Spirit houses 2

Spirit houses in their natural habitat.

In my quest to find out where spirit houses come from, I started with a visit to the website of K.T. Spirit House (http://www.kt-spirithouse.com). Unfortunately, the store is located far outside Bangkok, and the proprietors didn’t answer my email. I considered heading out and taking my chances, but then I found a store in town that sells spirit houses, and the woman running it spoke English so I didn’t have to struggle with Thai to explain my interest. In response to my first question, she told me that hers are made from molded poured concrete, but when I asked whether I could see the factory where the houses are made, she grew cagey and said no, not unless I was buying one.

Fortunately, I remembered seeing a plot of land filled with spirit houses on my first weekend in Bangkok, so I returned there. This is Chokenumsin, a factory that makes spirit houses, Buddhist shrines, and other stone outdoor furnishings. The second-generation owner of Chokenumsin, K. Siriwong Chuwonganant, showed me around the factory, all the while probably wondering why this crazy American with bad Thai language skills wanted to see how spirit houses were made.

Chokenumsin makes the majority of its spirit houses from poured concrete, using fiberglass molds to form the individual pieces, and then putting the pieces together. The shop works in other materials as well, including glass and wood, but the concrete ones are by far the most popular.

Lots of small san pra phum ready to come off the shelf; then you have to buy the people and animals to put in them.

There will be more on this topic later.