Get a glimpse of murals less seen
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Get a glimpse of murals less seen

Get a glimpse of murals less seen
The sim (ordination hall) at Wat Saket in Roi Et. photo courtesy of siam society

Siam Society is holding a two-day trip to Khon Kaen and Roi Et to visit local ordination halls (sim) and hidden mural paintings in the villages, on June 24 and 25.

There are many traditional-style sims, with the characteristics of folk art remaining in the two provinces. All are small and simple, and the mural paintings inside have been relatively undocumented by art historians. The murals adorn the exterior, and sometimes interior, of ordination halls.

Many are modest little structures with their walls completely covered by murals which extend even into the corners of pilasters and the indentations around the windows. These murals were painted during the first quarter of the 20th century by local Thais or Thais of Lao ethnicity.

The sims, constructed of brick and mortar, share roughly similar architectural features, including a single entryway, reachable from a short stairway flanked by figures of mythical animals.

The exterior location enabled the murals to be seen by a large number of laypeople, especially women, who were not allowed to enter the tiny sim, which was reserved for monks and men being ordained.

At present day, most of the old and tiny sims in both Khon Kaen and Roi Et are no longer used for ordination as they have been replaced by modern, big Central-style structures.

The murals in the two provinces differ from each other, however, they are distinctive works of art that reflect the local Buddhist imagination and way of life of the people of Isan heartland around 100-200 years ago.

The fee is 19,500 baht (18,500 baht for members) and reservations should be made by June 6.

Email or call 02-661-6470--3 ext 205.

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