"Ban Batt"

Barefoot and dressed only in  saffron coloured robes, Theravada monks begin their daily ritual to collect alms (donations of food). Their only accessory to the ritual is the large bowl the monk carries known as ‘Bat’, these bowls have remained the same design for generations and are still made by traditional communities in Thailand.

Village sign©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Searching©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
One such community exists in Bangkok and represents a good example of a Thai traditional way of life – Ban Bat. The community originally fled war in Ayutthaya to take refuge in Bangkok and although the community has declined due to the introduction of factory produced Bat, there are still a small number of families making Bat in the traditional way.
Fourth generation©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Religious Affairs Department©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
Bending the metal©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Exported©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
Ann Nakarat is a fourth generation artisan who started her craft ten years ago, she was taught by her father and brother. It takes around two days to produce a Bat using traditional methods. The bowl is made in 8 pieces that are hammered into shape and held together by a metal rim. Despite the complexity and time consuming nature of the process, souvenir Bats are available from the community at very reasonable prices.
Welded©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Ready for final sanding©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
Once the frame is complete, the gaps are then filled with individual pieces of steel which are all welded to the existing frame with melted copper wire. The steel bowl is then hammered into shape before being polished and treated with a protective lacquer.After 1970 when the Religious Affairs Department allowed the monks to use industrial bowls many of the craftsman of the Ban Batt community had to turn to other occupations.
Area©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Buddhist disciplinary rules©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
The hand-made bowls are correctly made according to Buddhist disciplinary rules that the alms bowl must be made from steel.
Perfection©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Hammered©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
                                             The bowl is hammered to perfect its shape and surface before it is painted.
Laquer©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Hand finishedHand finished
                                                                              Laquering the bowls
Washing the bowlsWashing the bowls Drying©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
Collecting offerings Myanmar©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved Collecting alms in Laos©Kieron Nelson "Vanishing Cultures Photography" All rights reserved
                                  Bowls in Myanmar                                                    Bowls in Laos
There used to be over 100 families here, but now there are just three. Most feel that this will be the last generation of making bowls by hand. The Ban Batt village is located at Soi Ban Bat, an alley off of Bamrung Muang Road. It is close to the Golden Mount Temple.

 


Comments

2.Priya Balan(non-registered)
very informative!
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