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Traditional Thai Artist Carves Exquisitely Detailed Sculptures Out of Soap

Narong carved soap

Thai artist Narong is carrying a long tradition with his elaborate carved soaps. Delicately carving out intricate patterns in the soft medium, he's able to achieve incredibly complex designs. Soap carving has a long tradition in Thailand, originating from the act of sculpting fruit and vegetables.

The artform comes from Sukothai which, starting in the 13th century, was the historic capital of the Thai Empire for almost 150 years. History tells us that in preparation for the Loi Krathong festival, one of the King's servants named Nang Noppamart thought about how she could improve her decorations. As the festival calls for decorated baskets to float on a river, she carved a flower and bird to enhance her basket, sparking a tradition.

Narong's work thus comes from a long cultural heritage. Though soap and vegetable carving fell out of popularity after the 1932 Siamese revolution, it is now gaining in popularity with young children often taught the craft in school. From more traditional floral patterns and dragons to contemporary figures, Narong is pushing the limits of what is possible with soap carving.

These incredible soap sculptures carry on the long tradition of Thai soap carving.

Narong carved soapNarong carved soapNarong Thai Soap CarvingNarong Thai Soap CarvingNarong carved soapNarong carved soapNarong Thai Soap CarvingSoap Carving by NarongSoap Carving by NarongCarved Soap Sculptures by NarongCarved Soap Sculptures by NarongNarong carved soapNarong carved soapNarong: Instagram
h/t: [Colossal]

All images via Narong.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Contributing Writer and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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