Craftmen strive to keep ancient art alive

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Kung-fu Hillbilly
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Craftmen strive to keep ancient art alive

Post by Kung-fu Hillbilly » Mon Sep 09, 2019 10:57 am

It could take several days to carve elaborate Khmer designs onto buildings, clothing, jewellery and of course, chan srak with a hammer and chisel. Photo supplied

Pann Rethea
08 September 2019

Today, elaborate chan srak with traditional Khmer motifs are customary to carry offerings to monks on the behalf of deceased relatives ahead of Pchun Ben.

Beginning this Saturday, when the waning moon marks two weeks until the commencement of Pchum Ben religious festivities, you may notice that locals will carry intricately decorated, tiered-containers into pagodas.

Monk Som Chan from Ounalom pagoda said the containers evolved from ancient clay or wooden containers like plates, bowls or jars which were later stacked on top of each other to make food easier to transport.

However, while the tradition of carrying offerings in chan srak remains unchanged, the number of craftsmen making them is dwindling, third-generation metalsmith Vann Sitha told The Post.

Despite the high price, Vann says some people are willing to pay for an artisanal piece that is only brought out a couple of times a year during religious festivals.

He charges customers based on the weight of the final product. Copper and brass varieties can be bought for less, Sitha says.

“Copperware cost $50-$100 per kg, while silver versions cost $35-$100 per kg

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