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Lanna Artisans

Old Naga Head in Chiang MaiIn former times the artists who embellished religious structures were considered highly important. They were largely anonymous, for the merit was due to the wealthy lord who provided the funds for the work.

Artisans were particularly sought after as spoils from a successful military campaign, and in respect of their status they were usually given places to live close to the center of the city.

Each new influx of craftsmen brought the styles of their home muang (city) with them. Thus the styles of the north tended to mix.

Outside influences were also brought in by monks and merchants, who traveled extensively despite the wars of the region. The art of Lanna has thus evolved from an indigenous Yuan base that has mixed over the years with the style of whichever outside power was dominant in the valley.

Today the commercialization of art has meant that the work of famous artists is more likely to be seen in art galleries.

Should a well-known artist work in a temple, however, it will be in the same anonymous spirit as his forbears.




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