“Gold in the ground, treasure in the water.”
The Lanna Story
Enter the lush mountainous region of Northern Thailand, become enchanted as you meander through quiet mountainside villages, down valleys gradually becoming pine forests, passing slender waterfalls that gush down the mountainside at each bend in the road. Every once in a while, the forest opens up to views that stretch into neighbouring Myanmar, and to the west, peaks rise out of the mist—as if in a traditional Chinese landscape painting—and recede into the distance. This is the land in which Lanna Pottery has been handcrafted.
In the villages of a region in Southeast Asia where an idyllic kingdom once prospered, forgotten now except by those whose roots lay there. Below the rugged mountains and deserts of central Asia, with no access to the sea, its position was that of a backwoods crossroads. With many cultural influences significant in Asian history impacting on life there, it became an important cradle of civilisation, from which significant styles in writing, music, weaving, swordplay and pottery emerged. Its name meant, “Land of a million rice fields.”
The word Lanna is actually two words combined: “Lan”, meaning a million and “Na” meaning rice field. Thus, Lanna literally translates to a million rice fields – a reference to the rich agriculture of the region encompassing the Golden Triangle area of present day Thailand, Laos, and Myanmar, where the Lanna civilisation and kingdom, or A-na-chak Lanna flourished over the centuries both as an autonomous and vassal state to Burmese, Thai, and Lao kingdoms. It was only in the early 20th century that Lanna was finally annexed once and for all by the Kingdom of Siam.
“Lanna” is often associated, referred to and described as “Northern Thai” with unique traditions, customs, folk, art, music, and culture. Though sharing many parallels with the Siamese (Thai), Laotian, and even Burmese cultures, the Lanna civilisation has harnessed a truly unique cultural character throughout more than a millennium of existence.
Today, remnants of Lanna culture, language, art, and identity are still strongly apparent in the people and way of life in Northern Thailand and northwest Laos.