Lecture: Life of the Buddha in the oldest Thai illustrated manuscripts

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this lecture happening this evening at the Jim Thompson House.

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Life of the Buddha in the oldest Thai illustrated manuscripts
A lecture by Professor Baas Terwiel.
Date: Wednesday, 3 February 2016
Time: 5 – 7 p.m.
Venu: Ayara Hall, The Jim Thompson House Museum Compound

The legends surrounding the life of Siddhartha Gotama, also known as the Buddha, have inspired an immense artistic output in all Buddhist countries. In this lecture Professor Terwiel will focus on depictions on paper folding books from Thailand, in particular material from the oldest preserved Thai picture books:samutphap traiphum (สมุดภาพ ไตรภูมิ), or the Picture Books of the Three Worlds. He will look at how the major events of the Buddha’s life were thematized, and he will also address matters of style. Then he will tentatively formulate some principles of Thai iconography and characteristics of the Thai visual arts in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries A.D.

Professor Terwiel will conduct his lecture in English.”, but a Thai translation will be handed out.

Prior to his retirement in 2006, Baas Terwiel was Professor of Thai and Lao Languages and Literatures at the University of Hamburg, having previously taught in Canberra, Munich and Leiden. In the late 1960s, he conducted fieldwork on Buddhism in rural Thailand and, since then, has published extensively on many aspects of Thai history, religion and politics. His publications included Monks And Magic. An Analysis of Religious Ceremonies in Central Thailand (1976), reprinted for the fourth time in 2012, Thailand’s Political History. From the 13th Century to Recent Times (2011) “Siam”. Ten Ways to look at Thailand’s Past (2012)

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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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