Lord Buddha's life: Suphanburi temple paintings | Bangkok Post: learning

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Lord Buddha's life: Suphanburi temple paintings

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Lord Buddha's life painted by Lao artist who fled to Thailand in 1826 & painted temple of Emerald Buddha murals also. 

A mural at Wat Nor Phutthangkoon dating back to the early Rattanakosin period.


Suphan Buri's magnificent Murals

Pichaya Svasti

Suphan Buri is a central province with a history dating back several millennia but most murals in Suphan Buri  are no older than the reign of King Rama III (1824-51). Many of the province's murals were created between the reign of King Rama V (1868-1910) and the present.

These murals were mostly painted inside religious buildings. Their  contents are related to Buddhism.

The paintings also portray both real animals like deer, elephants and birds as well as mythical creatures of the Himaphan Forest such as the half-human half-lion Narasimha and the half-human half-bird Kinnaree (female) and Kinnorn (male).

Visitors should not miss important murals from the Third Reign in the ubosot (ordination hall) of Wat Nor Phutthangkoon in Suphan Buri.

Dating back to the early Rattanakosin period, Wat Nor Phutthangkoon is on the west bank of the Tha Chin River in Suphan Buri. Its ubosot (ordination hall) has beautiful mural paintings of the Lord Buddha’s life by Kham, a native of Vientiane who entered Siam in 1826 after a coup by King Anouvongs of Laos. Kham earned his living as a painter in Bangkok and painted some of the murals at Wat Suthas. After learning that his two siblings who had separated during the migration lived in Suphan Buri, he followed them and volunteered to paint the murals of the ubosot at Wat Nor Phutthangkoon and Wat Pratusan. After returning to Bangkok, he painted some of the murals at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Wat Nor Phutthangkoon’s ubosot is a brick building and its base is curved like a Chinese junk, a popular feature of late Ayutthaya architecture. The murals here are about the Lord Buddha’s life and Jataka tales blended with the local way of life. Those on the outside wall above the front entrance depict Chulamanee Chedi, Devas (guardian spirits), nymphs and mythical creatures. Some of these paintings look unfinished, such as the black drawings of the standing Lord Buddha.

Among the highlights is the painting of the Lord Buddha conquering Mara on the outside wall above the front entrance of the ubosot . In this painting  the beautiful Goddess of the Land squeezes her hair to release water to wash away Mara and his troops. The murals also portray the way of life of ordinary people such as pounding rice and making mathupayas rice, a dessert prepared from rice, milk and honey, in a lotus leaf-shaped wok. There are also paintings of migrants to Siam, such as the Chinese, Lao and Karen people, as well as other foreigners. The murals here were painted in dark tones. For example, trees were painted in dark green and black ... Yellow is used for the paintings of important figures only. Some paintings were applied with gold leaf instead of yellow paint. Scenes in the story of the Lord Buddha’s life are separated by paintings of scenic views instead of the line called sen sinthao. ...

...A stone inscription of King Ramkhamhaeng the Great (1278-98) mentions Suphannaphum as one of the many cities under the control of his Sukhothai Kingdom. Most scholars believe Suphannaphum was located in present-day Suphan Buri. From the 15th century, Khmer art was gradually replaced by the art of the Sukhothai and the Ayutthaya kingdoms. A few Sukhothai art pieces were found in Suphan Buri...

...After the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767, Suphan Buri was deserted since it had been a battlefield. Later in the reign of King Rama III, the city was re-established and continued to develop until becoming a city ... during the reign of King Rama V and later a province.

In all, culture lovers will enjoy their visits to Suphan Buri since the city has all the ingredients of Thai culture, ranging from places relating to the elephant battle between Ayutthaya's King Naresuan the Great and a Burmese crown prince and the popular folktale Khun Chang Khun Phaen to temples and exquisite mural paintings.

Too view and read about many more murals go here


Learn from listening

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architecture: a particular style or way of designing buildings - สถาปัตยกรรม, รูปแบบการก่อสร้าง

bank: a raised area of land along the side of a river (or canal) - ริมฝั่งแม่น้ำ

base: the bottom part, edge, or surface of something - พื้นฐาน, รากฐาน

battlefield: a place where a battle is being fought or has been fought - สนามรบ

blend: to combine or mix with other things in an attractive or effective way - ผสม

brick: baked clay used for building walls, houses and other buildings - อิฐ

conquer: to take control of a country or city and its people by force - ปราบ,เอาชนะด้วยกำลัง

content: the subject, ideas, or story that a piece of writing, radio or television programme, etc., deals with - เนื้อหา,สาระ

coup: the seizure of power in a country by a group of people, usually members of the armed forces - รัฐประหาร

creature: anything that lives except plants - สิ่งมีชีวิต (คน, สัตว์)

culture: the customs and beliefs, art, way of life and social organization of a particular country or group - วัฒนธรรม

curved: not straight, forming a curve - ซึ่งโค้ง

depict: to represent or show something in a picture or story - พรรณนา, บรรยายให้เห็นภาพ

deserted: empty - ที่ถูกทิ้งให้ว่างเปล่า  ร้างไป

dessert: sweet food eaten at the end of a meal - ของหวาน, ขนมหวาน

develop: to think of or produce a new idea, product, etc. and make it successful; to build new houses, factories, etc. on an area of land, especially land that was not being used effectively before - พัฒนา

earn a living: to earn enough money to support yourself/your family - หาเลี้ยงชีพ

entrance: a door, gate, passage, etc. used for entering a room, building or place - ทางเข้า

establish: to start something, e.g. a company, organisation, fund, project, etc. that will likely continue for a long time - สถาปนา, ก่อตั้ง, จัดตั้ง

exquisite: very beautiful; delicate - สวยงาม, วิจิตร, งดงาม, อ่อนช้อย

feature: something important, interesting or typical of a place or thing - จุดเด่น, คุณสมบัติ

female: being a woman or a girl - สตรี, ผู้หญิง, เพศหญิ

figure: someone who is important in some way - บุคคลสำคัญ

goddess: a female spirit with special powers that people in some religions believe in and worship - เทพธิดา

gold leaf: very thin gold used to cover Buddhist statues - ทองแผ่น, แผ่นทองบางมาก สำหรับปิดทองพระพุทธรูป

gradually: slowly and in small stages or amounts - อย่างทีละน้อย

guardian spirit: a creature with magical powers that protects a particular place - เจ้าที่, อารักษ์, เจ้าป่า

highlight: the most exciting, impressive, or interesting part of an event - เหตุการณ์สำคัญ, จุดสำคัญ

ingredients: the substances that are combined to make something - ส่วนผสม

junk: a Chinese style of boat -

located: where something is - ตั้งอยู่

lotus: an Asian water plant with large white or pink flowers - ดอกบัว

magnificent: very good, beautiful or deserving to be admired - สง่างาม, ดีเลิศ, หรูหราฟู่ฟ่า

male: being a man or a boy - ผู้ชาย

mention: to refer to someone or something in speech or writing - กล่าวถึ, เอ่ยถึง, พูดถึง

migrant: someone who travels to another place or country in order to find work (an immigrant is someone who comes to live in a country from another country) - ผู้อพยพ

migration: moving from one place to another - การอพยพ

millenium: a period of 1,000 years - สหัสวรรษ, ช่วงเวลาหนึ่งพันปี

millennia: periods of 1,000 years - สหัสวรรษ, ช่วงเวลาหนึ่งพันปี

mural: a painting, usually a large one, done on a wall, sometimes on an outside wall of a building - จิตรกรรมฝาผนัง

mythical: relating to or existing only in myths; imaginary, or not real - ซึ่งเป็นนิทาน

native: someone who was born in a particular place - ชาวพื้นเมือง

nymph: a female spirit who lives in the forest, mountains or or rivers; a nature goddess or spirit, sprite, fairy - นางไม้ (ซึ่งสิงสถิตย์อยู่ตามริมแม่น้ำ ต้นไม้ ภูเขา ในเทพนิยายโบราณ)

ordinary: not unusual or different in any way - ธรรมดา, ปกติ

ordination: the act or ceremony of making someone a monk, priest or other religious leader - การบวช, พิธีบวช

popular: a situation in which someone or something is liked by many people - เป็นที่นิยม, เป็นที่ชื่นชอบ

portray: to represent or describe someone or something in a painting, film, book or other artistic work - แสดง, พรรณนา

pound: to hit something hard many times, especially in a way that makes a lot of noise - ตำ

reign: a period of time during when a king or queen rules a country - ช่วงเวลาครองราชย์

release: to let something move freely; to allow a substance to flow out from somewhere - ปล่อย

replace: to get rid of someone or something, and to put a new person or thing in its place - เลิกใช้และนำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน

scene: a part of a film/movie, play or book in which the action happens in one place or is of one particular type - ฉาก, ตอน

scenic: providing beautiful views of nature - สวยงามอย่างธรรมชาติ

scholar: someone who studies a particular subject and knows a lot about it, especially a subject that is not scientific - นักวิชาการ

separated: apart from - ห่างกัน, แยกกัน

shape: the form of the outer edges or surfaces of something - รูปร่าง, รูปทรง, โครงร่าง

sibling: a brother or sister - พี่น้อง

squeeze: to press something firmly, especially with your hands - คั้น, บีบ

tale: story - เรื่องเล่า

tone: a shade of a colour - เฉดสี, โทนสี

volunteer: to offer to do something without being forced to do it - อาสา

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