Cleaner, brighter Temple of Dawn makes some unhappy

Cleaner, brighter Temple of Dawn makes some unhappy

Has the recently finished restoration of the stupas at the Temple of the Dawn really diminished their traditional beauty as some social media critics claim? Photos by Patipat Janthong
Has the recently finished restoration of the stupas at the Temple of the Dawn really diminished their traditional beauty as some social media critics claim? Photos by Patipat Janthong

The restoration at Wat Arun has removed its familar dark-green colour because it was actually caused by stains left by moss.

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Fine Arts stands by Wat Arun stupa repair effort

Post Reporters

The Fine Arts Department and the assistant abbot of the Temple of Dawn or Wat Arun deny claims the latest restoration of its iconic stupas have diminished the traditional beauty of the structures.

Department chief Anandha Chuchoti insisted yesterday the post-restoration white facade of the stupas was no different from what appeared after the previous restoration during the reigns of King Rama IV and V.

Assistant abbot Phra Sakkaya Puttiyawong explained the dark-green colour which was familiar to visitors to the famous temple resulted mainly from "stains left by moss" which was removed after the five-year restoration revealing the white exterior of the stupas.

They were responding to criticism in social media about the quality of the restoration. The temple, built during the Ayutthaya period, has undergone many repairs, but the latest effort that started in 2013 was the biggest restoration project in 100 years, according to Phra Sakkaya Puttiyawong.

The stupas were surrounded by scaffolding as workers repaired sculptures of mythological figures around and on the stupas, replaced decorative tiles and re-paved parts of the stupas' surface with lime. "They cleaned moss-tainted stupas and restored the surface," the assistant abbot said. "This whitened the stupas, returning them to their original beauty," he added.

The Temple of Dawn, formally known as Wat Arun Ratchawararam, has five stupas standing on the banks of the Chao Phraya River. The main stupa is the tallest one surrounded by smaller stupas that form four corners.

Experts said the landmark is not only a sacred place for Buddhist worshippers, but it is also an iconic Bangkok attraction. Many visitors climb the steep stairs of the stupas for a panoramic view of surrounding landmarks. "This is why the Fine Arts Department made sure it worked carefully on the restoration which was completed this year," Mr Anandha said.

The department's experts first surveyed the ancient stupas, collecting information about decorative patterns on the tiles as well as colours, to preserve as much of the integrity of the original design and look as possible. During the restoration, about 40% of deteriorated tiles, or about 120,000 out of the total of 300,000 pieces, were replaced with new ones. This means 60% of the old tiles are still intact, Mr Anandha said.

"But we can't deny some surfaces had to be reworked which may have affected the original patterns, which has left certain exterior spots visibly unclear," he said. His department will re-examine some spots which may need further repairs, he added.

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Vocabulary

  • abbot (noun): the head monk at a temple - เจ้าอาวาส
  • ancient: very old - ที่เก่าแก่ ที่โบราณ
  • appear: to be seen - ปรากฏ
  • assistant: a person who helps or supports somebody, usually in their job - ผู้ช่วย
  • attraction: something that creates interest and brings people to see it - การดึงดูดความสนใจ
  • banks: the raised areas of land along the side of a river - ริมฝั่งแม่น้ำ, ตลิ่ง
  • beauty: the quality of being beautiful or very good to look at - ความสวยงาม
  • chief: a person with a high rank or the highest rank in a company or an organisation - หัวหน้า, ผู้นำ
  • claim (noun): saying that something is true although it has not been proved and other people may not believe it - ข้ออ้าง ข้อกล่าวหา
  • criticism: comments that show that you think something is wrong or bad - การวิจารณ์
  • decorative: decorated in a way that makes it attractive; intended to look attractive or pretty - ซึ่งใช้ตกแต่งหรือประดับประดา, ซึ่งตกแต่งแล้ว
  • deny: to say that something is not true - ปฏิเสธ
  • deteriorated: became worse - ทรุดโทรม, เสื่อมโทรม, เลวลง, ชำรุด
  • diminish (verb): to reduce the importance, size, amount, etc. of something - ลดลง
  • effort: an attempt to do something - ความพยายาม
  • experts (noun): people who have a particular skill or who know a lot about a particular subject - ผู้เชี่ยวชาญ
  • exterior: the outside part of something, especially a building - ภายนอก
  • façade: the front of a building, especially one that is large or impressive - ด้านหน้าของตึกที่แสดงรายละเอียดของสถาปัตยกรรม, ส่วนหน้าของอาคาร
  • familiar: well known to you, or easily recognised by you - คุ้นเคย
  • figure: a shape, especially of a person or animal - รูปร่าง, รูปทรง
  • Fine Arts Department (noun): a department of the Ministry of Culture in charge of preserving traditional Thai arts - กรมศิลปากร
  • formally: officially; following an agreed or official way of doing things - อย่างเป็นทางการ
  • iconic: well known and acting as a sign or symbol of something - มีชื่อเสียงและเป็นสัญลักษณ์แทนบาง
  • insist: to keep saying very firmly that something is true - ยืนกราน ยืนยัน
  • intact: not harmed, damaged, or lacking any parts as a results of something that has happened - สมบูรณ์ ไม่บุบสลาย
  • integrity (noun): the state of being whole and not divided or weakened - ความสมบูรณ์, การรวมเป็นหนึ่ง, ความไม่แบ่งแยก
  • landmark: a building or place that is easily recognised, especially one which you can use to judge where you are - สถานที่ที่เป็นจุดสังเกต
  • lime (noun): a white substance obtained by heating limestone, used in building materials and to help plants grow - ปูนขาว
  • moss (noun): a very small green or yellow plant without flowers that spreads over damp surfaces, rocks, trees, etc. - พืชตะไคร่น้ำ
  • mythological (adj): connected with ancient myths ( stories from ancient times, especially ones that were told to explain natural events or to describe the early history of a people) - ซึ่งเป็นตำนาน, เกี่ยวกับตำนาน
  • original: existing at the beginning of a particular period, process or activity - ซึ่งเป็นแบบฉบับ, ต้นกำเนิด
  • panoramic (adjective): a very wide view that allows you to see more of the area around you - กล้องถ่ายภาพกว้างราว 140 - 360 องศา
  • pattern: a regular arrangement of lines, shapes, colours, etc. - รูปแบบ
  • pave: to cover an area of ground with a hard flat surface of pieces of stone, concrete or bricks - ลาดทาง
  • post-: after something happens .... -
  • preserve: to keep something as it is, especially in order to prevent it from being damaged or destroyed - ทำให้คงอยู่, สงวน
  • previous: happening or existing before the event or object that you are talking about - แต่ก่อน, เมื่อก่อน
  • project: a planned piece of work that is designed to find information about something, to produce something new, or to improve something - โครงการ
  • quality: the standard of something when it is compared to other things like it; how good or bad something is - คุณภาพ
  • reign (noun): a period of time during when a king or queen rules a country - ช่วงเวลาครองราชย์
  • remove (verb): to take something away - เอาออก
  • repair (noun): fixing something that is broken or damaged - การซ่อมบำรุง
  • replace: to put a new thing in the place of something old - เลิกใช้และนำสิ่งใหม่มาใช้แทน
  • respond: to say or do something as a reaction to something that has been said or done - ตอบสนอง, ตอบรับ
  • restoration: the work of repairing and cleaning something, etc. so that its condition is as good as it originally was - การซ่อมแซม,การการบูรณะ, การกลับสู่สภาพปกติ
  • restore: to bring back to good condition - ฟื้นฟูสภาพ
  • reveal: to show something that was covered or hidden or not known - เปิด, ทำให้ปรากฎ
  • sacred: considered to be holy - ศักดิ์สิทธิ์
  • scaffolding: a structure of metal poles and wooden boards put against a building for workers to stand on when they want to reach the higher parts of the building - นั่งร้าน
  • sculptures: solid objects that people make as works or art by shaping a substance such as stone, metal or wood - รูปสลัก, รูปปั้น, รูปหล่อ
  • stain (noun): an ugly mark left accidentally on clothes or the surface of something; blot, mark, spot - คราบ, รอยเปื้อน, รอยเลอะ
  • stands by: to support someone or something even in difficult times - สนับสนุน
  • steep: rising quickly and difficult to climb - ที่สูงชัน และปีนขึ้นยาก
  • structure: something large such as a building or a bridge that is built from different parts - โครงสร้าง
  • stupa: a mound-like structure containing Buddhist relics - สถูป, พระปรางค์
  • surface: the outside or top layer of something - ผิวหน้า, ผิวภายนอก, ด้านนอก
  • surrounded: having something,people, etc. completely around all sides - ถูกล้อมรอบ
  • survey: to make an examination of something to find out about its condition - สำรวจ
  • tainted: spoiled by an unpleasant quality or feature - มัวหมอง มีมลทิน แปดเปื้อน
  • tile: a piece of baked clay that is used in rows for covering roofs - แผ่นกระเบื้อง
  • traditional: things (buildings, clothes, music, customs, etc.) that have been part of a country or society for a long time - แบบดั้งเดิม, เป็นประเพณี
  • undergone: experienced a process of change - เผชิญกับ, ประสบ
  • visibly: in a way that is easily noticeable - อย่างชัดแจ้ง, อย่างเห็นได้ชัด
  • worshipper: someone who is showing love and respect for God, especially during a religious ceremony or prayer - ผู้นับถือ,ผู้สักการะบูชา, ผู้สวดมนตร์
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