Exhibition explores China, Ayutthaya relations

Siam Society is holding "China For Ayutthaya", a one-day exhibition on Chinese exports to Siam, on Thursday at 10.30am.

Participants will be taken back in time to the Ayutthaya era to witness the treasures of the past and learn about tributary trade relations between Siam and the Middle Kingdom of China that lasted over 480 years.

It started when Zhao Yan-gu-man, representative of the king of Siam, travelled to the Ming Court in October 1371, bringing trained elephants, a six-legged tortoise and local products as a tribute for the Emperor Hongwu.

According to Ming Shi-lu, in September 1383, Emperor Hongwu's envoy conferred 32 bolts of patterned fine silks interwoven with gold thread and 19,000 pieces of porcelain to the king of Siam.

(Photo courtesy of Siam Socicety)

However, most surviving ceramics are not imperial but everyday ware or trade porcelain. These porcelains found their way to Ayutthaya through private junks and pirate trading networks during the 15th to 18th centuries. The exhibition will open with a special remark by Sulak Sivaraksa and a talk in English by Pimpraphai Bisalputra, an expert on the histories of the Chinese diaspora in Thailand who wrote A History Of The Thai Chinese and has contributed several articles on the Chinese in Thailand in The Journal Of The Siam Society.

The lecture will tell the story of Siam's Chinese community within the framework of Ayutthaya's tributary relations with China through objects including porcelain shards found in Ayutthaya and artefacts found in Thai private collections that have been largely inaccessible to the public.

She will also bring Ayutthaya blue-and-white porcelain and Bencharong from her private collection to display at the exhibition.

The fee is 200 baht (free for members and students).

Email pinthip@thesiamsociety.org or call 02-661-6470--3 ext 203.

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