Thai wood carving has been used in the temples for decade as well as to decorate the royal palaces. Before Thailand opened to the world, visitors to the country were astounded at the beauty and detailed wood carvings they saw while visiting with royal officials and high-ranking statesmen. Today, Thai wood carving art has spread to the world, but the best examples can still be seen in street fairs, at art and craft exhibitions, on houses and naturally in Thailand’s Royal Thai Handicrafts Center which is in Ratchaburi Province. This wood carving demonstration center was established to promote and preserve the wood carving art which is known by its ancient name of Kruang Mai Luk. Master wood craftsmen from the province use the center to do their artwork, which can take many months, and sometimes years, to complete as the wood carving works are very detailed.
There are three styles of wood carving done at the center. Bas relief known as Phab Na Chan, are wood carvings that are flat with no curved protruding sculpted parts showing when one look at it from the side.Deep Relief is a three-dimensional artwork that has depth, width and height, that looks as if the scene is realistically moving off the background. Round Relief is wood carving sculptures that can be seen from all angles. All the three styles are used in decoration of items such as furniture, couches, wooden wall plaques, vine cupboards and screens and lamps. Thai people come to the center to buy items to sell to tourists, travel agents and tourists also visit the center to watch the demonstrations of this wonderful art.
Thai furniture decorated with wood carving is beautiful and long-lasting as teak wood is used in the making of cabinets, mirror frames, jewellery boxes, kits, chest of drawers, coffee tables, screens, racks, bed posts and headboards, cupboards, chairs and lamps. Every day new uses for this wood carving art are found, new items to decorate and adorn tourists living spaces. It is a popular and well-known center and offers traditional Thai wood arts that but for centers like this, and museums also promoting the wood crafting arts, this art might be a forgotten.