Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Traditional Thai Arts and Architectures

Bang Pa-In Summer Palace,Ayutthaya, Hun Lakhon LekTraditional Thai Arts and Architectures

With the history going back more than seven centuries, Thailand is a country of scenic diversity and ancient traditions. By absorbing variety of cultural influences, the kingdom nicely blend them into a unique culture of its own and it is graciously reflected in the arts and architectures around the country. As a kingdom of Buddhism, the magnificent Buddhism architectural is visible in the temples, murals and Buddha images; and in the classical performing arts, traditional music and folk play.

Thai classical art can be divided into five main eras, which are Srivijaya, Khmer, Sukhothai, Ayutthaya and Rattanakosin.

The Srivijaya and Khmer
Srivijaya was the Malay Kingdom that covered the south of Thailand during the 7th to 13th centuries and is the reference to the south's arts and architectures, mainly Buddhist temples and Buddha images. Apart from the south, other regions of Thailand were influenced by the powerful Khmer Empire. The exotic Khmer inspiration can be seen at many historical parks, temples and statues today.

The Sukhothai
Sukhothai period which was in the 13th and 14th centuries considered as the start of the Thai kingdom in the Thai history. Arts and architectures during that period illustrate the prosperous and peaceful character of Sukhothai which permeates Theravada Buddhism through the forms, dimensions, and appearance of their temples and Buddha images. Chinese artisans have started to come and influence the Thai arts by helping Sukhothai produce classical ceramics.

The Ayutthaya
The inspiration from the Sukhothai era, coupled with the influences from outside the country became clearly visible through arts and architectures of Ayutthaya during the 15th to 18th centuries. The Chinese artisans played an important role in introducing many types of art to Ayutthaya such as the multi-colored painting, lacquerwork, mother-of-pearl inlay, and some forms of music. One of the greatest resemblances of Ayutthaya architectures is the Grand Palace, whose plan is identical to that of the former royal palace at Ayutthaya.

The Rattanakosin
Rattanakosin period have started since 1782, the same time as the birth of Bangkok, the present capital city of Thailand. Until today, arts and architectures have developed to perfection in many forms, styles and designs. The unique combination of the culture and religion of Thailand, and the influences from the outside create magnificent architectural beauty, which can be seen everywhere in the country such as the palace, temples and museum.

Source: Thailand Travel Manual by TAT

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