Everything about Thai Arts & Architecture

Last Updated: June 09,2020

The Traditional Thai is predominantly comprised of Buddhist art and sceneries from the Indian classics. Traditional Thai monument almost exclusively portrays imageries of the Buddha. Conventional Thai portraits typically contain book illustrations and painted adornment of edifices like temples and citadels.


Traditional Thai pictures displayed a dual dimension subjects without a viewpoint. The dimensions of each element in the image mirrored its degree of significance. The primary method of composition is that of allocating areas: space transformers are used to separate the essential elements from each other. This eradicated the transitional ground, which would otherwise denote standpoint. Perspective was only presented as a result of Western impact around the middle of the 19th century. Monk artist Khrua of Khong is renowned as the pioneer artist for making linear perspective known to the Thai traditional art.

Traditional Thai wall painting

The most recurrent narrative painting subjects include the Jataka fairy tales, chapters from the Buddha's life, The Heavens and Hells of The Buddhist, themes culled out of the Thai forms of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, not leaving out scenes of Daily Life. Thai legends influence some of the sceneries without following authoritarian iconography of the Buddhist. 

Phra Maha Chedi Si Ratchakan Edifice at Wat Pho, Bangkok is one of the leading parts of the nation's cultural heritage and portrays the duo of the extreme climate challenges associated with residing in Thailand and that of the historical significance of architecture to Thai's sense of communal and spiritual beliefs. Influenced by the architectural customs of several neighbours of Thailand, the country has similarly established substantial regional versions inside its dialect and religious structures.

Phra Maha Chedi Si Ratchakan Edifice at Wat Pho

Thai temple or Thailand's Buddhist temples are known as "Wats" which is derived from the Pāḷi vāṭa, meaning 'an enclosure'. A temple has surrounding fences that separate it from the outside world. Thailand's Wat architectural design has witnessed several modifications over the course of history. Though there are numerous alterations in its outline and style, yet they still follow the same philosophies. Traditional Thai Houses; just as the phrase "Thai stilt house" implies, one general feature of Thailand's conventional architecture is the elevation of its structures on stilts, most usually around head's height. The area under the house is used as crafts' storage, relaxation spot during the day, and occasionally for keeping livestock. The houses were raised above the ground level because of the massive flooding that occurs at a certain period of the year, and in earliest periods to prevent raiders. Thai house and living traditions are sometimes based on religious beliefs and superstitions. Other contemplations include locally available materials, weather, and agriculture have something in common with style. 

Plate with traditional painting

Thai Buddha

A Buddha image in Thailand portrays typically three dimensional that is; stone, wood, clay or metal cast imageries of the Buddha. While there are such statues in all areas where Buddhism is generally practiced, the presence, structure and location of the images differ significantly from one country to another.

Thai Buddha

Pictures: Ayuttaya Historical Park

Historical Background 

The first time the image of the Buddha appeared in Thailand was during the Mon Dvaravati period between the sixth and the eleventh centuries, and another time was the Khmer Lopburi period which was from the seventh to the fourteenth centuries. Nevertheless, the construction of the statues might have extended the artistic highest during the Sukhothai age between the twelfth and the fourteenth centuries. After that, the artisans of Ayutthaya carved crowned and jewelled Buddha pictures, using another style.

Majority of Buddha's images showcase signs referred to as mudra. Thailand's most prominent one is the earth-touching one called bhumisparsa mudra, which portrayed the Buddha seated in meditation with one hand touching the ground. The mudra represented his enlightenment under the tree of bodhi when he called the earth deity to bear eyewitness to his illumination. Another significant mudra portrays the meditation position, a statue seated with the legs crossed and hands on his leg.   

The 'dissipating fear' mudra exhibits a stand-up figure with the right hand lifted to shoulder height, the arms bent, and the palm is facing outward. Liquefied statues of a walking Buddha have created the Sukhothai sculptors. In recent times, the images of Buddha are often imitations of the Sukhothai images and other previous eras, sometimes more ornamentally and extravagantly adorned. The faces used in the new innovative representations are classically more convincing and human-like. An elongated blaze aureole is widespread. Robes portrayed in new imageries often illustrate floral designs. The Indian Gandhara style and the western art have also imparted many of the modern pictures.

The concrete sculpture of Bunleua Sulilat gardens popularly known as Buddha Park and Sala Keoku give a specimen of modern highly innovative and eccentric artistic treatment of Buddhist subjects. You can also check Sanctuary of Truth Under Places and Wat Rong Khun.   

Wat Pho

The Revolving Buddha in Wat Pho, Bangkok is perhaps the most famous sculpture in Thailand. It is a gigantic golden Buddha more than 46 meters (140 feet) in length and 15 meters tall. The figure was known as Phra Buddhasaiyat (“The Giant Revolving Buddha"), and it symbolises the Buddha before he passes into enlightenment. The character is created out of plaster positioned on a brick core covered with gold leaf. The mother-of-pearl inlays are used to make the eyes. Inlaid on the soles of the feet is the mother of pearl of 108 propitious laksanas which happened to be one of the characteristics of a Buddha. Barack Obama, the President of the United States, is among the spectators of this celebrated Buddha.

Wat Pho

Buhhda in Wat Pho


More substantial part of Thai earthenware and ceramics in the future centuries was influenced by Chinese ceramics but has continuously remained distinctive by combining the home-grown styles with preferences for unusual shapes, colours and ornamental motifs.

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