This book reproduces a beautiful festive scroll from Thailand's Northeast that is now in Singapore's Asian Civilisations Museum.
The story of Prince Vessantara, or Phra Wetsandon, is at the heart of popular Buddhism in Southeast Asia. It recounts the previous life in which the Buddha-to-be achieved the perfection of giving or generosity, thus allowing him to be born as the Buddha.
The story unfolds in three acts. In the first, the prince-bodhisattva gives away all his possessions, including the kingdom's lucky white elephant, and is banished by his angry subjects to the forest with his wife and two children.
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