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Doll Museum: Chiang Mai

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50,000 dolls from around the world: clowns, wizards, frightening warriors, from hilltribes to Thai Khon dance & Asean neighbours in traditional dress. 

Youthana Boonprakong with the winged doll inspired by Manorah, the heroine of the Phra Suthon-Manorah legend.

Click button to listen to Chiang Mai Doll Museum download

Arts

Welcome to the Doll House

Chiang Mai museum holds creations worth collecting
28 Feb 2013
Peerawat Jariyasombat

Youthana Boonprakong's dolls are much in demand because of their uncannily realistic features, the high level of craftsmanship and the meticulous attention he gives to detail.

In a quiet corner of San Pa Tong district in Chiang Mai, a man has devoted his life to dolls

Under a wooden house on stilts, Youthana Boonprakong is busy with his large collection. It's not just an ordinary hoard of toys, because his collection is made up of over 50,000 dolls of various nationalities from around the globe. They range from beautiful musician dolls from China to frightening warrior figures from New Zealand and wizards and clowns in vivid attire. There are also dolls from Taiwan, Bolivia, Australia, France, Switzerland, Hungary, Brazil and many other places

Youthana runs Chiang Mai Dolls Making Museum, a fitting job for a man who's spent six decades around the creations and the art of doll making.

I clean each doll myself. The maid does not know the best way to clean them and will damage them. Moreover, I can notice if any doll doesn't remain in its usual place.

Some are lovely porcelain dolls with very delicate costumes, others are cloth dolls in sweet colours, and many of them show excellent craftsmanship. Some look like real kids, while some have theatrical features. Some dolls are cute toys for children, while others show finesse and delicacy worthy of being kept in a collection

"I also love to play with boys' toys, such as cars or robots. But I love these dolls too," Youthana said.

Youthana learned the art of doll making from his mother when he was a child. His mother's doll shop was in Vientiane, Laos. When the revolution and subsequent war broke out in Laos, his family decided to move across the Mekong to Udon Thani in the northeast of Thailand.

My aunt decided to go to Bangkok. So I went to the capital with only 700 baht. We set up a factory, working hard to supply dolls to souvenir shops, luxurious department stores and outlets in hotels.

When Youthana met his now wife, a native of Chiang Mai, they moved the factory to San Pa Tong for the low operating costs. Today, with a staff of 20, his factory produces thousands of dolls per month, supplying the lovely toys to the domestic market, as well as overseas.

"The dolls we produce can be made from cloth, ceramics and porcelain," he said. "Porcelain has skin tone quite similar to humans, thus it is the best, most difficult and expensive to produce."

"Now we produce dolls for export to France and Germany. We also make dolls by order under famous brands." Youthana collects dolls from the many places he visits on his trips to meet his clients. Besides learning about doll-making techniques in each place, he has learned how the dolls mirror each culture with their costumes. 

He reproduces some of the distinctive dolls as showcases; for example, a set of hilltribe dolls which show the traditional dress of hilltribes in Thailand.

To make good dolls we have to study the dress. I spent quite a long time living in the mountains with the hilltribe people and learning all about their traditional wardrobe. These patterns on the dolls' clothes are made by the hill people themselves.

Another set he is proud of is the Ramayana set. The dolls are dressed in the style of khon, the Thai mask dance. It took him a few months to finish each of them.

Presently the dolls of Asean countries sell like hot cakes, partly because of the growing enthusiasm for regional co-operation and because of the many Asean studies centres that have been established in various education institutes. These are his new clients.

I travel to the places and get first-hand information about traditional clothing in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos. It is quite difficult to define the traditional attire. I watch how important people are dressed in significant ceremonies. Ordinary people dress differently. If both groups dress the same, then I can be sure it's the traditional dress.

Chiang Mai Dolls Making Museum is in San Pa Tong district of Chiang Mai
Call 053-837-229

(Source: Bangkok Post, Arts, Welcome to the Doll House, Chiang Mai museum holds creations worth collecting, 28 Feb 2013, Peerawat Jariyasombat, link

 
Doll Vocabulary

Chiang Mai Dolls Making Museum - (See Photos)

doll -  ตุ๊กตา (See Wikipedia & List of types of dolls)
doll house - a toy home for dolls to live in  บ้านตุ๊กตา (See Wikipedia)

doll making - การทำตุ๊กตา
the art of doll making

collecting - when a person searches for and keeps some kind of special thing as a hobby (such as antique collecting สะสมของเก่า, coin collecting สะสมเหรียญ, stamp collecting สะสมสแตมป์) การสะสม,  การรวบรวมสิ่งใดสิ่งหนึ่งให้เพิ่มจำนวนหรือปริมาณขึ้น (See Wikipedia)

doll collecting - การสะสมตุ๊กตา (See About.com & Pinterest)

worth - there is a good enough reason to do something with this thing (because it is useful, enjoyable, important, etc) สมควร
worth collecting
creations worth collecting

worthy -
สมควร
worthy of being kept in a collection

museum - a building where objects of historical, scientific or artistic interest are kept พิพิธภัณฑ์
doll museums - (See Wikipedia List & also see Bangkok Doll Museum)

Chiang Mai museum holds creations worth collecting

In a quiet corner of - meaning: some quiet place without a lot of people
In a quiet corner of Chiang Mai

devoted his life to - used all the time in his life to do one thing
a man has devoted his life to dolls

stilts - high pieces of wood raising a house off the ground and above the water, column or post supporting a structure เสา, ตะเกียบ; ชื่อเสาคู่ที่ฝังลงดินสำหรับขนาบเสากลางซึ่งอยู่เหนือพื้นดินอย่างเสาพุ่ม เสาหงส์

a wooden house on stilts

Under a wooden house on stilts, Youthana Boonprakong is busy with his large collection.

hoard - a large amount of something that someone has saved and hidden สิ่งที่เก็บสะสม (See Wikipedia)
hoard of toys - a large collection of toys

an ordinary hoard of toys - a large collection of toys (the same as most children have)

it's just a ....
- it is nothing special, it is a .... 
just an ordinary hoard of toys

it's not just a ....
- it is something special (not like other more common things)
not just an ordinary hoard of toys -

It's not just an ordinary hoard of toys, because his collection is made up of over 50,000 dolls of various nationalities from around the globe.

range - a number of different things that are of the same general type ขอบข่าย, ประเภท

warrior - a soldier or fighter (usually of the past) 
figure -
figurine, a small model of a person (displayed, kept as decoration)
warrior figures - dolls made to look like soldiers of the past

wizard -  a man in stories with magical powers, a male witch, sorcerer  พ่อมด, ผู้มีเวทมนตร์มายา
clown -
a person who wears funny clothes and makeup on his face to make people laugh (usually found in circuses and children's birthday parties) ตัวตลก

vivid - having or producing very clear and detailed images in the mind ชัดเจน
attire - clothes
vivid attire - clothing that creates a very clear image in the mind

wizards and clowns in vivid attire

They range from beautiful musician dolls from China to frightening warrior figures from New Zealand and wizards and clowns in vivid attire.

fitting
- suitable for a particular situation; appropriate อย่างสมพระเกียรติ
a fitting job - the right job for a person

spent - used ที่ใช้ไป
decades - periods of ten years เป็นสิบๆปี
spent six decades - did some activity for 60 years

Youthana runs Chiang Mai Dolls Making Museum, a fitting job for a man who's spent six decades around the creations and the art of doll making.

notice - information or warning หมายเตือ
notice if a doll isn't in its usual place

I clean each doll myself. The maid does not know the best way to clean them and will damage them. Moreover, I can notice if any doll doesn't remain in its usual place.

porcelain - a hard, white and shiny substance used to make dishes, cups and decorations
porcelain doll - (See Wikipedia)
lovely porcelain dolls

costume -
special clothes worn on special occasions such as for halloween, or at a special party or in a film, play or other performance (See Wikipedia)
traditional costumes -
the clothes that were worn in a country or by some ethnic group in the past and now on special occasions

delicate -
made of parts and materials that are easily broken and damaged (weak, gentle, sensitive)
delicate costumes

some are lovely porcelain dolls with very delicate costumes, others are cloth dolls in sweet colours, and

craftsmanship - skill at making things ฝีมือ
excellent craftsmanship
many of them show excellent craftsmanship.

theatrical - exciting, dramatic น่าทึ่งใจ,ตื่นเต้นเร้าใจ
features - ลักษณะหน้าตา
theatrical features

Some dolls look like real kids, while some have theatrical features.

finesse - great skill or style กลเม็ด
delicacy - looking like it is easily broken; being delicate in appearance, colour, taste or smell;  tenderness ความละเอียดอ่อน, ความนุ่มนวล, ความแบบบาง

Some dolls are cute toys for children, while others show finesse and delicacy worthy of being kept in a collection

robots - machines that look the same as and act like a person  หุ่นยนต์
I also love to play with boys' toys, such as cars or robots. But I love these dolls too.

Vientiane, Laos - the capital of Laos (See Wikipedia & pronunciation)

Youthana learned the art of doll making from his mother when he was a child. His mother's doll shop was in Vientiane, Laos.

revolution - violent overthrow of the existing political and social order; a situation when people completely change their political system or government, usually by force การปฏิรูป

subsequent - happening afterwards
war broke out - war started

When the revolution and subsequent war broke out in Laos, his family decided to move across the Mekong to Udon Thani in the northeast of Thailand.

capital - money invested in a business

luxurious
- very expensive, high quality and comfortable ฟุ่มเฟือย, โอ่อ่า
luxurious department stores

outlets - stores selling a product, retail outlets ร้านค้า
outlets in hotels - stores in hotels (all owned by one company so "branches" or "outlets" of the company)

My aunt decided to go to Bangkok. So I went to the capital with only 700 baht. We set up a factory, working hard to supply dolls to souvenir shops, luxurious department stores and outlets in hotels.

native - someone who was born in a particular place ชาวพื้นเมือง
When Youthana met his now wife, a native of Chiang Mai

operating costs
- the money that has to paid to keep a business going (expenses)
low operating costs
they moved the factory to Chiang Mai for the low operating costs.

staff - employees of a company, people who work for a company พนักงาน
with a staff of 20, his factory produces thousands of dolls per month

domestic - within the country ภายในประเทศ
supplying the lovely toys to the domestic market, as well as overseas.

ceramics - cups, plates, dishes, sculptures and other objects and ornaments made out of clay

The dolls we produce can be made from cloth, ceramics and porcelain

Porcelain has skin tone quite similar to humans, thus it is the best, most difficult and expensive to produce

brands - products with well-established names that people remember, that create a certain image and expectations about the product
make by order under famous brands 

We also make dolls by order under famous brands

Original Equipment Manufacturer
(OEM) - a company that buys equipment such as computers from a manufacturer in large quantities and then sells them under their own name. They may change the equipment first to make it suitable for a particular purpose or put different parts together to make a complete item (See Wikipedia)

clients - (formal) customer ลูกค้า
techniques - methods of doing a task or activity เทคนิค

Youthana collects dolls from the many places he visits on his trips to meet his clients.
Besides learning about doll-making techniques in each place, he has learned how the dolls mirror each culture with its costume

distinctive - something that is distinctive is easy to recognize because it is different from other things พิเศษ, มีลักษณะเฉพาะ
distinctive dolls

traditional - things (clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time  เป็นประเพณี, แบบดั้งเดิม
traditional dress

attire
- clothes
traditional attire
- traditional clothes
It is quite difficult to define the traditional attire

hilltribe - different "ethnic groups" of tribal people living in the mountains such as Akha, Lahu, Lisu, Karen ชาวเขา
hilltribe dolls

reproduce - to create or produce another one from an "original"
showcase -
to show people something special
reproduces as showcases

He reproduces some of the distinctive dolls as showcases; for example, a set of hilltribe dolls which show the traditional dress of hilltribes in Thailand.

wardrobe - the clothes that a person wears
traditional wardrobe 
traditional wardrobe of the hilltribe people - the clothes that hilltribe people wear

To make good dolls we have to study the dress. I spent quite a long time living in the mountains with the hilltribe people and learning all about their traditional wardrobe. These patterns on the dolls' clothes are made by the hill people themselves.

Khon - the Thai masked dance drama of the past โขน (See Wikipedia)

Another set he is proud of is the Ramayana set. The dolls are dressed in the style of khon, the Thai mask dance. It took him a few months to finish each of them.

presently - now
sell like hot cakes - they sell a lot; many people buy them 
Presently the dolls of Asean countries sell like hot cakes

enthusiasm - very happy and interested in being involved in an activity
growing enthusiasm

region
- an area of the world (Southeast Asia, Asean) or inside a country (Isan) ภูมิภาค
regional - เกี่ยวกับภูมิภาค

co-operation -
working together to achieve goals
regional co-operation

the growing enthusiasm for regional co-operation

established
- created
education institutes - schools

many Asean studies centres have been established in various education institutes

Presently the dolls of Asean countries sell like hot cakes, partly because of the growing enthusiasm for regional co-operation and because of the many Asean studies centres that have been established in various education institutes. These are his new clients.

first-hand information - information that you get yourself (not from other people who tell you about it)
I travel to the places and get first-hand information about traditional clothing in Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Cambodia and Laos.

significant - important สำคัญ
significant ceremonies

I watch how important people are dressed in significant ceremonies.

Ordinary people dress differently. If both groups dress the same, then I can be sure it's the traditional dress.

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