Thailand is a country full of beautiful landscapes, exciting cultural sights, and unique handicrafts made from local products. For those who love the exotic, nothing can be better than seeing intricately crafted products such as the sterling silver jewelry created by Hill Tribe or the silk textiles or woven rush mats.
Thailand has a culture that relates the arts and religion, therefore you will find many aspects of Buddha in paintings or illustration. This type of art is very popular with the locals and is flourishing in the larger cities of Thailand. The textile industry is very much alive in the country. North Thailand is the textile area and there you can see cotton, silks and other fabrics come to life, from the original land crop, to its processing, dying, designing and final creations. It is an industry that is extremely important as it is 50% off all handcrafts created in Thailand. The fabrics are all handmade and luxurious, however, owing to Chinese manufacturing and marketing, the Thai textile industry is not in the forefront. China currently is meeting 70% of the world’s demand for silk.
The Hill Tribe create fantastic and original designs of silver including charms, earrings, silver rings, and necklaces. The Karen Hill Tribe are a group known for the brass rings worn around their necks. These rings are added to each year so that it elongates the neck. Another strange feature is the silver earrings worn by some of the women. As young girls, they wear small earrings; successive years will see an increase in the size of the earring and the lobe of the ear.
Other types of crafts created by Thailand artisans include paper products made into flowers, intricate baskets and items woven of rush, reed, or bamboo. Lacquering and gilt painting is also big in the country, as well as sculpting with clay, plaster, stone and even fruit. Many cruise ships and high end hotel restaurants have an artist to sculpt fruit for their buffet decoration.
The Thai government has started a program for assistance in the marketing of products created by Thai artisans and using local products. Items are placed under one brand name that represents the best of Thai art and market worldwide as original exports. This initiative was created to help preserve the ancient skills and techniques of cultural arts and crafts.