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Bangkok Travelbug Jan 2018 Owl Art Museum Nakhon Chaisi
January 06, 2018
The Owl Art Museum is the brainchild of Associate Professor Preecha Pun-Klum, an art lecturer in the Silpakorn University. It all started with bedtime stories to his daughter using the owl as a model.
Over the years his owl collection grew and continued growing even after his daughter had out-grown bedtime stories. In 11 years the collection of owls grew to 5,000! The museum was started seven years ago with the owl as the central theme and features the owl presented in various art forms.
The current displays consist of his personal collection, models made in the museum art workshop, models by other Thai artisans and from all over the world.
Owls from Indonesia
Owl in different cultures
There are 216 species of owls in the world and the Thai National Parks website section on birds indicate 21 species of owls in Thailand. If there is one bird in the world that is perceived very differently in different cultures, it's the owl. The differences are drastic; it's a curse, it's a blessing, it's an ill omen, it's a lucky charm, it's evil, it's medicine.
Owls of Thailand
The owl is called nok hook in Thai (nok – bird, hook – the sound of the owl call) . Traditionally, the owl was an ill omen and called nok pi (nok – bird, pi – ghost). It was believed that the arrival of an owl at a house would result in someone getting sick. If the owl calls that's the death knell. Such attitudes are currently not prevalent judging from the owls on sale at curio shops.
In sharp contrast, in Japan the owl figurines and toys are carried around as good luck charms and protection from harm and suffering. The Japanese word for owl is fukuro, (fuku – luck, ku – to come, fu – no, kuro – suffering).
Owls from Japan
Owl brand beer from Japan
In Greek mythology, the owl is associated with Athena, the Goddess of Wisdom. In current Western culture, the owl is associated with knowledge and wisdom. Not so in Medieval Europe when the owl was the symbol of witchcraft.
Owl meat is believed to have medicinal value in India. The number of calls made by the owl has different meanings; one cry means death, two means success etc. The Barn Owl is the steed of Goddess Lakshmi.
Owls are believed to be wise birds in Sulawesi, Indonesia where people listen to the calls of the owl before they travel, the number of calls will indicate whether it's safe to travel or not.
In Peru boiled owl meat is consumed as a medicine.
Owl art at its best
In the area of art, the Owl Art Museum exhibits exquisite craftsmanship. Here are some displays of owl art from Thailand and the world, owl art at its best.
Engraved owl ceramics
These owl-shaped flutes for making owl calls are from Ban Tawai, Chiang Mai. They are hollow with a slit at the top for blowing and a opening on the left. When someone blows into the slit, it makes a sound that's very close to the owl call.
These owls are made from clay, when the clay is still malleable the owl is moulded and carved to the required shape, then heated as in clay pottery.
Pictures of owls made from woodwork
Owls made from dried tree bark and twigs
Some cute furry owl dolls
Owls carved from coconuts – owl art from Southern Thailand
Owl figurines from Italy in Medieval dress
For your interest, the walls of the museum and the souvenir shop are made from paper mache! In line with this theme, the inner walls of the museum are lined with newspapers.
Long before we had computers, electronic devices, television and even radio, the newspapers were the main form of mass communications. Scores of people worked as a team in different functions round the clock to print and distribute the newspapers.
Other facilities at the Owl Art Museum
After the museum tour, visit the souvenir shop where there is an attractive collection of owl wood carvings, owl T shirts and other owl souvenirs on sale.
Buy some home
Next visit the art workshop and the art class for children.
The art workshop
The children's art class
The owl theme is carried right to end at the museum café where you can enjoy your favourite brew.
The museum cafe
Choose your favourite owl brew
The seating area
After the visit to the Owl Art Museum, my home collection of owls increased from two to four.
Please note that owls are endangered species. Several countries prohibit private ownership and it's illegal to keep owls as pets. So, stick to clay models and stuffed toys.
Our thanks to Khun Suphaphorn Pun-Klum for a very informative and well conducted tour of the Owl Art Museum.
Thank you Khun Suphaphorn
Thank you Acharn Preecha Pun-Klum for sharing your artistic creation with us.
Map to the Owl Art Museum
If the map doesn’t appear, click on this link
10/3 Mu 1
Nakhon Pathom 73120
Tel: 034 339 721, 09 7131 3445
Facebook Owl Art Museum
Tuesdays – Fridays – 1000 – 1800 hours
Saturdays and Sundays – 0930 – 1800 hours
Closed on Mondays
Admission – adult 60 baht, children 40 baht
How to get there
Starting from the Mahidol University Salaya, proceed along highway 4006, the Salaya – Nakhon Chaisi Road. Take the road to the Tha Na Market. The Owl Art Museum is on the left just before the bridge over the Tha Chin leading to the Tha Na Market.
Look out for this sign
The seagulls of Bangpu, Samut Prakarn
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