Observe Thai history on public display, Lego-ised

via Bangkok Post, 08 January 2018: If you’re in Bangkok and you like architecture and Lego, there is an exhibition at the Central Ladphrao Mall featuring Lego-ized versions of Thai monuments and temples.

CentralPlaza LardPrao will celebrate National Children’s Day with a stunning showcase of Lego creations during Lego Amazing Kid’s Day, from Thursday to Jan 18.

Source: Observe Thai history on public display, Lego-ised

Benjarong in detail

via Bangkok Post, 05 January 2018: Review of Dawn Rooney’s book, Bencharong: Chinese Porcelain For Siam

Benjarong is the brightly coloured porcelain made in China for the Thai market which enjoyed a peak of popularity in the 19th century. Dawn Rooney sets out to provide “a single reference source for Bencharong … the book I wish had been available when I first became interested in this little-known form of ceramic art 20 years ago”.

Source: Benjarong in detail

New Book: Peninsular Siam and Its Neighborhoods

Announcing a new book entitled Peninsular Siam and Its neighborhoods: Essays in Memory of Dr. Preecha Noonsuk edited by Wannasarn Noonsuk

 This commemorative volume contains new scholarly essays that explore the landscape, seascape, complex history, and material culture of Peninsular Thailand and its neighborhoods in Maritime Southeast Asia from the late prehistoric to contemporary periods.

The main contents include:

1. Prologue: The Isthmian Tract and the Gulf of Siam, by Wannasarn Noonsuk

2. Finding a Form, Discovering the Sublime [on the Bronze Drums]by Stanley J. O’Connor

3. People of the Beach Ridges: Tambralinga and Palembang, by John Miksic

4. Transpeninsular Routes in the Light of New Finds in Coastal and Nautical Archaeology, by Pierre-Yves Manguin

5. The Wat Maheyong Inscription (NS 10, K 407): The Thai-Malay Peninsula in the Wide World of Buddhist Material and Cultural Exchange, by Peter Skilling

6. The Northern Malays, by Leonard Andaya

7. Ayutthaya and the Peninsula from the Thirteenth to Seventeenth Century, by Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit

8. A Deity Conjured from the Mid-South’s Ancient Heritage, by Craig J. Reynolds

9. Possibilities of Material Culture Approach to History of Thai Urban Lived Religion, by Hiroshi Kano

10. Burmese Wares in Aceh and North Sumatra, by Edmund Edwards McKinnon

11. Epilogue: From Father to Son: A Meditative Journey to “Bead Mound” and Back, by Kaja M. McGowan

This book is published by the Cultural Council of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province in December 2017.  If you are interested in the book, please contact Ms. Leelachat (bigredbear3@gmail.com).  

Where royal souls reside

via Bangkok Post, 21 December 2017: Built in 1869, Wat Ratchabophit is the symbolic temple of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and one of two temples to enshrine the ashes of the late King Bhumibol (Ramax IX).

Apart from Wat Bowon Niwet, which is King Bhumibol Adulyadej’s symbolic temple, Wat Ratchabophit on Ratchabophit Road is one of only two temples that enshrine his ashes. Since Nov 7, when the temple started permitting the general public to pay respects to the royal remains, many have flocked there for this purpose.

Source: Where royal souls reside

[Lecture] Common Heritage through Ancient Communication Networks in Mainland Southeast Asia

Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this talk by Dr Surat Lertlum on 18 January 2018:

Since 2005, Thai and Khmer scholars have conducted research utilizing multi-disciplinary approaches, including archaeology, anthropology, geo-informatics, geo-physics and information technology, with the continued and generous support of the Thailand Research Fund (TRF). At the outset, the study focused on the royal roads from Angkor. The work of the international team has benefited from the results of remote sensing surveys, which have significantly helped the systematic ground trusting conducted during several campaigns in Cambodia, Thailand and Laos. The team, consisting of experts from Cambodia, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam, subsequently expanded the scope of its study to identify the cultural relationships involving Mainland Southeast Asia, based on ancient communication networks. This presentation will be centered on the cross-border, multi-disciplinary research on ancient communication networks in Mainland Southeast Asia, aimed at identifying all the remaining sections of ancient roads and communication networks in the region. The discussion will extend to cities connected by ancient roads and trails, as well as waterways serving as communication networks, revealing physical evidence of cultures interconnected by a complex range of different communication systems and the common heritage that ensued from these ancient networks.

Common Heritage through Ancient Communication Networks in Mainland Southeast Asia. A Talk by Surat Lertlum

Tourists behaving badly: Butt naked in Thailand

via Bangkok Post, 30 Nov 2017: This news came out last week while I was away on a work trip, but a pair of tourists have been detained in Thailand for taking selfies of their bare butt in Bangkok’s Wat Arun. They now face several charges including jail time. We have seen other tourists getting in trouble previously for stripping in Angkor and Bagan, so we can say that these two are literally a pair of dumb asses.

Two American men who posted photos of themselves with their rear ends exposed on their “Travelling butts” Instagram travel page at the capital’s famous Wat Arun (Temple of Dawn) could face seven years in jail.

Source: ‘Travelling butts’ duo may face 7 years

Fine arts unit reproached for ancient wall restoration

via Bangkok Post, 24 November 2017:

CHACHOENGSAO: A local fine arts agency defended the restoration of an ancient city wall built in the reign of King Rama III in Muang district, saying the maintenance costing more than 9 million baht was conducted with materials similar to those used in the bygone era.

Source: Fine arts unit reproached for ancient wall restoration

Culture Ministry calls for return of ancient Thai artifacts

via Pattaya Mail, 22 Nov 2017:

Bangkok – The Ministry of Culture is speeding up the process for the return of ancient Thai artifacts from overseas. The ministry’s ad hoc committee has called for the repatriation of artifacts that originated from Thailand and recently acknowledged the verification of 14 ancient items currently in the possession of the Honolulu Museum of Art […]

Source: Culture Ministry calls for return of ancient Thai artifacts – Pattaya Mail

Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth

via NHK World, 07 November 2017: An interesting video story from NHK World about the underwater salvagers who operate in the Chao Phraya River that cuts through Bangkok.

Running through central Bangkok is the Chao Phraya River. On it is the city’s largest floating village, Mittakham. About 300 people live there. The community is estimated to be about 100 years old.

A development project means the community is scheduled to be torn down. Its residents are being forced to move from the river that’s given them their livelihoods for generations.

One of them is 53-year-old Jamroen Bua-Sri. Every day, he puts on a steel helmet and goes into the river to hunt for antiques and other treasures. He’s one of about 40 such divers. The river was a crucial trade route linking the ancient capital of Ayutthaya to China and other Asian countries, so it’s surprising what can turn up.

“My grandfather was a fisherman. One day, he found something in the river, and there were people who paid for it. So he began to search for lost treasures in the river,” says Jamroen. He has salvaged more than 10,000 items. He says this is an amulet from the early Ayutthaya Kingdom period that ended in the mid-1700s. Some artifacts retrieved by the divers have even gone into national museum collections.

Source: Thai Treasure Divers Lose Out to Economic Growth – Editor’s Picks – News – NHK WORLD – English

Thai culture goes digital

via Bangkok Post, 08 Nov 2017: Check out the Thai cultural heritage online at digitalcenter.finearts.go.th

To ensure better access and understanding of national cultural heritage, the Fine Arts Department has applied and developed information technology systems in six aspects.

The Silpakorn Online System is an app for the department’s official website. It gathers information on Thai historic sites, national museums, learning sources, national libraries, national archives, procurement and new books of the department.

The Smart Museum System is an app for the National Museum Bangkok and is iOS and Android compatible. The system reads QR codes and Augmented Reality Code (AR code) for photographs and videos of the museum, its exhibitions and displayed objects. The AR code uses 3D technology to present 3D models of Phutthai Sawan, Sivamokphiman and Issaretratchanusorn halls, royal mansions and all ancient artefacts at 360 degrees. The Phra Nakhon Khiri National Museum in Phetchaburi province is the first national museum in Thailand to fully apply a guide application and an AR code guidance system under the 2.4 million baht pilot project.

The Virtual Museum System gathers and presents information on all national museums, their displayed ancient artefacts and art objects via a website. It offers virtual tours of all museums and 3D images of major artefacts at 360 degrees and enables viewer interaction.

The Fine Arts Department’s digital archive includes more than 2,400 e-books and 500 videos from the department’s original versions, as well as old photos of major incidents, such as the 25th anniversary of King Rama V’s coronation and the royal visits and work of King Rama VII from 1927 to 1930.

Source: Thai culture goes digital | Bangkok Post: lifestyle