via Medium.com, 20 Feb 2019: A shipwreck in the gulf of Thailand is identified as the Francis Garnier, part of the Messageries Fluviales de Cochinchine fleet that sailed up and down the Mekong in the turn of the 20th century. The article is in Thai.
via Bangkok Post, 01 Feb 2019: The original headline of the story was terrible (‘Sanitising history’) but the news is in fact a welcome one – a new policy by the Fine Arts Department bans styrofoam food containers from Thai historical parks.
Historical parks and learning centres under the Fine Arts Department nationwide will be free of styrofoam food containers soon under a new environmentally friendly policy.
Anandha Chuchoti, director-general of the Fine Arts Department, has revealed that the department has issued an announcement on reducing and banning the use of food containers made of styrofoam at all historical parks and learning centres under the supervision of the department.
Under the new policy, cooperation has been sought from all the agencies under the department and food vendors operating at any such parks and centres to curb and stop using styrofoam food containers.
Readers in Bangkok may be interested in this fun talk at the Siam Society later this month by Dr. Wunrada Surat. The talk is part of the Pint of Science event and is free with registration. [Disclosure I am part of the organising team of Pint of Science Thailand]
Date: 26 Feb 2019 Venue: Siam Society, Asok Time: 7 pm (doors open at 6.30 pm)
The origin of prehistoric cattle in Thailand: evidence from ancient DNA
Cattle have been domesticated in Southeast Asia, including Thailand, for thousands of years, but, the history of cattle domestication in the region remains unclear. To gain some insight into cattle domestication in Thailand we extracted and sequenced DNA from 26 cattle remains, excavated from four archaeological sites located in northeastern and central Thailand, and dated to between 3,550 and 1,700 years before present (YBP) which all belonged to B. taurus. This is the first genetic evidence of when B. taurus was domesticated in Thailand.
via Reuters in the Bangkok Post, 04 Jan 2019: The listing of the Khon dances of Cambodia and Thailand are welcome, but the tradition still is in danger of dying out if new generations do not learn the craft.
Cambodia’s centuries-old tradition of masked dance was nearly wiped out by the Khmer Rouge’s “Killing Fields” regime, but a handful of artists managed to keep it alive and are now working to pass it along to a new generation.
Sun Rithy’s father and grandfather were both performers of the Lakhon Khol masked dance, but the ultra-Maoist Khmer Rouge — who scorned most art as decadent — banned its study when he was a child in the 1970s.
Now 48, Sun Rithy leads one of the last Lakhon Khol troupes in Cambodia, made up of about 20 performers and students aged six to 15. For him, teaching a new generation is a matter of survival for the tradition.
“I don’t want Lakhon Khol … to go extinct,” Sun Rithy told Reuters.
Lakhon Khol was recently listed by Unesco, the United Nations’ cultural agency, as intangible cultural heritage, along with neighbouring Thailand’s version of the dance, known as khon.
via Bangkok Post, 15 December 2018: A friend from Unesco Bangkok pens this opinion piece about the inscription of the masked Khon dances from Cambodia and Thailand into the Intagible Cultural Heritage list.
That said, what is most interesting in the value of masked dance about Ramayana is not how beautiful they are as art forms, or how they are made prize possessions of countries in the nomination process. Instead, they are most interesting as local traditions that are still viable to many different communities across the region, so all of them practise and pass on the skills and passion to the next generation. These masked dance variations have survived until today, thanks to the stewardship of local community
via Bangkok Post, 06 December 2018: An exhibition on Bencharong ceramics in Bangkok.
Bencharong, a distinctive variety of enamelled porcelain made primarily for Siamese royalty of the Chakri Dynasty between the late 18th and early 20th centuries, never fails to amaze people for its brilliant colours, wide selection of motifs and kaleidoscopic compositions.
Not to be missed by Bencharong enthusiasts is the exhibition tilted “Bencharong Journey: From China To Siam”, the first of its kind to be held in Thailand since 1977. The show will take place at RCB Auctions, 4th floor, River City Bangkok.
The Bencharong event, which runs from Saturday, Dec 8, will be curated by ceramics historian Dawn F. Rooney, who is also a scholar and art historian specialising in Southeast Asia, having authored nine books on the art and culture of the region.
Ayutthaya – The Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) plans to celebrate Ayutthaya World Heritage from 7-16 December 2018 at the Ayutthaya historical park. Deputy TAT Governor for Domestic Marketing Noppadon Pakprot said the agency has joined hands with Ayutthaya province, government agencies, and private companies to organize the event, which will be held for the […]