Saturday, November 15, 2014

Jim Thompson House & Museum

Jim Thompson House Museum, Bangkok Thailand
The Jim Thompson House Museum is the former home of James H.W. Thompson, a self-made American entrepreneur who was the founder of the world renowned Jim Thompson Thai Silk Company. Arriving in Bangkok at the end of World War II, Jim Thompson became passionately interested in Southeast Asian art and antiques. He purchased several old teak houses to create his own unique home in Bangkok in order to house his growing collection. The original Jim Thompson house and outbuildings were re-constructed from all or sections of six separate old houses that were brought from various parts of the country.  After Jim Thompson’s mysterious disappearance inMalaysia in 1967, his nephew Henry B Thompson III generously donated the house and its collection to the people of Thailand.  Open daily to the public for guided tours in English, Japanese, French and Thai, the museum is operated by The James H W Thompson Foundation. Generally the museum remains the way it looked when Jim Thompson lived there, however the Foundation has slightly rearranged certain displays in the interest of security.  Two small buildings, formerly used by household staff, have been turned into additional museum display space.
The Jim Thompson Art Center, a large gallery purpose-built to house special exhibitions is located in the same compound. Exhibitions in the Art Center generally focus on Asian topics or textiles, and range from traditional to modern in theme.  In addition to exhibitions, the Art Center conducts educational and outreach programs, produces publications and collaborates with local and international cultural institutions.  The Art Center also includes in a separate building, the William Warren Library.
As a small independent museum, belonging to an international organisation like ASEMUS that supports museums, will be of benefit in terms of resources, networking and sharing information about our programs.
Jim Thompson House Museum, Bangkok Thailand

Collection size:  1,600 objects
Collection: Asian and Southeast Asian paintings, ceramics, sculpture and object d’art acquired by Jim Thompson.
The collection includes:
Paintings: The Thai paintings in the Thompson collection are on cloth, paper and wood. Most are on cotton and range from fairly small to tapestry size. The subject matter generally relates to either the life of Buddha or the popular Jataka stories, in particular the legend of Prince Vessantara, who shows the virtue of Charity by giving up his worldly possessions, his wife and children.
Ceramics:  The collection includes Chinese export ware, mainly blue and white porcelain, of which numerous pieces found their way to Thailand in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. There is also a large collection of Benjarong ware, porcelain originally made to order in China for the Thai nobility.  Sukhothai and Sawankalok wares produced in kilns in Thailand also figure in the collection as do Lopburi and Khmer wares.
Sculpture:  The sculpture in the museum is Southeast Asian, and is principally from Thailand andCambodia, with a few pieces from Burma. The collection includes stone Khmer statues and Buddha images and Burmese wooden figures
Furniture:  The museum has an extensive antique collection of carved, painted and inlayed Thai-Chinese furniture including altar tables, beds and cabinets.  In addition, there is the contemporary furniture Jim Thompson used in his home.

Original architectural drawings for the house, prepared by Thompson and his Thai architect.
During construction, carpenters were brought from Ayutthaya to assemble the old structures.
The Jim Thompson House Floor  Plan
Where Sister Moleff took me to lunch at the Jim Thompson House restaurant.  
This is a very restful setting.  If you ever come to visit we will take you to lunch here.
 The Jim Thompson House and grounds are only open from 9am to 5 pm.

A Thai lunch.  The green drink is called Lemon-Grass.  We had the Golden Triangle- crab cakes, prawns wrapped in rice paper, and shrimp - dish on the left.  Middle dish is stir fried vegetables (carrots, baby corn, bamboo shoots, mushrooms,  bell peppers {red & green}, and onions in oyster sauce.  And last rice.  We love the presentation and it tasted even better.
Pulling the thread from the Silk Worm Cacoon.  It is hard to tell but he is pulling
 about a dozed small threads through the hole in the lower wooden bad and 
then he just layers it in the basket.

She is taking the thread from the basket and making hanks of Silk thread. 
 Years ago Sister Peaden gave me three silk cacoons. Now I know what to do with them.

Photos are not allowed in the buildings.  These are photos of the grounds outside 

Silk Worm Cocoons
Silk worms are actually a type of caterpillar that spins silk cocoons around themselves after they turn approximately 1 month old. Whenever they are finally ready to start spinning their cocoon, they will stop eating any food and then they will turn yellowish. At this point, it will then take the silk worm approximately 3 days to spin their cocoon around themselves. If their threads are disturbed by anything, the silk worm will have to start all over again spinning a new cocoon.

The silk that is used in forming these cocoons is actually hardened silkworm saliva that has been secreted from the silk worm's mouth. There is actually a small spinneret that is located on the silk worm's lip, which is used to excreet the silk that they use to form their cocoon. This single strand of silk that the silk worm forms is about 1 mile long. Silk worms have to work in a figure 8 pattern in order to spin their cocoon around themselves.

While spending 3 weeks inside of the cocoon, they shed their skin and change into a pupa and then into moths. The moth will then emerge from its cocoon at dawn by secreting a special spit so that the silk can be dissolved and the moth can emerge. Their wings will be wrinkled before the air puffs them up in an hour and they will also “urinate” a reddish-brown fluid shortly after emerging from their cocoon since it couldn't “pee” while inside of the cocoon. They cannot eat or drink, but they go on to mate for 1 day before laying eggs and dying 5 days later. A female moth can lay between 200 and 500 eggs, which will then hatch into worms in a few weeks and carry on this continuous life cycle.

Wan, our English speaking guide that gave us a good tour.
Both the museum and the house only cost 100 ฿ per person to visit,  1 ฿ = $0.03.  
Entrance fees to the museums was $3.04 each.

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