Buddhist Murals of Northeast Thailand: Reflections of the Isan Heartland
By Bonnie Brereton and Somroay Yencheuy
Books on mural painting in Thailand have tended to focus on works commissioned by royalty or other elites from the centers of power. This volume is the first to examine a vibrant sub-school of painting from the rural heartland of the Northeastern Region, also known as Isan. Inspired by local Buddhist practices and created by ordinary villagers, the colorful murals portray scenes from traditional stories that are unique to the region. Distinctively painted on the exterior of ordination halls, the compositions appear to circle the building rather than remain confined to a single panel. The figures appearing on all levels of the paintings, on closer examination, include not only Buddhist personages and epic heroes, but also the villagers themselves as they participate in their own festivals and day-to-day activities.
Written as an introduction to the topic, Buddhist Murals of Northeast Thailand is a multifaceted and empathetic study of these lovely and lively paintings, and will appeal to anyone interested in the Mekong Region, as well as to scholars of art history, Buddhism, and anthropology in Southeast Asia.
About the Authors:
Bonnie Brereton is an American art historian and Buddhist studies scholar who specializes in vernacular forms of cultural expression in Thailandís peripheral regions. Somroay Yencheuy grew up in a silk-weaving village in Khon Kaen and has written extensively in Thai on Isan art, literature, shadow play, and traditional material culture. Both are researchers at the Center for Research on Plurality in the Mekong Region, Khon Kaen University.
Chiang Mai 2010
Size 215 x 215 mm.