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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Photographs by Anandajoti Bhikkhu
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