Flight of the Gibbon, Thailand's most visited zipline canopy tour, announces the opening of a new hill tribe museum at their Maekompong village location, just 55 minutes outside of Chiang Mai in northern Thailand.
The Flight of the Gibbon Hill Tribe Collection contains sculpture, instruments, pottery, clothing and weaponry representative of the Karen (or Galiang), Akha, Lahu, Hmong/Miao and Mien/Yao hill Tribes. Hill tribe is a term used in Thailand for all of the various tribal peoples who migrated from China and Tibet over the past few centuries. The hill tribes of Northern Thailand were traditionally nomadic peoples, living by slash and burn agriculture to farm heavily forested communities, and by keeping domestic animals, such as pigs, chickens and buffalo.
The collection includes exquisite and intricately hand-woven, brightly colored clothing featuring silver woven into tassels and garments, as well as reed pipes, end-blown and side-flutes, metal gongs, and water buffalo drums used in traditional tribal music. Favored weaponry, including knives, axes and clubs along with sculpture and pottery representing tribal usage from as far back as the 6th century are also on display. Several one-of-a kind Akha headdresses and covers are featured near hand-batiked Hmong Njua traditional jackets, skirts and baby carriers. The Karen are master weavers and tools of their trade, like a spinning wheel, gin and back-strap loom, are displayed. A Mien priest's staff and sacred book and 4-sided money stamp are rare items visitors to the rainforest would rarely get to view.
The collection includes pieces which may be worn or used by every member of a hill tribe family keeping it interesting for all ages.
The Museum is open during hours when Flight of the Gibbon operates its zipline tours, between 10A and 4P daily and weekends. Visitors can also sample and purchase teas and coffees grown in and around Maekompong village and Chiang Mai province while inside the museum. Air-conditioned van transportation to MaeKompong is encouraged, and provided by Flight of the Gibbon for free with a zipline tour or for a fee based on availability. More details are available at http://www.treetopasia.com.
"Many of the pieces demonstrate influences on modern, contemporary Thai tribal lifestyles. The intrinsic value of this collection is defined by its juxtaposition of colorful rhythmic patterns through traditionally worn garments, woven into the display with wind and string instruments, sculpture and tribal artifacts. Historical preservation is complemented through its unique presentation set high among the back drop of dramatic rainforest mountain terrain, where the museum was constructed." According to Mitchell Rosenzweig*, the curator for the collection and Flight of the Gibbon Hill Tribe Museum.
Mitchell Rosenzweig spends most of his time painting, experimenting with sculpture and filmmaking. He has exhibited his work throughout the USA in galleries and museums in Santa Fe, New York City and the northeastern states of Maine and New Hampshire. Mitchell is a colorist whose canvases never seem to busy or meandering no matter how many colors he employs, and was an ideal choice to organize the highly colorful tribal artifacts at the heart of the collection.
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