Chiang Mai Shopping | Products and Shopping in Chiang Mai
In the north of Thailand, silverware goes back at least to the time of King Mengrai, who imported artisans from Burma. Chiang Saen period silverware has been found in burial mounds.
Despite this long tradition, antique Chiang Mai silver is no older than 100 years.
The modern silver industry has Burmese origins that began with the resettlement of people from the Shan States by Chao Kawila. King Chulalongkorn also patronized the arts and settled Burmese craftsmen in Chiang Mai in the Wualai area, which has remained the center of traditional silver working ever since.
Bowls used for ceremonial purposes are produced by hammering intricate patterns into silver sheeting placed over a wide tub of pitch. Local demand for silver belts as well as exports for the tourist market has given new life to the industry. Wealthy businesses have revived the production of large silver bowls weighing several kilos as prestige items.