Banana Stem Horse
(A toy horse made from banana leaves)
The invention of this kind of a Thai toy reflects the cleverness of the Thais.
Thais are familiar with the natural surrounding, and when they get together and form a social group, they try to adapt themselves to harmonize with the natural environment. They wisely make use of nature around them and also preserve it well. Thai children are clever enough to make some toys out of the natural plants nearby.
The banana stem horse is a toy horse made from banana leaves, and is usually well known among Thai boys. They get a great deal of fun out of playing with this toy horse.
It is easy to make the banana stem horse. Children can even make it themselves. Besides, it is easy to find banana trees which are available almost everywhere in Thailand.
After they get a banana leaf of a proper length, they remove the leaf from both sides of the stem, but leave a little of the leaf at the end of the stem to be the horse’s tail. Then about 5-6 inches away from the base of the stem, they gently slice the stem on both sides so it’s not cut off. That will be the horse’s ears. Then, they bend the stem down where it is slightly cut to make the horse’s head, and the ears on both sides will stand up. The next step is to stick a piece of pointed bamboo into the horse’s head so that it will be firmly attached to its body. The bridle to control the horse is made from banana straw peeled from the banana stem, and the whip is made from a bamboo stick.
The children can play with the toy horse in different ways. They can play alone or with their friends by riding around or running a race holding the toy horse between their legs. If there are many children, they can be devided into two armies fighting each other by holding the toy horse between their legs in one hand a bamboo stick as a sword in the other hand.
The banana stem horse is, therefore, an interesting Thai native toy which can be simply made from banana leaves easily found in Thailand. In addition, while playing with this toy horse, the children can exercise and learn how to play the leader and the follower. Above all, the invention of the banana stem horse shows the uniqueness of the Thai ingenuity.
Translator : Dr. Pornthip Krairussamee PH.D
22 January 2000