Thai kwai weaving carp and its cultural connotation

  Thais have had the habit of seeking and discovering artistic inspiration, as well as invention and creation from nature since ancient times. Many things that are inconspicuous or worthless in nature can be used as raw materials by Thai people to make all kinds of unique handicrafts. For example, on the Loi Krathong Festival, they fold and sew banana leaves to make water lamps; on the Rocket Festival, they cut Artemisia branches and knead them into “rockets”; weave hats, bamboo hats, cigarettes, gauze covers, and wallets out of palm leaves and palm leaves. , fish baskets, etc.; engrave Buddhist scriptures, books, etc. with Bedoro leaves. These items with different shapes and full of handmade art are very interesting, and at the same time reflect the Thai people’s outlook on life and life.
Palmetto: a versatile raw material

  Palmetto is an evergreen tree of the palm family that mainly grows in tropical regions. Under the right climate, temperature, soil and other conditions, they can grow naturally for hundreds of years. According to the data, there are five or six varieties of palm palms in the Asian continent, among which there are three varieties in Thailand: temple palm palm, native to Sri Lanka, and commonly known as Harry Potter palm, usually planted in temples; swamp palm palm, native to Found in Bangladesh, India, Burma, Indonesia, the Philippines, and the Pacific islands, it is common in southern Thailand; there is also a native Thai palmetto, which can be seen everywhere, and people have various names for them, such as black palmetto, White cattail etc.
  In addition to its high ornamental value, palm palm also has certain practical value from the root to the top. Its roots, petioles and seeds have medicinal functions. People eat them to relieve internal heat, stop sweating, cure colds and even fight cancer; they are burned and crushed into powder, which can be used as “external ointment” for anti-inflammation , swelling, pain, contusion and other symptoms. In addition, the petioles can also be processed into sunflower fans and coir raincoats. The palmetto wood is peeled off the cortex, cut into lines, and dried in the sun to make household utensils, such as baskets, baskets, wooden plaques, and wooden clips. The leaves of the palmetto are the same as those of the Petolo tree. After being dried, planed, and cut, inscribed on them with a sharp iron, bound and bound after inking, they become scriptures that can be preserved for a hundred years. The young leaves at the top of the palm palm can be used to weave net bags for catching shrimp or various exquisite small handmade objects.

Aoi Woven Carp Tent

  It can be seen that palm palm is a multifunctional raw material, and every part of it has a purpose and can benefit human beings and the environment. But it is a pity that the number of palmetto in Thailand has decreased a lot at present, because many people felled and used palmetto and did not replant it, so the number of palmetto in nature has been showing a downward trend. In order to better protect the palm trees and national forest resources, Thailand has passed laws and regulations, in some rural areas such as Wangmo Village, Bupara Village, Kunsi In Licun and other places, palm palm reserved forests have been set up to advocate the protection of palm palm. But protection alone is not enough, if not widely planted, the current palmetto is still not able to meet people’s various needs.
fish worship

  Fish is a beautiful animal with a simple outline that is easily recognizable. Since ancient times, fish have influenced the cultural outlook and worship of people all over the world. Because of being endowed with mysterious power, fish are often regarded as totems or symbols by various nations, and their cultural connotations are hidden in national philosophies. For example, the Taechi picture in the national flag and national emblem of South Korea is two yin and yang fishes connected end to end, chasing and rotating, forming a circle. It is popular among Chinese to wear jade fish. If you want to attract wealth and treasure, you can carve a pair of jade fish to decorate the hall, which means “more than one year after another (fish)” and “more than wealth (fish)”. The wooden fish, a ritual tool in Buddhism, originated from the saying that “fishes do not fit their eyes day and night”. They are carved in the shape of straight or round fish and tapped as a warning. Thai people also worship fish. The archaeological team discovered the image of fish on an ancient stone in the Kamphaeng District of Chiang Mai. This is a pattern of a pair of fish hanging upside down. Some experts speculate that its inspiration may come from the Chinese Yin-Yang map. It symbolizes the beginning of life and universal auspiciousness, protecting people from all evils.
  In the myths and legends of various countries in the world, the understanding of fish culture is both the same and different. For example, Japanese legends regard eels as sacred fish, and they serve as vehicles for the gods who live in temples. Thai legends also believe that the gods living in temples travel with fish, so temples are mostly built along river banks, tributaries, swamps, and lakes. At the same time, Thai people also believe that the existence of the world is supported by unknown big fish, and when the big fish moves, earthquakes will occur. The difference lies in the way people of the two countries treat eating fish: the Japanese consider eel to be a delicacy, and have formed a dietary custom of eating it at least once a year; but the Thais will never catch big fish near the temple Treat them as food, and don’t deliberately harm them.
  Other cultural connotations of fish are also reflected in the daily life of Thai people. In folk culture, fish has always been a symbol of the rich and fulfilling lifestyle of the Thai people, and there have been many proverbs related to fish, reflecting the importance of fish, such as “there are fish in the water, and there are rice in the fields” “cooking rice irony” Dogs, grilled fish satirize cats”, “fish eat ants when the tide rises, and ants eat fish when the tide goes out”, “fish die because of their mouths”, “hot water fish live, cold water fish die”, “big fish eat small fish”, etc.

Thai ponytail fighting fish

  In addition, in Thailand, in addition to being used as a common food, there is also a related activity involving the common people and even the king, that is fighting fish. A long time ago, many Thais bred and kept a species of ornamental fish called “Siamese fighting fish” for entertainment. In the 18th century, people in the society used fighting fish to bite and compete with each other, and it was very popular as a tool for gambling. But in 1799, King Rama I (reigned from 1782 to 1809) issued an edict prohibiting anyone from betting on cockfighting, birdfighting, fishfighting or biting competitions. Anyone who violates the rules and is caught will be whipped Penalties and fines depending on the crime committed. This maintains the worship of fish to a certain extent.
The legend of Aoi weaving carp

  Carp is one of the fishes with the most varieties, the widest distribution and the highest yield among freshwater fishes in the world. In Thailand, in 1999, the Dictionary of the Royal Society of Thailand defined “carp” as a kind of freshwater fish belonging to Cyprinidae. Smooth, with stiff fins and a serrated tail. The well-known golden carp and white carp in Thailand have luxurious gold or clean silver scales all over their bodies. The golden carp is common in rivers, canals and freshwater habitats in Thailand, while the white carp is abundant in the Chao Phraya, Basak and Mekong rivers in the Central Basin of Thailand.
  Since ancient times, carp has been endowed with certain connotations in oriental culture. The Chinese believe that carp can transform into a dragon, and “carp jumping over the dragon’s gate” symbolizes overcoming obstacles and achieving success. The carp streamers made by the Japanese on the “Boys’ Day” symbolize courage and strength, and are used to wish boys healthy growth, vigor and success. Similarly, carp also has the meaning of auspiciousness, happiness and harmony in Thai myths and legends.

  In Thailand, the origin of carp belief is very long. It is a traditional belief that has been handed down from ancient times and has been integrated into people’s lifestyles. Whether it is a great king or ordinary people, it is closely related to it. Legend has it that Pachao Tesa (reigned from 1709 to 1732), the king of the Ayutthaya Dynasty, loved fishhooks and fishing very much. The king’s lazy administration was criticized by people. People called him the “Fish King” and said that the current Majesty’s favorite place to stay is the waterside. The greatest Mingjun in the history of the Ayutthaya Dynasty, Nalixuan the Great (1590-1605) Year reign) his favorite place to go is the palace in the capital, which satirizes him indirectly through comparison. When someone reported it to Pachao Taisha, he came to his senses and issued a decree prohibiting everyone from fishing and eating carp. Anyone who eats carp will be fined.
  It is popular among Thai folk to weave palm leaves into carp-shaped handicrafts, which involves ancient Thai legends and Thai animal worship and lifestyle. Since carp is the most common fish in the river basins of Thailand, and it symbolizes auspiciousness and happiness, it is not surprising that Thai people use the shape of carp to make various types of handicrafts, and the idea of ​​weaving palm carp may also come from the living environment. got inspiration from.
  It is said that about hundreds of years ago, the people who weaved palmetto carp were mainly Muslim merchants who rowed boats on the waters around the island of Ayutthaya, the old capital, to do business. Perhaps these weaving raw materials such as coconut leaves, palm leaves, palm leaves, etc. can be found everywhere and are readily available. They used them to weave them into toys for children to play with, and then more and more people became interested, so they wove them into various handicrafts Items to sell for money or to exchange. Later, people wove carp into more beautiful kwai-knitted carp according to the shape of carp, and hung them in strings above children’s rockers, in order to make children look fascinated while sleeping and then fall asleep peacefully. Over time, kwai kui carp gradually became popular and became one of the most common hanging toys in Thailand, and it also formed the custom of hanging it above the baby or children’s rocker.
  In ancient times, Thai people usually raised their babies by putting them to sleep in bamboo hammocks for children, and then swinging or rocking the hammock while singing lullabies, so that the babies could fall asleep better. A kwai carp is often hung above the children’s hammock, making it amusing for the baby to watch. Because the baby looks at the hanging sunflower carp swaying around for a long time and then falls asleep, it is very important to hang it correctly. It must be hung in a place suitable for the baby’s sight, and it cannot be tied at the head or end of the bed. So as not to affect the baby’s vision development. At the same time, Thai people also inject beliefs into it. For example, if the carp is hung too close to the head of the bed, the baby will be disturbed by the mother’s aura, but in fact the real reason is that it may cause the baby’s vision to decline.
  Initially, the shapes, colors and materials of hanging toys for children’s cradles were only woven carp in primary colors, and then gradually became more diversified with development and evolution: some female carp and juvenile carp were woven together and hung in strings, and some female carp were woven together to form strings. There are also fish tents woven and combined with woven carp, young carp, stars, bodhi leaves, etc. There are also carp woven with sunflowers painted in various colors or painted with various flower patterns. Later, these weaving and hanging toys were not limited to sunflower carp, but also made of bamboo, rattan, brown, straw, etc., as well as kangaroos, puffer fish, butterflies, and water chestnuts.
The making of kwai weaving carp

  Carp weaving has always been taken seriously and revered, and this handicraft is considered a fun way to entertain life. Today, people in the Mahathat district of Ayutthaya have transformed this handicraft into intangible cultural heritage.
  The current popular method and form is the combined fish tent, first weaving carp and other elements into pieces separately, and then connecting them into strings. In the weaving step, first weave an octagonal pointed or dome tent with palm leaves, reserve a metal string in the middle of the tent (for connecting the female fish), and install metal hooks or weave a few ears (handles) on the outside of the tent. For hanging purposes. In order to make the decoration more beautiful, diamonds, triangles, five-pointed star particles and flat long-tailed kites are connected at the top or sharp corners of the tents, and bodhi leaves are decorated on the tents.
  The female fish is the main part, and the body of the carp is woven according to the required size, usually in the shape of a rhombus. In addition, the fins, head, tail and other parts are made through thin and long leaves or wires. Connect them together and start stitching and combining from the tail of the fish. Usually the tail of the fish is slightly exaggerated, so that it looks like the desired auspicious carp style.
  The weaving body shape of juvenile fish is the same as that of female fish, but the tail part is relatively coordinated. Although the size is smaller, the manual requirements are not lower than that of female fish. The size of the fish tent and the female fish determines the number of juveniles. Usually there are several juveniles in each string, but it is often a multiple of 3, such as 6, 9, 12, 15 juveniles.
  After these important parts are completed, they will be assembled into carp skewers. The female fish is suspended under the tent by metal wires, ropes, thin leaves, etc., and the young fish are hung under the belly of the female fish, and can also be hung at the mouth and tail. In this way, the basic carp skewers are initially formed. In addition to these important components, carp skewers will also be decorated with many ornaments, such as using triangular or diamond-shaped particles to decorate the connecting lines between mother fish and juvenile fish, and juvenile fish and juvenile fish. Some juveniles also have a five-pointed star woven over them and are adorned with cut bodhi leaves.
  The original sunflower carp was not very attractive to children due to its natural color. Later, some people painted it in more eye-catching yellow or red, and some people painted it in gold and silver according to the legend of golden carp and white carp. Some craftsmen Various patterns and patterns will also be painted on it to make the whole object look more harmonious.
status quo

  In the past few decades, with the prosperity of the tourism industry, more and more domestic and foreign tourists are interested in Thai Kwai Kwai Carp. In order to meet their needs, the shape of Kwai Knitting Carp has also undergone some improvements, such as weaving various specifications , styled fish, painted patterns and patterns in more vivid colors, etc., and their uses gradually expanded, and they were used to decorate houses or embellish ceremonies on various occasions.
  At present, people in the Mahathat District of Ayutthaya Province are engaged in traditional handicraft weaving carp, most of them are ordinary people. However, due to the needs of the market, in order to attach the attributes of commodities or souvenirs, woven objects are no longer only used as hanging toys on children’s rockers as before. Many finished products are more like moving ornaments or swaying sculptures. There is not much connection with the way of life of Thai babies in the past.

Thai kwai carp

  Although kwai kwai carp is still one of the traditional handicrafts of the Thai people, if only through the way of selling such handicrafts abroad, the prospects are not very optimistic in terms of inheritance or development. Because this will be affected by market demand, when the market no longer needs this kind of handicrafts, maybe the legends of kwai kwai carp and ancient carp in Thailand will disappear.

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