Temple Mural Paintings at Wat Pathumwanaram
Mural Paintings of Thailand Series
The Mural Paintings of Thailand Series is a very beautiful series of large sized, 8¼ x 11, hard cover books showing and explaining the best of the temple mural paintings in Thailand. The murals have been photographed in glorious colour, section by section, and next to these colour plates the story being shown is explained in both Thai and English. These books are both collectors pieces and well done academic works.
Wat Pathumwanaram is situated on Rama 1 Road in Bangkok in the midst of modern shopping centres and hotels, but when the temple was built by King Rama IV, it was outside the city wall. It was designed to house Dhammayutika monks and provide a place for the King to relax and enjoy himself on his outings along the waterway of the Saen Saeb Canal.
During this reign great numbers of Western people came to Siam, bringing with them their culture and society. Siamese craftsmen and artists adopted Western methods and incorporated them into their work. The composition of scenes in the surviving murals is excellent, with Western perspective devices used to show space and distance. The colours are romantic, bright and clean.
Paintings at Wat Pathumwanaram do not depict the traditional episodes from the life story of the Lord Buddha. Instead, these murals illustrate a folk tale, the story of Sri Thanonchai or Chiang Miang. In the example we see Siamese army artillerymen and bandsmen dressed in Western style uniforms.
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