East Asia

Rare Phi Ta Khon from rural Thailand

Q:  I lived in Thailand for many years and I recently went back to see friends. On the trip I went to Dan Sai where the Phi Ta Khon festival is held. I purchased 10 masks and supporting costumes from the owners and creators themselves. I was told this is the rarest mask as only one animal is made at any given time. I’m in love with the art work on this. These masks aren’t usually offered to tourists as it’s just a sleepy village in the middle of nowhere but I’m lucky to know locals. It’s absolutely huge at 1meter in height by 40cm X 45 width and depth. I love your book it’s really helped me identify a bunch of 1970s north west native masks I’ve just purchased.  Dan, 889

A: I’ve only seen a few of these. They are also called ghost masks and are much different from any of the other masks from Thailand. I show two of them on page 57 of my new book Masks of the World. Most of the surface is made out of woven palm fronds and carefully painted in great detail. This 3-day festival celebrates the return of Buddha.  A

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