพุทธรูปสมัยเชียงแสน พระธาตุจำลองบรรจุพระสารีริกธาตุ ฉลุลาย ซึ่งทำจากเงิน บาตรน้ำมนต์ดุนลายด้วยมือ
Considered the finest museum in Asia, Oub Kham Museum has an assortment of rare and beautiful antique pieces well-preserved through time. The colonial powers collected an enormous amount of these artifacts from the different territories they occupied. Most of these collections became the foundation of the ethnographic museums in the western world.
More art pieces were added to create a comprehensive collection, creating more awareness about the Lanna's past. In 1976, the Royal Tropical Institute of Amsterdam sent an expedition to the northern part of Thailand. They collected relics belonging to the Lanna culture and those of the people who lived in the mountains. These artifacts recorded the way people lived during that era. Lanna kings' regalia and royal costumes
during the 15th century
Various pieces of wonderful northern Tai tribe art work
Wrapping material woven of gold silk thread
worn by princess of different regions.
If you love history and art, don't miss this museum. There are now 45-minute direct flights from Chiang Mai to Chiang Rai at affordable price. By car, it takes about 3-hour drive on highway 118. The museum is open daily from 10am to 9pm. $7 or B.200 admission for foreigners.

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Note: Camera is not allowed inside the Museum.
Pictures of interior exhibits are provided by the museum.


Anonymous said...

Very beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I will be in Thailand this summer. I might visit this museum.

Thanks Amie


Anonymous said...

Dear Nong Euang,

I really love your web page and the article your have written.
You are such a amazing - talent girl!
P Tik

Anonymous said...

Thanks, I think it's so beautiful.