HEADLINES [click on headline to view story]:

Lanna murals will live on

Oktoberfest at Imperial Mae Ping shows European hospitality at its best

Kick-off for ‘Hats Off’

Lanna murals will live on

Paintings at Wat Baan Ko to be preserved by US Ambassador’s Fund

Preeyanoot Jittawong

Lampang is one of the regions of the North renowned for its classic Lanna heritage. The people of the province maintain their simple, traditional lifestyle and consequently much of what can be seen in Lampang has remained unchanged for centuries.

Old Buddha image in Wat Baan Ko revered by villagers.

The lovely old temples, many of them of great antiquity, along with the traditional domestic and civic architecture, the horse and cart mode of transportation, the elephant camps, the earthenware utensils and the heritage sites all combine to make Lampang a well known tourist destination.

Luang Poo Paw Ootnoon, or Nan Kham Paw, the painter.

Withi Panichapan, Faculty of Fine Art lecturer at Chiang Mai University, has traveled throughout the North pursuing his love of Lanna art and architecture and his deep interest in conservation.

Twenty years ago he surveyed an area from Chiang Mai to Tambon Wang Tai in Wang Nuae district, Lampang, covering a distance of 100 kilometers. At Baan Ko village he found a temple a century or more old, the center of the local community. To Withi’s amazement a mural within the building reproduces in fine detail the lives of people during the Lanna era.

The mural was painted by an artist named Luang Poo Paw Ootnoon, or Nan Kham Paw. Phra Kroo Tha Worn Worarak, the temple’s present abbot, says the painter lived at Baan Sop Lee and worked as an artist along the northern side of the Wang River. He liked to drink and because of a broken heart he entered the monkhood, although he still liked to wander and did not stay permanently anywhere. He loved to paint Lord Buddha pictures and stories of former incarnations of the Buddha, adding small visual jokes of his own and also depicting the local lifestyle. He painted on the walls of the temple a hundred years ago without knowing his work would become a precious heritage of a new era.

Phra Kroo Tha Worn Worarak is the abbot taking care of the temple at present.

What makes the mural paintings at Wat Baan Ko so different to others is the detail and understanding of the ordinary people of that period. Their lifestyle, culture and beliefs are depicted in a series of linked scenes.

The pictures were drawn simply and with the use of natural colors. They illustrate the history of Lord Buddha, scenes from Thai epic poetry influenced by the Ramayana of India, and visions of Hell designed to encourage people not to act badly towards others.

The villagers have done their best to conserve the paintings over the years but inevitably time and the climate have taken their toll. Withi’s discovery of the murals two decades ago was an important factor in their preservation, and now a donation from the US Ambassador’s Fund for Cultural Preservation will secure the future of these marvelous paintings and the temple that houses them.

Thai epic poetry influenced by the Ramayana of India.

Phra Sumen mountain picture, an image of Phra Wet Sandorn incarnation of the Buddha.

Picture of Hell.

Pictures of monks and novices in the past who lived in that temple.

A new building has just been set up.

Withi Panichapan takes visitors sight seeing.

Dilapidated stairs at front of the temple.

An old building constructed in a hundred percent Lanna architecture.

Kylins at front of the entrance that obscure old statues.

An ancient temple drum.

Oktoberfest at Imperial Mae Ping shows European hospitality at its best

Marion Vogt

A fanfare of trumpets sounded from the Imperial Mae Ping beer garden on Saturday, 15 October 2005, when GM Nick Bauer kicked off the first Oktoberfest in Chiang Mai.

No detail was overlooked to make it as authentic as possible.

The festival, which will last 10 days until October 25, attracted hordes of visitors during opening night and blue and white decorations showed the spirit of the world famous Bavarian ‘Gemuetlichkeit’.

The Imperial staff had spared nothing to make their beer garden as authentic as possible, with a garland tree, a Big Brass Band and a great deal of serious beer drinking.

European guests know the origins of Oktoberfest, but for the locals present it was explained that on October 18, 1810 the wedding of Crown Prince Ludwig of Bavaria (later King Ludwig I), and Princess Therese of Saxony-Hildburghausen was held. To mark this special wedding, the citizens of Munich were invited to attend on the fields just outside the city, which have since been named Theresienwiese (“Theresa’s fields”) in honor of the Crown Princess.

Oktoberfest festivities are held each year, growing rapidly, with now over 6 million people from every country visiting the fairgrounds. Hopefully, Oktoberfest at the Imperial will become equally as popular in Northern Thailand.

(Left) Hagen Dirksen, German Hon. Consul; Nick Bauer Imperial Mae Ping GM and the permanent secretary for Chiang Mai province, Phongsak Wangsamer slice the sausage chain to declare the first Imperial Oktoberfest open.

A Glenn Miller Brass Band marched in to provide that typical ‘oompa pa’ touch.

Having a ball and a beer were (from left to right) Michael Vogt, MD Chiangmai Mail; Imperial GM Nick Bauer, Hagen Dirksen and US Vice Consul John Spykerman.

Kick-off for ‘Hats Off’

Chiangmai Mail Reporters

After the very successful Cole Porter evening in May, the organizing ‘Nakornping Community Production’ have another production highlighting music from the 40s and 50s in rehearsal called ‘Hats off’. This will be staged on Remembrance November 11, at Gong Dee Gallery.

‘Bye bye blackbird’. A few teasers were performed by Richard Dixon, accompanied by John Smith on the banjo.

Instead of reminiscing over the traumas of World War II, the producers will concentrate on the music of that time, and will feature songs which were made popular by The Andrew Sisters, Bing Crosby, Tommy and Jimmy Dorsey, Duke Ellington, Judy Garland, Bennie Goodman, Harry James, Glenn Miller, Artie Shaw, Frank Sinatra, amongst others.

John Cooley explained it has been extremely challenging to narrow down the long list to a mere 20 or so songs to be performed that night. The program is expected to be a sell-out affair.

Colin Hardcastle, seen here held by Frank Weicks, will not be singing in the upcoming Hats Off concert. He and Mummy Wiyada will listen while daddy David will go back to his roots and perform.

A few teasers were performed by Richard Dixon, accompanied by virtuoso John Smith on the banjo. The enthusiasm and considerable entrepreneurial talents of Chiang Mai residents and friends are principally responsible for harnessing these disparate talents. The cast will feature a number of familiar community faces, and it’s promising to be an entertaining evening with smiles, laughter, but also a few tears. 300 baht tickets are on sale at Gong Dee Studio, but be advised to hurry, as the concert was almost sold out by the time of going to press.

More members of the cast who can be seen at Gong Dee on November 11 (from left to right) Guy Pace, just back from New York; Galen Garwood, Dr. Howard, Khun Yo and pianist Sid Richardson who was off the hook on the Hats Off ‘Kick off Night’.

Enjoying the teasers were Marion Vogt, Becky Lomax, John Cooley, Frank Weicks, and Bernard Garwood.