Thailand has a long history of reconstructing heritage. But it has no history of conserving it.
Phra Acana, the main Buddha image at Sri Chum temple in Sukhothai, before and after restoration. During his visit to the temple in 1901, Prince Naris noticed that the eyes on the image were set at different levels which indicated that at least four restorations had been undertaken in the past. But the Fine Arts Department restored the image with the aim of showing the unity of the Sukhothai style. LEFT PHOTO COURTESY OF PROF PIRIYA KRAIRIKSH; RIGHT PHOTO BY YINGYONG UN-ANONGRAK
If we take the Oxford English Dictionary's definition of conservation - "Preservation from destructive influences, natural decay and preservation of existing condition" - then Thailand has a poor record of doing that.
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