Saturday, February 26, 2011

Spirit House

In front of every 7 Eleven, bank, Wat, private residence or hotel sits a miniature structure whose architectural style is as varied as the buildings in Thailand.  The purpose -- to provide shelter for the guardian spirits of the land. According to Buddhist culture these finicky and mischievous celestial beings are capable of disastrous interference if they aren't respected and honored.  Construction is a specialized field and must be executed by an expert who is familiar with the necessary rituals so the invited spirit will deem it an acceptable earthly abode.  The houses are often furnished with statues, small figures, symbols and furniture.  Daily offerings in the form of incense, wreathes of marigolds, clementines and Fanta are placed on exterior balconies and porches.   They remind me of elaborate dollhouses where life is acted out in fantastic, miniature style.

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