About Kamthieng House Museum
An historic house built in 1844 on the banks of the Ping River in Chiang Mai by Mae (“mother”) Saed, great granddaughter of the Prince of Chae, Kamthieng House brings together many elements of lifestyle and culture in a typical Lanna house of the period. Constructed and passed on through the women of a northern matriarchal lineage, the house is one of the oldest surviving examples of traditional northern Thai architecture.
Exhibits of primary crafts and rituals provide a glimpse of the taste and style of the merchant elite of late Lanna period, between the lifetimes of Mae Saed and her granddaughter, Mae Kamthieng – namesake of the house. Through its first hundred years, the house was pitched at a turning point in Lanna culture, with traditional lifestyle slowly giving way to the prestige of Western taste. But Kamthieng House was to remain a repository of the Lanna spirit, even as the late Professor Kraisri Nimmanhaeminda moved it to the Siam Society in 1962, to become a northern Thai ethnological museum.
The Kamthieng House Museum – as its name suggests – mixes museum-style displays with the context and ambience of an historic house. Visual drama, emphasised through lighting design and display styling, is coupled with a sense of place. Objects are grouped loosely to reflect central exhibition themes relevant to particular areas of the house, but not always directly related to the precise interior function of that area. Instead, objects are chosen for aesthetic impact and their ability to serve as windows into primary themes of Lanna culture.
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