Baan Tawai

Way too long since I’ve posted. A lot has been happening, but it’s mostly stuff about getting settled in the new house:  piano (first order of business!), bedding, internet service. I soon found that while motorbike is the best way to travel short distances, it doesn’t suit me for longer trips, and shopping for anything that isn’t at the 7-11 is a longer trip–and requires cargo capacity, too. So I bought a car. (Pictured below, along with Esso). Lots of business with that, with Immigration paperwork, with getting a bank account, and so on. Not the stuff that blogs like.


But today generated so many amazing photo ops that I’m inspired to post some. I got to talking with a fellow exile from America, from Portland. Ron was a professional landscaper, and offered to help us pick plants for our garden (that will be another post). And the conversation turned to art, and he told me about this village about 30 minutes from town that is all about arts and crafts, with many decorative things we could use for the house. So I had to go.

The quest of the day is wood carvings. A goddess for the garden, maybe. Like this?IMG_4893

She’s the right size, about 5 feet high. The wood is unfinished, which should be comforting for the plants. But 38,000฿ seems like too much (about 32 baht to the dollar). Especially when the shop next door has this amazing Sarasvati for that same price:


But then I soon forgot about the garden, when I saw what they had on the wall!


The Bodhi tree (above), or as Esso and I both grokked it, the Tree of Life, covers a whole wall. 180 cm across. I love the roundness, the solidity of the roots, the gracefulness of the curves. I crave it. And it’s affordable, at 15,000 baht. But when I come home and measure my wall, I realize our room, grand though it is for a humble residence, is too small to do it justice. (If you have a BIG house and like this design, let me know, I can buy it for you. But the shipping will cost… hmm… )

The Dharma Wheel, a Vajrayana staple, is a great design, too. This one is so modestly priced I had to snatch it up for 3500฿. It will fill my living room wall quite nicely.

Another shop specialized in carvings from the root balls dug up after a nearby forest was logged. These are amazing…


Here, three angels, or fairies, are playing music in the forest. Forming the proscenium for their stage, though, is the actual root of a tree–they are playing in the world of life that happens under the forest floor. How much do I love this? (Well, maybe not 100,000฿ worth, but a lot!)

But the magnum opus of our brief visit (we only had a couple of hours, so we only see a fraction of the shops here), is this magnicent wall-sized carving. The thousand-armed Bodhisattva, Avalokiteshvara, is maintaining a healing circle of healing and compassion, keeping the world of dragons at bay. If you look closely enough, you can see that a huge amount of detailed work went into this: thousands of scales cover the dragons, and so on. What a great concept! What a great design! What fine execution! And priced to match. Yours for a mere 800,000 baht.


I’ll come back next week to look for more bargains. And I will tell you more about our life in Chiang Mai, soon.

2 thoughts on “Baan Tawai

  1. Thank you for posting all of this. Absolutely stunning. Esp that last piece, of course. Such workmanship! I’m truly awed at the effort and talent of something with so much detail and ‘touch’. Keep ’em coming!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s