Bangkok Dolls Museum
Anyone planning a trip to Thailand may enjoy visiting the Bangkok Dolls House and Museum. Located in an obscure area of Pratunam, it has a beautiful setting according to Thai history and literature. The museum has a large collection of hand-made dolls in traditional costumes made by master doll makers from all over the world.
Khunying Thongkorn Chanthawimol, who trained as a doll maker in the Ozawa Doll School, Tokyo Japan, started the museum in 1956. The museum has more than 400 Thai hand-made dolls from local materials. The beauty of the dolls in this museum is well known to doll collectors and connoisseurs the world over. The dolls are usually made as valuable gifts to guests of honor. The Thai dolls won first prize in an international competition held in Poland in 1978.
Dolls are made with painstaking attention to details in costume designs and doll houses. The Bangkok Dolls Museum doesn’t just present individual dolls but dolls in scenes depicting life in rural Thailand, farmers at home or at work in the fields. The morning scene of life in a riverside village with monks passing in boats to collect alms and food vendors selling their wares in boats is one example. Others are of farmers working in the fields and rural folk from various provinces taking part in traditional folk dances during festivities. An attractive display is that of the various hill tribes in their colorful traditional costumes going about lives in their villages.
The highlight of the museum is the comprehensive doll collection of the various characters in the Khon dance drama based on the Ramakien, the legendary Hindu epic. The array of Khon dolls in the Ramakien, with the forces of good and the forces of evil deployed in battle, is an impressive display occupying an entire wall.
The miniature Khon masks are another fascinating example of the skills of the doll makers. If making the elaborate life-sized version is difficult enough, just imagine making the miniature.
Theydolls were on display at world-class museums in Paris, Chicago and New Delhi. They are also on display at Thai museums, such as at Suan Pakkad Palace Collection, Vachira College, teachers’ colleges in Chachoengsao, Nakhon Sawan, Nakhon Si Thammarat, Chiang Mai, Si Nakarinwirot University Bangsaen Campus, Prince of Songkhla University Pattani Campus.
There’s also a section on dolls in traditional costumes from almost every country in the world: Austria, Belgium, China, Egypt, France, Greece, Hungary, India, Japan, Laos, Netherlands, Oman, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Turkey and the USA, to name a few.