Tucked behind the Nai Lert Hotel, alongside the San Saeb canal and underneath an ancient ficus tree, lies a shrine dedicated to the goddess Tubtim. Originally a spirit house, the place where the spirit of the land (who was disrupted by your building on it) would reside, the shrine evolved over time into an unintentional fertility shrine as more and more worshipers brought offerings of phalluses. Ranging from the symbolic to the highly realistic, the collection fills the area around the shrine.
While my friend David and Chor Pharn were visiting from Singapore, we stopped by for a look. Here’s a short video to give you a sense of the setting.
A healthy selection of phallus-shaped offerings left around the largest ficus tree at the shrine. The irony is, sex toys are illegal in Thailand so if you were to try to bring a legitimate dildo into the country, you would be stopped. By highly realistic phalluses for the purpose of spirit worship? That’s okay.
Some of these phalluses are quite detailed. And at least one has studs in it, perhaps representing the Folsom Street Fair community?
Normally, spirit houses have some small sculptural figures meant to represent both the spirits as well as those who are there to entertain and serve them. So many figures have been added that they are arranged on two adjacent shelves. You can see the San Saeb canal in the background.
The figures include representation of parents as well as a host of animals.
Also, there are more than 100 traditional Thai dancers to keep the spirits entertained.
And, inexplicably, a pair of male dolls. Barbie’s gay brother Eric and his lover Stephen? The women on the upper shelf are all ladies in waiting.
Who’s living in the spirit house? I spy a kitten!
This one seems to have a fungal infection. Experiencing any itching or burning sensation?
On a tangential note, I thought I’d share this picture of the jasmine garlands that are sold by local flower vendors. These are the types of garlands that Tawn and Chor Pharn were trying to make in this entry.