Wat Chiang Man, Chiang Mai, Thailand

high-definition creative commons photographs from this old temple in Chiang Mai City, Thailand, showing the fine monochrome murals and the excellent glass mosaic work, together with further information.

Play Moving Slideshow (48)

 

General View of Main Viharn

General View of Main Viharn

Kirtimukha on Gable

Kirtimukha on Gable

Kirtimukha with Glass

Kirtimukha with Glass

Dhammacakka on Glass

Dhammacakka on Glass

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Festooned Buddha

Festooned Buddha

Buddha Statue from 1465

Buddha Statue from 1465

Interior of Main Viharn

Interior of Main Viharn

Interior of Main Viharn

Interior of Main Viharn

Corner Murals

Corner Murals

Musicians

Musicians

Rahula and Buddha

Rahula and Buddha

King

King

Festival

Festival

Buddha Statue on Elephant Back

Buddha Statue on Elephant Back

City Life

City Life

Waters of Donation

Waters of Donation

Erecting Buddha Statue

Erecting Buddha Statue

Writing the Tipitaka

Writing the Tipitaka

Descending the Stairway

Descending the Stairway

Corner Mural

Corner Mural

Musicians

Musicians

Bird-Elephant

Bird-Elephant

Four Monks

Four Monks

Elephant and Mahout

Elephant and Mahout

Offerings

Offerings

Returning to the City

Returning to the City

On Elephant Back

On Elephant Back

In the City

In the City

In the Country

In the Country

Thewada

Thewada

Petitioning the King

Petitioning the King

Unidentified Scene

Unidentified Scene

Small Viharn

Small Viharn

Pediment

Pediment

Glass Design

Glass Design

Small Viharn

Small Viharn

Inside Small Viharn

Inside Small Viharn

Shrine

Shrine

Lanterns and Pillar

Lanterns and Pillar

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Glass Mosaic

Naga at the Door

Naga at the Door

 

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Wat Chiang Man is the oldest Wat in the City. It was built in 1297, one year after King Mangrai began the city, and is situated in the auspicious northern sector of the City. The Viharn also has the oldest recorded Buddha statue in Chiang Mai, dated on its base to 1465, it is the first one known in Thailand to show the Buddha holding an almsbowl.

The Main Viharn was renovated in 1926 by Khru Ba Srivichai (1878-1938), who accomplished many such works during his lifetime and is considered a Lanna Saint. When we were there the inside of the temple was being festooned for an up-and-coming almsgiving ceremony the following day.

The two things that most impressed me were first, the glasswork at the temple, and secondly the elegant murals on the walls. The scenes are described in quite some detail by the writing on them, but it is all in Lanna script, which only a very few people know nowadays. I have tried to summarise the scenes depicted, but if anyone can read the script and give me more accurate information I would be grateful.

There is a second, smaller Viharn which has been built in modern times, which contains two important Buddha statues in a shrine (ku). Unfortunately the statues are so small, and the shrine so big, I found it impossible to get good photographs of these ancient images, which are so revered in the City.

It seems I missed photographing some important buildings when I was there: the old Chedi, the Scripture Hall and the pond, one of only two found in Wats in Chiang Mai. If I ever return...

 

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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