Fruit carv­ing, a metic­u­lous art in Thai­land

Kuwait Times - - LIFESTYLE -

It is a royal tra­di­tion that has proved boun­ti­ful through the ages and one that Thai­land's fruit carvers are de­ter­mined to keep alive-even as young peo­ple peel away from the unique art form. From beet­roots carved into roses to fruity floats made from pa­payas and mel­ons, the most im­por­tant fruit carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Thai­land took place in Bangkok Fri­day.

But for com­peti­tor Piyanat Thi­wato, carv­ing is about more than just win­ning. "Carv­ing can im­prove our mind be­cause it re­quires con­cen­tra­tion and en­hances our imag­i­na­tion, it's a way to re­lax," he said. The tra­di­tion has been traced back to Thai­land's royal Sukhothai dy­nasty, in the 14th cen­tury. "The art of food carv­ing started hun­dreds years ago. Thai­land is rich with arts and crafts. It's like a very beau­ti­ful trea­sure that we have," said Araya Arunanond­chai, the event's or­ga­nizer.

"In the old days, it was done in the royal palaces for the royal fam­ily," she added. Dozens of Thai artists com­peted in the fa­mous fruit and veg­etable carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion, which was or­ga­nized in honor of Queen Sirikit, who turns 85 on Au­gust 12. More than 20 teams carved any­thing from owls to ele­phants or in­tri­cate Thai de­signs onto fruits in­clud­ing taros, mel­ons, and pa­paya. Fruit carv­ing is still pop­u­lar as an of­fer­ing in tem­ples or as a dec­o­ra­tion for wed­dings. Fine arts stu­dents can still choose to learn it at univer­sity, as they would take paint­ing lessons. But the tra­di­tion is fad­ing away. "Not so many young peo­ple are in­ter­ested in it or the ones who stud­ied it in art schools can­not make a liv­ing out of it", Mani­rat Svasti­wat na Ayut­thaya, food carv­ing ex­pert said. — AFP

A paint­ing de­pict­ing Thai­land's Queen Sirikit adorns an elab­o­rate fruit and veg­etable dec­o­ra­tion dur­ing a fruit and veg­etable carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion in Bangkok.

A carved wa­ter­melon is dis­played.

An elab­o­rate dis­play of carved fruits and veg­eta­bles is dis­played dur­ing a fruit and veg­etable carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

The carved wa­ter­mel­ons are dis­played dur­ing a fruit and veg­etable carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

A carved pa­paya is dis­played.

A carved wa­ter­melon is dis­played dur­ing a fruit and veg­etable carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion.— AFP pho­tos

A Thai woman carves a veg­etable into the form of a rose dur­ing a fruit and veg­etable carv­ing com­pe­ti­tion.

A carved wa­ter­melon is dis­played.

A carved pump­kin is dis­played.

Thai girls carve flo­ral pat­terns into fruits.

A carved wa­ter­melon is dis­played.

A Thai boy carves flo­ral pat­terns into a wa­ter­melon.

A Thai man helps put to­gether an elab­o­rate dec­o­ra­tion.

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