National Museum, Phimai, Nakhon Ratchasima, Thailand

high-definition creative commons photographs from the National Museum at Phimai, which houses artifacts from all over Lower Isaan, in northeast Thailand, together with further information.

Play Moving Slideshow (47)

National Museum, Phimai

The Museum at Phimai was established in 1964 originally to house the artifacts from the Phimai site which could not be replaced in situ; and for the other artifacts which were found in the Phimai District, and the whole of Lower Isaan. It is now an established National Museum, and is of great importance, especially for the study of Khmer art and architecture. It is situated on the banks of one of the ancient ponds that was built to provide water for the ancient city. It is around 400 metres from the Historical Park, east of the Tha Sonkgran Bridge.

The Museum itself collects materials dating back to the prehistoric period, but the focus of the photographs here is on the Khmer, or Lopburi, period materials, and especially on the works saved from the Phimai site itself. The main hall houses the original of the Jayavarman VII statue, which is one of the great works of art found at Phimai, and which is central to the collection. There was another statue of great interest that accompanied it, showing a female form of Lokeśvara, but the day I went it was not to be seen.

As with most of the Museums in Thailand there is a 360° Virtual Tour available of the Museum for anyone who wants to get a better idea of the site and its contents, which is available from this page. It is in Thai, and not always intuitive, but worth taking time to become familiar with it.

 

use j/k or left/right arrow
to navigate through the photos below

001 Overview of Museum

001 Overview of Museum

002 Central Hall

002 Central Hall

The Lintels

Many of the lintels from Phimai which originally graced the doorways at the site are now collected in the Museum, and they are some of the best examples of the form, so the Museum is a must see for those interested in the site. There are Buddhist reliefs, as well as reliefs that show scenes from Hindu stories, and protective reliefs like the ones showing Kāla, or Kirtimukha.

003 Sitting Buddhas, Prasat Phimai, 12th

003 Sitting Buddhas, Prasat Phimai, 12th

004 Buddha and Kirtimukha, Prasat Phimai, 13th

004 Buddha and Kirtimukha, Prasat Phimai, 13th

005 Hanuman, Prasat Phimai, 12th

005 Hanumān, Prasat Phimai, 12th

006 Buddha and Apsaras, Prasat Phimai, 12th

006 Buddha and Apsarās, Prasat Phimai, 12th

007 Heavenly Scene, Prasat Phimai 12th

007 Heavenly Scene, Prasat Phimai 12th

008 Heavenly Scene, Prasat Phimai 12th

008 Heavenly Scene, Prasat Phimai 12th

009 Kala Lintel, Prasat Phimai, 11th

009 Kāla Lintel, Prasat Phimai, 11th

010 Horse Sacrifice, Prasat Phimai, 12th

010 Horse Sacrifice (Aśvamedha), Prasat Phimai, 12th

011 Vishnu as Vamana, Prasat Muang Khaek, 10th

011 Viṣṇu as Vāmana, Prasat Muang Khaek, 10th

012 Krishna Slays Kamsa, Prasat Muang Khaek, 10th

012 Kṛṣṇa Slays Kaṁsa, Prasat Muang Khaek, 10th

013 Indra on Airavata, Prasat Muang Khaek, 10th

013 Indra on Airāvaṭa, Prasat Muang Khaek, 10th

014 Kala Lintel, Prasat Phnom Wan, 11th

014 Kāla Lintel, Prasat Phnom Wan, 11th

015 Rama and Laksmana captured by Indrajit, Prang Ku, 12th

015 Rāma and Lakṣmaṇa captured by Indrajit, Prang Ku, 12th

016 Vishnu on Garuda, Prang Ku, 12th

016 Viṣṇu on Garuḍa, Prang Ku, 12th

017 Vishnu as Vamana, Ku Suan Tang, 12th

017 Viṣṇu as Vāmana, Ku Suan Tang, 12th

018 Siva and Uma, Sathan Phra Narai, 10th

018 Siva and Uma, Sathan Phra Narai, 10th

Buddha Statues

There is also a fairly large collection of Buddha statues and other Buddhist works from later centuries in the Museum, most of the following are from the 18th century (Ayutthaya) period.

019 Standing Buddha, Phimai District, 13th

019 Standing Buddha, Phimai District, 13th

020 Subduing Mara, Phimai District, 18th

020 Subduing Māra, Phimai District, 18th

021 Subduing Mara, Phimai District, 18th

021 Subduing Māra, Phimai District, 18th

022 Kaccayana, Phimai District, 18th

022 Kaccāyana, Phimai District, 18th

023 Subduing Mara, Prasat Phanom Wan, 18th

023 Subduing Māra, Prasat Phanom Wan, 18th

024 Buddha protected by Mucilinda

024 Buddha protected by Mucilinda

025 Buddha protected by Mucilinda

025 Buddha protected by Mucilinda

026 Buddha protected by Mucilinda

026 Buddha protected by Mucilinda

027 Gold covered Buddha Face

027 Gold covered Buddha Face

028 Buddha with Vajradhara and Vajrasattva, Prasat Phanom Rung, 12th

028 Buddha with Vajradhara and Vajrasattva, Prasat Phanom Rung, 12th

Inscriptions

The Museum also houses some of the most important inscriptions, only one or two of which are represented here, including one in south Indian Pallava script, which was used all over Southeast Asia in the early Middle Ages.

029 Inscription, Phimai

029 Inscription, Phimai

030 Pallava Script Inscription, Ban Khawo, 7th

030 Pallava Script Inscription, Ban Khawo, 7th

The Outdoor Gallery

Many of the materials, and some of the most important, are not in the main building, but kept in a roofed enclosure north of the pond. These once again include pediments and lintels from Phimai and other sites. They are, however, not so well identified as those kept inside, and often their exact provenance is not known.

031 Outdoor Gallery

031 Outdoor Gallery

032 Pediment, Lintel and Columns, Prasat Muang Tam, 11th

032 Pediment, Lintel and Columns, Prasat Muang Tam, 11th

033 Buddha and Apsaras, Phimai, 12th

033 Buddha and Apsarās, Phimai, 12th

034 Kala Lintel, Phimai, 12th

034 Kāla Lintel, Phimai, 12th

035 Buddhas, Phimai, 12th

035 Buddhas, Phimai, 12th

036 Buddhas and Kala

036 Buddhas and Kāla

037 Kala Lintel

037 Kāla Lintel

038 Kala Lintel

038 Kāla Lintel

039 Kala Lintel

039 Kāla Lintel

040 Kala Lintel

040 Kāla Lintel

041 Human and Monkey Armies, Prasat Phimai, 12th

041 Human and Monkey Armies, Prasat Phimai, 12th

042 The Monkey Army, Prasat Phimai, 12th

042 The Monkey Army, Prasat Phimai, 12th

043 Krishna slaying Kaliya

043 Kṛṣṇa slaying Kāliya

044 Decoration and Gods

044 Decoration and Gods

045 Outdoor Shrine

045 Outdoor Shrine

046 Naga at Entrance to Shrine

046 Nāga at Entrance to Shrine

047 Naga at Entrance to Shrine

047 Nāga at Entrance to Shrine

 

Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu

About this Website

Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License