TITLE Thai Phuan Housing : The Utilization in the Way of Life of People in
Amphoe Ban Phue, Changwat Udon Thani
AUTHOR Mr. Khamphai Thachat
ADVISORS Dr. Sunatr Phosan and Dr. Sastra Laoakka
DEGREE M.A. MAJOR Cultural Science
2009 Mahasarakham University
Housing are dwelling places of human beings, regarded as one of 4 necessities of life. Each ethnic group has its own house style as its identity. Thai Phuan houses have their very interesting shape and style. Thai Phuan people use indigenous knowledge to build their houses with sanitary conditions different from the houses of other ethnic groups in several ways. This study aimed to examine the background of Thai Phuan houses in the area of Amphoe Ban Phue, Changwat Udon Thani, and to investigate the utilization of Thai Phuan houses involving the way of life of Amphoe Ban Phue people in Changwat Udon Thani. The qualitative research was conducted in the area of 7 villages in Amphoe Ban Phue from June 2006 to September 2009. The sample consisted of 12 key informants,
35 casual informants, and 15 general informants. The instruments used for collecting data were a basic survey, participant and non-participant observation forms, structured- and untructured- interview forms, and a note-taking form on focused group discussion.
The collected data were checked using triangulation technique. The data were analyzed according to the study purposes. The finding were then presented by means of a descriptive analysis.
The findings revealed that Thai Phuan houses were wooden houses with
a high-raised upper floor on high pillars, gable-shaped roofs roofed with “mai ket”
(fish-scale-liked wooden tiles) or “din kho” (baked-clay tiles with hooks). They also used zinc iron roofs because zinc was lighter and more durable than wooden tiles. Pillar were made of hard wood. The upper floor was covered with “paen” (thick planks). The house walls were popularly made of thin wooden portions. On the wooden wall above the bed head there was a small wind hole called “pong iam”. The upper house-floor was used as
bed rooms, for relaxation, a kitchen, and a dining room. On the wall in the east there was a shelf for worshipping or a separate room for keeping valuable things, sacred Things as well as ancestors’ ashes. A separate room in the west was for daughters. Inside the house the area for utilization was proportionally divided. The area under the house was used for performing such work as basket weaving, cloth weaving, other handicraft work; for keeping tools for trapping animals, farming tools, or pens for keeping such different domestic animals as cows, buffaloes, pigs, ducks, and chickens. In addition, the area under the house was used for setting stretchers or beds and small low tables for sitting on and lying on when the house owners were tired from work as well as for reception of visiting guests during the day.
Thai Phuan houses were small or large depending upon the range or length between the house pillars. Normally, the houses were built with gable-shaped roofs facing along the east-west direction. That was, the house roofs would slope down towards north and south. There might be exceptions based on some other limitations such as the area was inappropriate for building the house according to the traditional beliefs and the beliefs as mentioned decreased. Thus building the house at present depends upon the house owners’ satisfaction. The building of the eaves from the house body to make the kitchen, the bath-room or the shelter for keeping different materials and utensils by lowering the level according to the proportion and separating to be other parts was not included as the rooms of the house. Therefore, Thai Phuan houses had been developed in the kitchen structure by extending the eaves of the house. On the compound near the house a rice barn was often built for keeping paddy rice. At present, Thai Phuan people who have good economic status build western-style buildings for living in, or build urban community style buildings. However, the houses of Thai Phuan people who have moderate economic status still remain their house style with high-raised upper floor as usual. They have moved animal pens from under the house to make their house more sanitary.
In conclusion, Thai Phuan houses were valuable dwelling places with security and strength. The houses could assure safety and utilization in the way of life of Amphoe Ban Phue people in Changwat Udon Thani. Although geographical and social conditions have changed, influencing the way of construction, the house structure and selection of durable materials are still in existence. These things are related to the environment and can well respond to utilization according to the values of the house owners.