National Museum, Bangkok, Thailand

high-definition creative commons photographs from the National Museum, Bangkok, Thailand together with further information.

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Periods and Styles

 

Dwaravati Period (6th - 11th centuries)

Dwaravati was a culture of the historic kingdoms in Thailand. Dwaravati, recognized as the earliest Buddhist culture, developed among the societies in the central part of Thailand and then spread to other parts of the country, i.e., the east, the northeast, the upper south and the lower north, from the sixth to the eleventh century CE (1,000 - 1,500 years ago).

The Dwaravati culture had developed initially from prehistoric and early historic cultures and assimilated aspects of Indian culture. The majority of the Dwaravati sculptures reflect the Theravada Buddhist faith and practice of people. Nevertheless, some religious sculptures that were created previously or contemporaneously, were influenced by Hindu and Mahāyāna Buddhist traditions. During the eleventh to twelfth century, the religious sculptures of the upper north of Thailand continued to exercise their influence on Dwaravati style.

01 Dhammacakka, 7c, Dwaravati

01 Dhammacakka, 7c, Dwaravati

02 Dhammacakka, Dwaravati

02 Dhammacakka, Dwaravati

03 Dhammacakka, Dwaravati

03 Dhammacakka, Dwaravati

04 Crouching Deer, 7c, Dwaravati

04 Crouching Deer, 7c, Dwaravati

05 Buddha Head, 8c, Dwaravati

05 Buddha Head, 8c, Dwaravati

06 Buddha Head, 8c, Dwaravati

06 Buddha Head, 8c, Dwaravati

07 Buddha Meditating, 8c, Dwaravati

07 Buddha Meditating, 8c, Dwaravati

08 Calling the Earth, 8c, Dwaravati

08 Calling the Earth, 8c, Dwaravati

09 Standing and Preaching, 8c, Dwaravati

09 Standing and Preaching, 8c, Dwaravati

010 Blessing Buddha, 8c, Dwaravati

010 Blessing Buddha, 8c, Dwaravati

011 Buddha under Mucilinda, 8c, Dwaravati

011 Buddha under Mucilinda, 8c, Dwaravati

012 Mucilinda, 9c, Dwaravati

012 Mucilinda, 9c, Dwaravati

013 Sima Marker, 9c, Dwaravati

013 Sima Marker, 9c, Dwaravati

014 Chaddanta Jataka, 7c, Dwaravati

014 Chaddanta Jataka, 7c, Dwaravati

015 Bodhisattva, 7c, Dwaravati

015 Bodhisattva, 7c, Dwaravati

016 Bodhisattva, 8th c, Dwaravati

016 Bodhisattva, 8th c, Dwaravati

017 Avalokitesvara, 7c, Dwaravati

017 Avalokitesvara, 7c, Dwaravati

018 Vishnu, 8c, Dwaravati

018 Vishnu, 8c, Dwaravati

019 Visnu, 5c, Dwaravati

019 Visnu, 5c, Dwaravati

020 Noble Women, 7c, Dwaravati

020 Noble Women, 7c, Dwaravati

021 Female Musicians, 8c, Dwaravati

021 Female Musicians, 8c, Dwaravati

 

Srivijaya (8th -13th centuries)

Srivijaya was a kingdom that developed into a federation of states, encompassing states on the archipelago of the present-day Indonesia, such as, Sumatra and Java, and on the Thai-Malay Peninsula, such as, Malaysia and Southern Thailand. It flourished between the eighth and thirteenth century CE (800 - 1,300 years ago).

The elements of Srivijayan culture found in the region suggest that Srivijaya was a center of the Mahāyāna Buddhist World considering the philosophical propagation and artistic tradition. Thus, the Srivijayan Buddhist sculptures and architectures found in Thailand are mostly related to Mahāyāna and Vajrayāna Buddhism. It was particularly popular for Buddhists to produce icons of Bodhisattvas.

022 Mucilinda, 12c, Srivijaya

022 Mucilinda, 12c, Srivijaya

023 Vairocana Buddha, 9c, Srivijaya

023 Vairocana Buddha, 9c, Srivijaya

024 Avalokitesvara, 10c, Srivijaya

024 Avalokitesvara, 10c, Srivijaya

025 Avalokitesvara, 7th c, Srivijaya

025 Avalokitesvara, 7th c, Srivijaya

026 Avalokitesvara, 9c, Srivijaya

026 Avalokitesvara, 9c, Srivijaya

 

Lopburi or Khmer (11-13th centuries)

The term “Lopburi⏑ derives from the town or state’s name “Lavapura⏑ or “Lavapuri⏑ that emerged in Thailand in the seventh century CE. This term refers to a typical style of Hindu and Mahāyāna Buddhist sculptures and architectures found in the central, east and northeast regions of Thailand during the seventh to thirteenth century CE (800 - 1,400 years ago).

There had been long cultural relation and interaction between the ancient states of Thailand and those of Cambodia. The style was comparable with those styles of Khmer sculptures and architectures in Cambodia, therefore, the ‘Ancient Khmer Style of Thailand’ is used as an alternative term for “Lopburi Style⏑. Nevertheless, the artworks of the ancient Cambodia and those of the regions had their own distinctive features.

027 Antefix, 13c, Lopburi

027 Antefix, 13c, Lopburi

028 Three Buddhas, 13c, Lopburi

028 Three Buddhas, 13c, Lopburi

029 Buddha holding Screen, 13c, Lopburi

029 Buddha holding Screen, 13c, Lopburi

030 Mucilinda Stele, 12c, Lopburi

030 Mucilinda Stele, 12c, Lopburi

031 Mucilinda, 13c, Lopburi

031 Mucilinda, 13c, Lopburi

032 Mucilinda, 11c, Lopburi

032 Mucilinda, 11c, Lopburi

033 Mucilinda, 11c, Lopburi

033 Mucilinda, 11c, Lopburi

034 Mucilinda, 12c, Lopburi

034 Mucilinda, 12c, Lopburi

035 Mucilinda, 11c, Lopburi

035 Mucilinda, 11c, Lopburi

036 Mucilinda, 12c, Lopburi

036 Mucilinda, 12c, Lopburi

037 Mucilinda, 13c, Lopburi

037 Mucilinda, 13c, Lopburi

038 Buddha Head, 12c, Lopburi

038 Buddha Head, 12c, Lopburi

039 Buddha Head, 13c, Lopburi

039 Buddha Head, 13c, Lopburi

040 Mucilinda (with Broken Hood), 13c, Lopburi

040 Mucilinda (with Broken Hood), 13c, Lopburi

041 Standing Buddha 1, 13c, Lopburi

041 Standing Buddha 1, 13c, Lopburi

042 Lotus Hand, 13c, Lopburi

042 Lotus Hand, 13c, Lopburi

043 Standing Buddha 2, 13c, Lopburi

043 Standing Buddha 2, 13c, Lopburi

044 Standing Buddha 3, 13c, Lopburi

044 Standing Buddha 3, 13c, Lopburi

045 Buddha Head, 13c, Lopburi

045 Buddha Head, 13c, Lopburi

046 Buddha Meditating, 13c, Lopburi

046 Buddha Meditating, 13c, Lopburi

047 Medicine Buddha, 12c, Lopburi

047 Medicine Buddha, 12c, Lopburi

048 Avalokitesvara, 13c, Lopburi

048 Avalokitesvara, 13c, Lopburi

049 Avalokitesvara, 11c, Lopburi

049 Avalokitesvara, 11c, Lopburi

050 Avalokitesvara, 13c, Lopburi

050 Avalokitesvara, 13c, Lopburi

051 Avalokitesvara Head, 12c, Lopburi

051 Avalokitesvara Head, 12c, Lopburi

052 Avalokitesvara Stele, 12c, Lopburi

052 Avalokitesvara Stele, 12c, Lopburi

053 Prajnaparamita, 13c, Lopburi

053 Prajnaparamita, 13c, Lopburi

054 Prajnaparamita, Hevajra and Vajrasatta, 13c, Lopburi

054 Prajnaparamita, Hevajra and Vajrasatta, 13c, Lopburi

055 Brahma, 11c, Lopburi

055 Brahma, 11c, Lopburi

056 Brahma, 10c, Lopburi

056 Brahma, 10c, Lopburi

057 Siva, 11c, Lopburi

057 Siva, 11c, Lopburi

058 Visvakarman, 13c, Lopburi

058 Visvakarman, 13c, Lopburi

059 Garuda, 13c, Lopburi

059 Garuda, 13c, Lopburi

060 Apsaras, 11c, Lopburi

060 Apsaras, 11c, Lopburi

061 Female, 11c, Lopburi

061 Female, 11c, Lopburi

062 Guardian, 11c, Lopburi

062 Guardian, 11c, Lopburi

063 Arch, 13c, Lopburi

063 Arch, 13c, Lopburi

064 Lintel, 10c, Lopburi

064 Lintel, 10c, Lopburi

065 Lintel, 11c, Lopburi

065 Lintel, 11c, Lopburi

066 Ramayana Lintel, 11c, Lopburi

066 Ramayana Lintel, 11c, Lopburi

067 Pilaster with Apsara, 11c, Lopburi

067 Pilaster with Apsara, 11c, Lopburi

The Kingdom of Sukhothai (1238 until 1438)

Sukhothai was an early kingdom in the area around the city Sukhothai, in north central Thailand, which eventually extended its borders east into Laos, west into modern-day Myanmar and south towards what is now Bangkok.

In terms of culture the Sukhothai was Theravādin in religion, and saw the introduction of the traditions from Sri Lanka. Traditionally this has been regarded as the foundation of the Thai state, as it was no longer subject to other states in the area.

068 Walking Buddha, 15c, Sukhothai

068 Walking Buddha, 15c, Sukhothai

069 Walking Buddha, 14c, Sukhothai

069 Walking Buddha, 14c, Sukhothai

070 Walking Buddha, 15c, Sukhothai

070 Walking Buddha, 15c, Sukhothai

071 Walking Buddha, 14c, Sukhothai

071 Walking Buddha, 14c, Sukhothai

072 Calling the Earth, 15c, Sukhothai

072 Calling the Earth, 15c, Sukhothai

073 Buddha Head, 14c, Sukhothai

073 Buddha Head, 14c, Sukhothai

074 Buddha Head, 14c, Sukhothai

074 Buddha Head, 14c, Sukhothai

075 Buddha Head, 15c, Sukhothai

075 Buddha Head, 15c, Sukhothai

076 Buddha Head, 15c, Sukhothai

076 Buddha Head, 15c, Sukhothai

077 Visnu, 14c, Sukhothai

077 Visnu, 14c, Sukhothai

078 Isvara, 14c, Sukhothai

078 Isvara, 14c, Sukhothai

079 Isvara, 14c, Sukhothai

079 Isvara, 14c, Sukhothai

080 Harihara, 15c, Sukhothai

080 Harihara, 15c, Sukhothai

081 Harihara, 15c, Sukhothai

081 Harihara, 15c, Sukhothai

082 Devas, 15c, Sukhothai

082 Devas, 15c, Sukhothai

083 Celing Decoration, 14th c, Sukhothai

083 Celing Decoration, 14th c, Sukhothai

 

The Kingdom of Ayutthaya (also spelled Ayudhya or Ayodhaya) (1351 to 1767)

The Kingdom of Ayutthaya was founded south of the centre of the Sukhothai kingdom, and didn’t so much as overthrow the former state as absorb it, including its culture and traditions. Ayutthaya greatly expanded its borders, and was sometimes known as the Ayutthayan Empire. This is also the first time the kingdom was called Siam.

Culturally the Kingdom was Theravādin, but with some admixture of brahminical traditions, which was to continue until the present day. Literature and theatre flourished during this period, as well as architecture and sculpture.

084 Buddha Head, 16c, Ayutthaya

084 Buddha Head, 16c, Ayutthaya

085 Buddha Head, 16c, Ayutthaya

085 Buddha Head, 16c, Ayutthaya

086 Buddha Head, 14c, Ayutthaya

086 Buddha Head, 14c, Ayutthaya

087 Calling the Earth, beneath Tree, 16c, Ayutthaya

087 Calling the Earth, beneath Tree, 16c, Ayutthaya

088 Calling the Earth 16c, Ayutthaya

088 Calling the Earth 16c, Ayutthaya

089 Calling the Earth, 14c, Ayutthaya

089 Calling the Earth, 14c, Ayutthaya

090 Calling the Earth, 14c, Ayutthaya

090 Calling the Earth, 14c, Ayutthaya

091 Calling the Earth, 15c, Ayutthaya

091 Calling the Earth, 15c, Ayutthaya

092 Calling the Earth, 16c, Ayutthaya

092 Calling the Earth, 16c, Ayutthaya

093 Crowned Buddha Stopping the Flood, 17c, Ayutthaya

093 Crowned Buddha Stopping the Flood, 17c, Ayutthaya

094 Crowned Buddha, 18c, Ayutthaya

094 Crowned Buddha, 18c, Ayutthaya

095 Crowned Fearless Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

095 Crowned Fearless Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

096 Fearless Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

096 Fearless Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

097 Standing Crowned Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

097 Standing Crowned Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

098 Standing Crowned Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

098 Standing Crowned Buddha, 16c, Ayutthaya

099 Standing Crowned Buddha, 17c, Ayutthaya

099 Standing Crowned Buddha, 17c, Ayutthaya

10 Standing Crowned Buddha, 17c, Ayutthaya

10 Standing Crowned Buddha, 17c, Ayutthaya

101 Bodhisatta as Rishi, 15c, Ayutthaya

101 Bodhisatta as Rishi, 15c, Ayutthaya

102 Bodhi Tree, 15c, Ayutthaya

102 Bodhi Tree, 15c, Ayutthaya

103 Five-Headed Shiva, 16c, Ayutthaya

103 Five-Headed Shiva, 16c, Ayutthaya

104 Isvara, 16c, Ayutthaya

104 Isvara, 16c, Ayutthaya

105 Laxmi, 16c, Ayutthaya

105 Laxmi, 16c, Ayutthaya

106 Visnu, 16c, Ayutthaya

106 Visnu, 16c, Ayutthaya

 

The Rattanakosin Period (1782 - Present)

The Rattanakosin Kingdom at its greatest extent included the vassal states of Cambodia, Laos, the Burmese Shan States, and some of the northerly Malay kingdoms. The kingdom was founded by King Rama I of the Chakri Dynasty, which continues to this day, but during the colonial period it was forced back into tighter borders.

Culturally it is a continuation and extension of the cultures that preceded it, and has developed a very distinct style that sets it apart from other cultures in the region, and which is clearly recognisable as having its own standing and basis. The development of all forms of art still continues, painting, sculpture and archtitecture being particularly strong.

107 Calling the Earth, 20c, Rattanakosin

107 Calling the Earth, 20c, Rattanakosin

108 Calling the Earth, 20c, Rattanakosin

108 Calling the Earth, 20c, Rattanakosin

109 Calling the Earth, 19c, Rattanakosin

109 Calling the Earth, 19c, Rattanakosin

110 Crowned Buddha, 20c, Rattanakosin

110 Crowned Buddha, 20c, Rattanakosin

111 Crowned Buddha, 19c, Rattanakosin

111 Crowned Buddha, 19c, Rattanakosin

112 Buddha Stopping the Flood, 20c, Rattanakosin

112 Buddha Stopping the Flood, 20c, Rattanakosin

113 Stopping the Flood, 19c, Rattanakosin

113 Stopping the Flood, 19c, Rattanakosin

114 102 Buddha (Gandhara Style), 20c, Rattanakosin

114 102 Buddha (Gandhara Style), 20c, Rattanakosin

115 Buddha Relics, Rattanakosin

115 Buddha Relics, Rattanakosin

116 Musician God, 19c, Rattanakosin

116 Musician God, 19c, Rattanakosin

117 Deva with Sword, Rattanakosin

117 Deva with Sword, Rattanakosin

118 Phra Malai Pointing, Rattanakosin

118 Phra Malai Pointing, Rattanakosin

119 Pediment, 19c, Rattanakosin

119 Pediment, 19c, Rattanakosin

120 Guardian Spirit, 19c, Rattanakosin

120 Guardian Spirit, 19c, Rattanakosin

121 Deva, 19c, Rattanakosin

121 Deva, 19c, Rattanakosin

122 Erawan Replica, Rattanakosin

122 Erawan Replica, Rattanakosin

123 Varuna riding Naga, Rattanakosin

123 Varuna riding Naga, Rattanakosin

124 Cabinet, Front, Rattanakosin

124 Cabinet, Front, Rattanakosin

125 Cabinet, Left Side, Rattanakosin

125 Cabinet, Left Side, Rattanakosin

126 Cabinet, Right Side, Rattanakosin

126 Cabinet, Right Side, Rattanakosin

127 Cabinet, Sakka and Brahma, Rattanakosin

127 Cabinet, Sakka and Brahma, Rattanakosin

128 Cabinet, Yaksa and Lion, Rattanakosin

128 Cabinet, Yaksa and Lion, Rattanakosin

129 Cabinet, Old and Young Man, Rattanakosin

129 Cabinet, Old and Young Man, Rattanakosin

130 Cabinet Door, Jataka, Rattanakosin

130 Cabinet Door, Jataka, Rattanakosin

131 Cabinet, Jataka, Rattanakosin

131 Cabinet, Jataka, Rattanakosin

132 Cabinet, Birds and Deer, Rattanakosin

132 Cabinet, Birds and Deer, Rattanakosin

133 Mother of Pearl Seat, Rattanakosin

133 Mother of Pearl Seat, Rattanakosin

134 Side of Chair, Rattanakosin

134 Side of Chair, Rattanakosin

135 Back Rest with Deva, Rattanakosin

135 Back Rest with Deva, Rattanakosin

136 Cabinet, Mother of Pearl Door, Rattanakosin

136 Cabinet, Mother of Pearl Door, Rattanakosin

137 Cabinet, Left Side, Rattanakosin

137 Cabinet, Left Side, Rattanakosin

138 Cabinet, Right Side, 19c, Rattanakosin

138 Cabinet, Right Side, 19c, Rattanakosin

139 Mother of Pearl Devatas, 19c, Rattanakosin

139 Mother of Pearl Devatas, 19c, Rattanakosin

140 Mother of Pearl Yaksa and Nagas, 19c, Rattanakosin

140 Mother of Pearl Yaksa and Nagas, 19c, Rattanakosin

141 Mother of Pearl Yaksa and Nagas, 19c, Rattanakosin

141 Mother of Pearl Yaksa and Nagas, 19c, Rattanakosin

142 Mother of Pearl Yaksa, 19c, Rattanakosin

142 Mother of Pearl Yaksa, 19c, Rattanakosin

143 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

143 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

144 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

144 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

145 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

145 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

146 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

146 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

147 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

147 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

148 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

148 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

149 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

149 Mother of Pearl Dragons, 19c, Rattanakosin

 

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

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