304 Ramayana sculptures in two Thai temples alone! (Post No.5040)

WRITTEN by London Swaminathan 

Date: 23 May 2018

Time uploaded in London –21-45 (British Summer Time)

Post No. 5040

PICTURES ARE FROM BHARAT KALYAN; THANKS
Pictures shown here are taken from various sources such as Facebook friends, Books, Google and newspapers; thanks. Pictures may be subject to copyright laws.

HINDU GODS IN THAILAND-1

Thailand has got lot of Hindu sculptures from Ganesh to Kubera. Vedic gods Indra, Yama, Vishnu, Shiva and Brahma are also found in different places. Ramayana scenes are in the panels in many temples. We see them more from the Khmer period.

 

Art in Thailand is divided  seven different periods:

Dvaravati period – 6th to 11th century CE

Srivijaya period – 8th to 13 th century

Lobpuri period – 11th to 13th century CE

Sukothai period 13th to 14th century CE

Ayuththaya period 17th to 18th century CE

Thonburi – 1767 to 1782

Bangkok  1782-  to date

It is from the Lobpuri period Rama story begins to appear. It was the period when Khmer influence spread from Cambodia.

The best Ramayana sculptures and paintings are in

1.Prasad Panom Rung temple

2.Pimai temple

3.Emerald Buddha- Wat Phra Keao

4.Wat Phra Jetubon

5.Vihata of Wat Nang Phya

 

 

During the Lobpuri period small figures of bronze Hanuman idols used as standards on top of wooden poles.

Sukhothai period provides very few Ramayana sculptures

Since the Burmese burnt down the libraries, temples etc. in 1767, a lot of sculptures were destroyed in Ayuththaya (Ayodhya) period.

In the Thonburi and Bangkok periods kings themselves were great scholars , we have very good paintings in the temple of Emerald Buddha- Wat Phra Keao.

The bas reliefs  as many as 152 in number, found in Wat Phra Jetubon, the funerary temple of the present ruling dynasty, depicts the central episodes of the Ramayana story.

The mural paintings in the Vihara of Wat Nang Phya in Phitsnulok in Nothern Thailand and the 152 marble panels give the complete story of Ramayana. Apart from these there are wooden panels depicting scenes from Ramayana.

Wat Po Vihara also has some Ramayana sculptures. The significance of these Thai sculptures is showing the unknown characters of original Valmiki Ramayana.

 

‘Ramayana is song of human heart, it has a romantic kind of charm for the people of Thailand and gives them unbounded joy and happiness even in the present times when the glory of the east is being fast shadowed by the glamour of the west’ – Sathya Vrata Shastri

 

The National Museum of Thailand in Bangkok has a couple of interesting pieces of art connected with the story of Rama. just in front of it in the open stands a majestic figure of Rama with a  bow in hand symbolising  as it does the love of Thais  for that great hero. Inside the building the most noteworthy object, among others is a wooden screen painted in gold and lacquer, a relic of the period of the first king of the present dynasty. On one side of it is depicted the scene of Indrajit  who transforms himself  into Indra and shoots arrows that turn out to be Nagas/ snakes and on the other Ravana’s death (From Sathya Vrata Shastri’s  book)

 

 

In the second part, I will give the details of the sculptures of other Hindu gods.

-to be continued

–Subham-

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