Don Kai Dee Benjarong Village (Thailand)
The “Benjarong” is a five-colored beautiful pottery which is a very famous and valuable handicrafs for Thai people. It is a cultural symbol of Rattanakosin Period. In Samut Sakhon Province, there is a interesting Benjarong Village which specialises in producing these porcelain.
The village consists of a group of five Benjarong shops in the area participating in the One Tambon One Product (OTOP) project which was started in 2001. The OTOP project is aimed at promoting the indigenous products in the various sub-districts in Thailand to boost the local economies and incomes of the communities.
Tourists who visit the village can actually see the demonstration process of drawing and colouring of benjarong. This is Khun Nid (50 years old). She has been doing this porcelain art for 30 years.
They will first mould the clay and put in a 1200 degree celsius oven to “bake”. Then, lacquer is applied to make the clay shiny before Khun Nid does the outlining.
Look at how intricate the drawings out. They look like it is printed out from a printer, isn’t it? After they are being outlined, the porcelain is left for an hour to dry.
While one does the outline, another worker does the colouring of the porcelain.
No hand shake at all!! These porcelains are then placed in the oven for another 6 hours. Usually, the workers can complete 3-4 porcelain painting in a day, depending on how complicated the design is. Their usual patterns are angels, buddha, floral paints, lily, motifs etc.
Tourist can also try painting the porcelain. After the porcelain is painted, the workers will place in the oven and deliver the final product to the tourist the following day. One set of tea cup (includes cup, cover and saucer) costs about 250 baht. Of course, you can try painting bowl or plates.
As we go up to the second floor, we can see the different sizes of porcelain created.
“Benjarong” is a five-colored beautiful pottery and these 5 colours include green, black, yellow, red and pink. Traditional benjarong only has 5 colours. But of course now, people prefer beauty over anything else, so many colours are now added. For instance, there is “tossajarong” where 10 colours are used.
The origin of these painted porcelains originated from China during the Ming dynasty (1368 – 1664). In the early days, Benjarong porcelain was made only for the royal court and the aristocracy.
Then, King Rama II from Thailand decided to bring in benjarong and hired a master to come to Thailand to teach the Thai people how to paint it. Now, Benjarong porcelain has incorporated with the traditional Thai design and become widely used in homes and hotels as decoration pieces.
This is Khun Urai. She owns Urai Benjarong and is also the chairperson of the Don Kai Dee Benjarong Village. What she is holding, is the benjarong she loves most. Because, that photo is King Rama II sweating under the hot sun while visiting the poor people in Thailand. It moved her heart.
Urai Benjarong also does homestay lodging. The trees and greenery all around gives the place a peaceful country charm.
There is 5 rooms and each room can stay up till 10 pax. There is also a kitchen where you can do cooking. Of course, breakfast is provided. The rates for homestay are: Private room (including breakfast) 1,000 baht, Shared room for 10 (excluding breakfast) 250 baht per head. For reservations, please call + 66 8 1995 9196 or +66 8 1861 4626.
Love this place, very serene and I can just spend a few days here doing benjarong!
How to come?
1. Take a train from Wong Wian Yai in Bangkok to Mahachai in Samut Sakhon.
2. Take a tuk tuk or taxi to the Don Kai Dee Benjarong Village.