Banbatt Community

Ancientcrafts

Chime in breath

spirit of monk’s alms bowl

Batt Ban Chan

 

  • About the community
  • Types of monk’s alms bowl
  • Process of making monk’s alms bowl
  • Size of monk’s alms bowl

 

About the community

By the time before being “Ban Batt Community”

King Chulalongkorn, the first emperor of the Chakri Dynasty, a former royal soldier in Ayutthaya period, wanted Bangkok to be a new capital city since it has been the center of the kingdom. It was a rich rice town, as good as Ayutthaya. The villagers who migrated from the old capital and the original Bangkok had to adapt to survive the most. The original community that formed the local village,

such as the farmer group, the merchants, the Chinese people, and even the traditional occupation groups, were resurrected. For example,


at Bumrungmuang Road after Wat Sa Ket near the crematorium, there were many alleys along the road. In the past, this street was a community of professional people which could make money for the people throughout the year. This community was called "Ban Batt".  

 

It is not clear whenever Baan Bat has been established but it can be estimated that this community lasted more than two hundred years. There are different narrative histories.

The original villagers were Ayutthaya people evacuating when the city was fallen in 1767. Assumed that Baan Bat might have been set up when King Chulalongkorn has established Bangkok to be capital and dug canals around the city in 1783. The villagers had set up houses in the vicinity of the canal at present.

It is also said that the original ancestors were the Ayutthaya people who joined the Thai army in the reign of King Rama 3, then joined together to become a community. Because the king, people in royal family or millionaire would like to build temples. Thus, there are many temples in Bangkok. This community has been famous for making monk’s bowl for more than 100 years.

 

At present, the production of monk’s bowl is very limited and only available as a souvenir or made by order from the monks. This is due to the fact that the "pump bowl" replaced over 30 years ago and has a large share of the market. The pump has high capacity and lower in wholesale price so it is demanded by middle man. Then, the previous monk’s alms bowls changes the quality to be better for competing with the pump bowl. It has to be made from the thick steel for being the handmade product which is followed by discipline. Therefore, monk’s bowl is more expensive because it is made from the high price

According to the quality of the handmade monk’s bowl, compared with the price, it is considered very valuable compared to the pump bowl made by machine. In addition, monk’s bowl also needs to follow discipline. It has a variety of shapes that are inherited from ancient wisdom. The technicians who occupy this profession must do so with real love, made up of faith in Buddhism with respect to the knowledge of the teacher, as well as tools and utensils in every living provision. So, the monk’s bowl from this community has a mixture of merit and labor and also the valuation of the bowl may not be determined by the currency. But it should be worth the mind.

 

Today, this community is located at Crematorium intersection, Soi Baan Bat, Bumrungmuang Road and Boripat Road, Samranrat, Pom Prap Sattru Phai, Bangkok. The area of approximately 37 rai and the land belongs to the Bureau of the Crown Property. General conditions are single and double wooden houses, including modern mortar houses. Pedestrian walkway in the community is made from concrete which is connected continuously.

 

 

Types of monk’s alms bowl

There are 5 types of monk’s bowl as following:-

 

1. Original Thai style, with bluff base and sharp bottom, so it cannot be placed on the floor. Must be placed on the base of the bowl.


2. Tako shape, looks like the original Thai, but the base can be placed on the floor.


3. Lemon shape, it is similar to lemon.


4. Gold apple shape, Lemon-like but it is shorter


5. Tiger head shape, similar to the original Thai but the base slightly cut. This shape can be placed on the floor.

For the original Thai style and Tako shape, they are considered to be ancient style for hundreds of years while the lemon and the gold apple shape are about 80-90 years old. The tiger head shape is the latest style which has been about 30 years. The most popular style is the Tako shape.

 

 

 

Process of making monk’s alms bowl

 

There are 7 processes consisting of

 

Step 1 Make a border. This is the first step in the process of making a bowl. The border determines how the bowl will be sized and shaped. The molding starts from the steel cut to the size, such as a 7-inch steel bowl must cut the steel to 8 inches long to leave space to the two ends when the steel size is desired. Then, circle that steel. The steel can be the lid of the oil tank or steel plate.

Step 2. The steel is cut into a cross, which is called 'Kong', then bent and mold to the edge of the bowl. When it is finished, there will be four rectangular spaces. Technician will measure and cut four cow-shaped steel plates called 'anthurium' teeth around each other for use as seams. Then, bend slightly to the shape of the bowl. When combined, there will be 8 pieces.

Step 3. This step is about welding seam, so the steel is homogeneous. Smear the bowl with copper powder and borax to make sure there is no leak. In ancient times, a hand-boiler has been used to accelerate the fire. But today, electric blower has been used instead.

Step 4. Stripe or shape design. Bring the bowl from step 3 and knock to the desired shape by using 'hammer pattern', which is a curved hammer. Sharp hammer head knocks on the inside of the bowl. For the receptacle, it is a rectangular wooden square with appropriate size.

Step 5. Strike. The iron hammer is used to strike the outside of the bowl so that the convex part of the pattern is smooth. Then it must be 'beaten' on the wood anvil to get the shape you want. Then grind by using a power grinder and then re-decorate beautifully. This will get a silver bowl of shining. 

Step 6. In order to prevent rust, in the past, sulfur has been used. Then bring the bowls together and cover by using pot. The fuel used is teakwood from the wood shop which is around the Golden Mountain. Teak wood is a high heat, so the bowl which is heaped will be black. Then apply coconut oil over again. Today, the rustproof oil is used instead.

Step 7 Coloring is the last step for making bowls in various colors, such as green or black. It depends on the skills of each technician including with Thai craving, affixing, or engraving. These techniques are depended on satisfaction of each technician.

 

Size of monk’s alms bowl

Ban Batt community is the one community in Thailand that have monk’s alms bowl handmade whichmainly aim to make monk’s alms bowl for monk.

It has been a pride of villagers of Ban Batt since now.

There are many different sizes of monk’s alms bowl which are   

1.Monk’s alms bowl sized 3 niches


2.monk’s alms bowl sized 6 niches


3.monk’s alms bowl sized 7 niches


4.monk’s alms bowl sized 8 niches


5.monk’s alms bowl sized 10 niches