Baan Jang Nak

Baan Jang Nak (บ้านจ๊างนัก) is in the village Ban Buak Khang in San Kamphaeng District, Chiang Mai. The house belongs to local artist Petch Viriya. Ban Jang Nak means “house of many elephants” and many elephants there are.

Ban Buak Khang is a Tai Yong village. Petch himself is Tai Yong. King Kawila forcible resettled Tai Yong in Chiang Mai province in the beginning of the 19th century. Objective was to repopulate areas that were depopulated after decades of warfare in the aftermath of more than two centuries of Burmese occupation.

Many wooden elephants
Baan Jang Nak elephants on display

Tai Yong from Shan State

The Tai Yong arrived in Ban Buak Khang in 1813, according to the text under the statue of Kramom Surayuangsa, the 34th ruler of Muang Yong, at Wat Buak Khang. It was the last forced resettlement under King Kawila of Chiang Mai.

The Tai Yong are Tai Lue but are known as Tai Yong because they came from Muang Yong in Northern Shan State, Myanmar. Their language is similar to other Tai languages and is closely related to Tai Yuan, which is also known as Northern Thai language.

Lots of wooden elephants
Baan Jang Nak wooden elephants

Baan Jang Nak is home to hundreds of beautiful wooden elephants and elephants of different material, created by local carvers. In front of the house, there is a replica mammoth made from thousands of wood chips. On the ground, floor artists are at work on wooden elephants. You will also see an elephant made of different materials. It is a fascinating place.

If you are lucky, you can meet Petch Viriya in person. On the first floor, there is an exhibition of elephants, and you can also find Phetch’ magnificent pencil drawings, that was on show recently at Chiang Mai University, depicting the migration of the Tai Yong to Chiang Mai. Baan Jang Nak is worth a visit when you are in Chiang Mai.

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