Friday, April 3, 2015

Jim Thompson House - Second Visit

Thompson was unlike any other figure in Southeast Asia. He was an American, an ex-architect, a retired army officer, a one-time spy, a silk merchant and a renowned collector of antiques. Most of his treasures, if not all, were amassed after he came to Thailand.
In 1958, he began what was to be the pinnacle of his architectural achievement – the construction of a new home to showcase his objets d'art.

Jim Thompson House: Service building and gift shop.
Using parts of old up-country houses – some as old as a hundred years – he succeeded in constructing a masterpiece that involved the reassembling of six Thai dwellings on his estate. Most of the units were dismantled and brought over by river from Ayutthaya, but the largest – a weaver's house (now the living room) – came from Bangkrua. On arrival, the woodwork was offloaded and pieced together.

Jim Thompson House: Pond reflection of retail store.
In his quest for authenticity, he saw to it that some of the structures were elevated a full floor above the ground. During the construction stage, he added his own touches to the buildings by positioning, for instance, a central staircase indoors rather than having it outside. Along the way, he also reversed the wall panels of his quarters so that it now faced inside instead of it having an external orientation.[6]
After he was through with its creation, he filled his home with the items he had collected in the past. Decorating his rooms were Chinese blue-and-white Ming pieces, Belgian glass, Cambodian carvings, Victorian chandeliers, Benjarong earthenware, Thai stone images, Burmese statues, and a dining table which was once used by King Rama V of Thailand.
It took Thompson almost a year to complete his mansion. Now a museum, the Jim Thompson House can be reached by public or private transport. At 6 Soi Kasemsan (2) Song on Rama I Road, it is open daily from 9am to 5pm. The last guided tour of the complex is at 5pm.

Photographs are not allowed inside the buildings.  The following are photos taken outside.

Getting silk thread from the cocoons

June and Petchfa

silk cocoons

The gardens are beautiful.  you can't tell you are in the middle of Bangkok.

Our Thai friends helped us celebrate Sister Moleff's 69th birthday.  We later ate lunch at the Jim Thompson Restaurant - Sister Moleff's favorite place in Bangkok to eat.

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