Deities find will 'solve nation's problems'

Deities find will 'solve nation's problems'

Worshippers pay respects to a bronze replica of Phra Maha Thep Phra Klang Maha Sombat at the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine opposite the Grand Palace. Inset photos show original wooden image of Phra Maha Thep Phra Klang Maha Sombat (left) and Phra Sayamthevathirat, covered with gold leaf. (Main photo by Apichart Jinakul)
Worshippers pay respects to a bronze replica of Phra Maha Thep Phra Klang Maha Sombat at the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine opposite the Grand Palace. Inset photos show original wooden image of Phra Maha Thep Phra Klang Maha Sombat (left) and Phra Sayamthevathirat, covered with gold leaf. (Main photo by Apichart Jinakul)

Many believe the discovery of two guardian deity sculptures at the Bangkok City Pillar Shrine will help the country solve its myriad problems.

The sculptures, found in a storeroom at the shrine, are symbols of wealth and are said to stave off bad luck.

When the shrine was renovated in 1982, the old gates were placed in the building's storage room.

During a recent inspection of the storage room, Gen Pinpat Sariwat, the director-general of the War Veterans Organisation, discovered the old gates were adorned with ancient wooden sculptures of two guardian deities.

The Fine Arts Department found the sculptures were of Phra Sayamthevathirat and Phra Maha Thep Phra Klang Maha Sombat. They were built during the reign of King Rama I, Air Vice-Marshal Surin Koomchan, a military chaplain tasked with looking after the City Pillar Shrine, said. 

A source said Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and his deputy Gen Prawit Wongsuwon have respect for the guardian deities at the shrine and wanted one of the city pillars renovated, hoping that this will reverse misfortune.

The Bangkok City Pillar Shrine houses two pillars. The taller pillar was erected in 1782 by King Rama I, the founding monarch of the Chakri Dynasty. 

The shorter pillar, which is the one being renovated, was installed 70 years later during the reign of King Rama IV.

Gen Prawit presided over a ceremony Wednesday to apply gold leaf to the shorter pillar.

The ceremony is meant to bring prosperity to the country and put an end to bad luck following political turmoil and incidents of violence.

The War Veterans Organisation has commissioned the Fine Arts Department's office of traditional arts to renovate the pillar. Restoration is expected to take about three months. AVM Surin said the 1982 renovation of the shrine coincided with the country's celebration of the bicentenary of Bangkok's foundation.

"Many believe that the appearance of the two guardian deity sculptures bodes well for the country," AVM Surin said.

"The Phra Sayamthevathirat sculpture is meant to protect the country while the other guardian deity is believed to bring prosperity and wealth," he said.

The wooden sculptures are being stored while bronze replicas of the deities have been crafted for the public to pay their respects to.


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