Vintage Asian is an art, design and culture blog. An online gallery of vintage Asian design, oriental antiques and art, and retro Asian culture - music, fashion, film. Curated by hand. Memories of memories - each item in the collection has a story. Browse to start the remembering process.

Thai
Letter from a Rented Wife

Letter from a Rented Wife

Deep cuts. During the Vietnam War, thousands of American soldiers found themselves transported to a temporary home in Udon Thani, in the heart of the country’s North East region close to the Laos border. They cut their mark on this provincial outpost and Udon cut a mark upon them. Many men, of course, were very...
Floating Market

Floating Market

Bangkok is a city of slowly fading ghosts. Every city is graced with its own urban decay. To some people, derelict buildings and their rusty, crumbling structures are eyesores. To others, they’re spatial poetry. Bangkok, for a stretch of years following the Asian economic crash of 1997, had a generous share of architectural ghosts. Skeletal...
Once-Upon-a-Time Songkran

Once-Upon-a-Time Songkran

Turn back time for a look at Thailand’s famous Songkran Festival in years past. Today, Songkran – the Thai New Year – is a water war. Wild and crazy Thai teenagers, grown-up “teenagers”, excited tourists, children and people of all ages roam the street with water canons, giant buckets full of ice, icy-hot paste and...
Thai Graphic Design with a Retro Twist

Thai Graphic Design with a Retro Twist

Delicious design. I snapped this sign at the back of a rural Northern Thai market. It’s a restaurant hawking Southern Thai food. I didn’t have a chance to try the culinary artistry but I fell in love with the bold colours and the kaleidoscope of fonts, including some retro styled lettering. The pot-bellied fellow in...
Thai Vintage Modern

Thai Vintage Modern

Haunting Time Warp. Palmy, Thailand’s spiral-locked Pop goddess, twirls through Bangkok’s beautifully antiquated Nightingale-Olympic Department Store in this 2011 music video. I’ve been meaning for a long time to drop by the store to do an impromptu photo shoot of its dusty glory. The 1960s Thai Chinatown grandeur frozen in time… well, not frozen so...
Getting Hammered - Another Antique Thai Drinking Bowl

Getting Hammered – Another Antique Thai Drinking Bowl

Another beautiful hammered brass bowl, or ‘kan nam’. Of course, their primary use was for good ole plain pure water, but who’s to say there was never some ‘lao kao’ (rice whiskey) or ‘ya dong’ (herb-infused liquor masquerading as medicine) swirling around its intricate designs? While the outside of this antique drinking bowl is quite...
Funny Retro Thai Commercial

Funny Retro Thai Commercial

Thai advertising gem. Comedians impersonate Western pop stars to promote an apartment building, Flat Pla Tong (Goldfish Flats), on Rangsit Road at the northern outskirts of Bangkok. Watch as Thai Stevie Wonder, Tina Turner, Madonna and others croon about public bus access and the low down payment. Thailand’s well-developed advertising industry rakes in a disproportionate...
Antique Thai Drinking Bowl

Antique Thai Drinking Bowl

Handmade hammered brass bowl from Thailand. Drinking bowls are a symbol of Thai hospitality. Until just a few decades ago it was still very common to find these in front of houses along the roads and paths of rural Thailand. The cups would sit atop an urn of water, welcome to all passersby and strangers...
Siam's Buddhist Heritage - Rare 1910 Colour Film

Siam’s Buddhist Heritage – Rare 1910 Colour Film

Old colour films always make me a little excited. It’s like you’re looking at a world that you previously believed to be in black and white. The captions to this film on YouTube state that it’s the ordination of an abbot, though I think it’s in fact the ordination of a monk. (The abbot would...
Lanna Thai Buffalo Bell

Lanna Thai Buffalo Bell

Wind chimes sounding through the northern Thai hillsides. The buffalo is the backbone of Thailand. Tilling rice paddies. Bringing food to Thai tables for centuries. Just like a cow bell, the buffalo bell would be draped from the animal’s neck in order to help farmers locate their wandering livestock. The old “bell” shown here has...
Human Universals

Human Universals

Like White on Rice. Laundry detergent commercials, apparently, are universal and timeless. This Breeze detergent commercial from 1973 Thailand (the Thai Buddhist year 2516) comes sans subtitles, but even if you don’t speak Thai, you will have no problem following the familiar narrative. Take dirty clothes. Make them dirty. See how sparkling white they emerge....
Siam Sterling

Siam Sterling

Looks Can Be Deceiving. The inside of this bracelet is stamped SIAM STERLING. Two words that evoke an era when Thailand was thought of as the ‘exotic Orient’. I think we’ve moved beyond that, but perhaps I’m a bit biased having spent most of my adult life in these theoretically exotic regions. In the 1950s,...