Tomorrow is the 2557th birthday of the Buddha, Vesakh, a holy day that commensurate the birth, enlightenment and death of Gautama Buddha by Buddhist all over the world. The date of the celebration differ slightly throughout the different countries, 8th of lunar April, in Thailand for example, Vesakh is on the 24th May.
On this special day, the devoted Buddhist will observe the 8 Precepts:
- I undertake the precept to refrain from destroying living creatures.
- I undertake the precept to refrain from taking that which is not given.
- I undertake the precept to refrain from sexual activity.
- I undertake the precept to refrain from incorrect speech.
- I undertake the precept to refrain from intoxicating drinks and drugs which lead to carelessness.
- I undertake the precept to refrain from eating at the forbidden time (i.e., after noon).
- I undertake the precept to refrain from dancing, singing, music, going to see entertainments, wearing garlands, using perfumes, and beautifying the body with cosmetics.
- I undertake the precept to refrain from lying on a high or luxurious sleeping place.
If you happen to be in Hong Kong, join in the celebration.
ASIAN FOLKCRAFT COLLECTION
SOIL X MOUNTAIN FOLKCRAFT
This bamboo weaved basket is known as a kratip, a container for cooked sticky rice. They are a common item owned by every household. The kratip is double weaved, acting as a insulator for keeping the rice warm. Kratip comes in different shape and sizes, here is a smaller version.
Come and see the Asian Folkcraft Collection!
This is a old Thai monk figurine with folded palms, namaskara mudra. His palms are placed together at the level of the heart where in India is a traditional gesture of salutation and adoration, one of the oldest Indian mudras, a greeting expressed in the form of a prayer coming from one’s heart.
This is a Buddha statue in the Bhumisparsha Mudra posture, with his right hand resting on knee while reaching toward the earth and the left hand lies on the lap facing upward. This gesture is also known as the “earth witness” which is the most iconic image of Buddhism. This gesture symbolizes unshakability and steadfastness; the legend goes just before Siddhartha Gautama was enlightened to become the Buddha, demon Mara called upon his armies of monster to attacking, hoping to scare him away from his meditation under the bodhi tree. Siddhartha stayed unshaken and continued his mediation. The demon claimed the enlightenment for himself and called for his monsters to give witness to his superior spiritual achievements, Mara then asked Siddhartha if anyone could give witness for him. Siddhartha simply extended his hand to reach the ground and the earth responded and giving witness for him. Mara was defeated at his own challenge and vanished. The next day Siddhartha Gautama enlightened to become the Buddha himself.
Textile Width 340mm, Thailand
This is a piece of handwoven textile that has a beautiful pattern print on with the technique of stencil dyeing. Stencil dyeing is a form of resist dyeing; a dye resistant paste is applied on the fabric through a stencil, colour pigment is then added on by hand giving detail shades to the pattern.
The most famous rooster in Thailand is perhaps the one which belonged to King Naresuan. King Naresuan was the King of Ayutthaya between 1555 – 1605, he was most famous for freeing the Siam of Ayutthaya from Burmese rule and subsequently the expansion of his empire. Now how does the roost come into the picture? It is believed in popular legend that the young Prince Naresuan wagered a bet with the Burmese Prince of Ayutthaya that if Naresuan’s rooster would won the cock fight, Ayutthaya would be freed from Burmese rule and of course the rooster being as couragous as his master won fiercelessly. Ceramic rooster statues can be seen as offering to King Naresuan in a few temples in Ayutthaya.
This bamboo weaved box is a rice serving basket for Thai sticky rice. So finely made, it is perhaps too precious to be used for a daily task. Here is the recipe for Thai sticky rice for 2 persons.
- 1.5 cup glutenous rice (sweet rice)
- 0.5 tsp salt
- wash the rice thoroughly
- soak the sweet rice in water with the salt for 1-2 hours (this will shorten the cooking time)
- pour the sweet rice through a sieve
- put the sieve with a lid over a saucepan and steam
- after 10 mins, flip the rice over and steam for another 5 mins
- put into contain and serve
This is a buffalo bone necklace from Thailand, the beads are not finely polished giving a more natural wooden look. The hook and closure are made with buffalo horn. Buffalo has been a part of the traditional Thai agricultural for a long time, they helped to do the laboriousness task of ploughing the paddy field, a treasure livestock for the farmers. The horns, bones and hide are used for many traditional crafts.