EXPLORING THE UNUSUAL BAAN DAM – BLACK HOUSE MUSEUM
One of the most unusual places I visited in Chiang Rai was the Daan Bam Museum also knows as the Black House Museum. Baan Dam Museum is a complex with over 40 black houses/ galleries dotted around the peaceful gardens. Owned and produced by the Thai artist Thawan Duchanee, the Baan Dam Museum consist of wooden houses in either Thai or Burmese style along with the artist’s bizarre collection of animal skins and bones.
The moment you arrived at the place, you will be greeted by the main building which is a temple like a museum. Although it resembles a temple, it isn’t a religious construction and there is no spiritual significance to the black houses. They are simply on artistic merit alone. The principal building is a big wooden structure. The black tiered roof has curvy metal points extending out from the structure. At the interior are large timbers of teakwood serving as the main pillars of the building which is aesthetically exposed . You will also see a long wooden table with benches on both sides lined with an incredibly long snake skin runner. Another long table having a giant crocodile skin as its centerpiece can be found in the main building. So many thrones like chairs made of buffalo horns and skins scattered around the place.
As we move around the complex, I was made to think why the artist Thawan Duchanee created a whimsically strange collection of skins, bones, teeth and taxidermy of a wide array of animals. Most animal remains are intricately arranged, giving off a beautiful, unique yet mysterious tribal tone for the place.
The Baan Dam Museum evokes so much mystery. Almost all houses are closed and not open for visitors. You will also see no signs to explain the unusual exhibit leaving so many questions in the mind of the visitor.
Checking the place further, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the craftsmanship and genius put to make such amazing collections of black houses.
Duchanee combines elements of traditional Thai architecture with contemporary twist and influences from around the world . Strange as the place maybe, but I guess this is one place that shouldn’t miss when visiting Chiang Rai, Thailand.
333 Moo 13 Nang-Lae, Muang, Chiang Rai, 57100 Thailand.
Contact Us: Tel/Fax : (66) 53 – 776 – 333 Mobile: (66) 83 – 336 – 5333
Opening hours: 9am to 12pm and from 1pm to 5pm every day.