Dream leads to discovery of rare Buddha images

It’s the kind of find archaeologists -ahem- dream of. Two Dvaravati-style Buddha images were found after a tip-off from a woman’s dream which saw beams of light shooting out from a temple pond. The finds are approximately 1,500 years old.

Villagers make murky discovery
Phuket Gazette, 09 January 2008


The amazing discovery of the images (they don’t actually specify what they are – statues? stele?) seem just as big as the finds themselves.

The images were discovered by 52-year-old Saner Nakchalathee, who said he was led to the site after his wife told him she had seen beams of light shooting out from the temple pond in a dream.

The following day, he told the abbot of the temple about the dream.

The pair then walked round to the back of the temple, which is the site of ruins from the same era as those at the nearby Phanom Rung temple complex, where they found two Buddha head images protruding above the surface of the murky pond.

Read the full story here. Say, this story reminds me of another archaeological discovery as a result of a dream. Last year in Indonesia, some Hindu-Buddhist statues were also unearthed as result of a dream.

For those keeping score, the period from which the Buddha images came from, Dvaravati (or Thavaravadee) is still one of the most mysterious aspects of Thai history. The Dvaravati culture was known to exist as early as the 7th century and probably earlier, spanning a good part of Central Thailand, adjacent Myanmar and northeast Thailand. However, there is still a lot to be learned about the Dvaravati period.

Related books about Dvaravati and the archaeology of Thailand:
Early Cultures of Mainland Southeast Asia
– Archaeological Excavations in Thailand by H. R. van Heekeren and Count E. Knuth
Moated sites in early north east Thailand (BAR international series)
Prehistoric Thailand: From Early Settlement to Sukhothai by C. Higham and R. Thosarat
(Sri) Dvaravati: The initial phase of Siam’s history
A History of Thailand by C. Baker and P. Phongpaichit

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Author: Noel Tan

Dr Noel Hidalgo Tan is the Senior Specialist in Archaeology at SEAMEO-SPAFA, the Southeast Asian Regional Centre for Archaelogy and Fine Arts.

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