Dvaravati art in Isan | Bangkok Post: travel

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Dvaravati art in Isan

The ancient culture was not limited to the Central Region of Thailand, but spread to the present-day Northeast, where Fa Daed Song Yang in Kalasin is an outstanding example

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More than 500km away from Bangkok is Fa Daed Song Yang City dating back to the Dvaravati period (6th-12th centuries) and located in what is now Ban Sema in Kamalasai district of Kalasin. It was registered by the Fine Arts Department as a historic site in 1936. 

Phrathat Yakhu is Fa Daed Song Yang City’s most important site. This 15m-high brick octagonal stupa is the largest among all the 14 stupas found in the city. The base with four corners standing out is the art of the Dvaravati period while the upper part was extended with bricks and fresco during the Ayutthaya period and decorated in a local northeastern style during the Rattanakosin period. In 1983, 11 sema stones were brought back to where they are believed to have been erected. Every May, local villagers organise the ‘‘Bung Fai’’ or bamboo rocket festival at Ban Sema to seek rain and good fortune for the community.

"Fa Daed Song Yang Ancient City is also called Muang Sema since hundreds of sema stones [ordination hall demarcation stones] were found there. It is in a sema stone-like shape, surrounded by two soil walls and a moat. The city was about 1km in width and around 2km in length, and was considered one of the larger cities in the Northeast," said archaeologist Pimnara Kijchotiprasert of the 10th Fine Arts Office in Roi Et.

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