Luk Thep are dolls made in Thailand which according to an old legend would be possessed by the spirits of deceased children.
Luk Thep, dolls like no other...

Credit : Reserved Rights (DR)

We first hear about the Thai phenomenon of the Luk Thep in 2015, when a woman named Mananya Boonmee claims to own an impressive collection of dolls and in which she would confirm that they would be haunted by childish entities. As the country has been facing a considerable drop in the birth rate for several decades (from 6.15 children per woman in 1960 to 1.48 children per woman today), the manufacture of these toys would have appeared to be an ideal solution to the major problem of accelerated population ageing.

How was this concept born, which at first glance may seem both strange and slightly morbid? What does the term “Luk Thep” mean? Is it really possible to “lock” children’s minds in objects? These many questions, which raise both questions and scepticism, seem to have been explained.

Let’s start with the meaning of “Luk Thep”. If we translate this term into english, it would mean “angel-child”.

When Mrs. Boonmee lost her son, she was so affected by this disappearance that she decided to design a doll that would have similar physical attractions to those of her child, she named it Petch. Once the manufacture of the latter was completed, Mananya allegedly asked the goddess of procreation in the Hindu religion Parvati to donate a soul to the object in question by incantations.

Following these events, Mrs. Boonmee launched her Luk Thep design shop, which in the space of a year has become a real fashion phenomenon in Thailand, since the government has even made airlines allow these objects to travel with their owners on flights, so that the latter are treated as “real children” by buying tickets with their names on them. Some of them have even brought luck or positively disrupted their daily lives to their owners according to the testimonies reported by the latter.

However, Ms. Boonmee’s claim as the inventor of the Luk Thep concept is only partially true. Indeed, she simply based herself on an ancestral custom in her country, which consisted in recovering the foetuses of stillborn children, which would be partially burned and then preserved via an embalming product so that the souls of the latter remain trapped in their original body shell. Except that at that time, we were not talking about Luk Thep, but about Kuman Tong. As for the reported fact that she had asked Parvati for divine intervention, this is more a matter of religious belief, because in reality they are Buddhist monks who would be asked to ensure that the Luk Thep have a life through rituals and blessings. Moreover, the demands would be so strong that the religious authorities fear that one day or another the dolls will be completely abandoned or even abandoned in front of the temples.

Whatever your opinion on the spirituality of the Luk Thep and the fact that they are owned by ghosts of children, know that the price of these dolls is relatively expensive since it would be between 68.45 and 693.25 euros, and that these objects would start to be exported to other countries like the United States.

Credit-Image à la une : Reserved Rights (DR)

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Pière J. Robin
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