Rattanakosin Art



Left Phra Phuttayodfa Chulalok in "Pacifying the Ocean" posture, circa 19th century AD. Currently enshrined on the northern side of the base of Phra Phuttha Mahamaneerattana Patimakorn (The Emerald Buddha) im the Ubosatha (Ordination Hall), Wat Phra Si Rattana Sassadaram

Right Bronze Buddha in Meditation Posture, circa early 19th century AD. Currently enshrined in the Phra Sulalai Phiman Hall in the Royal Residences.

The current era, known as the Rattanakosin period began when King Rama I established Bangkok as the capital in 18th century AD. The period can be categorized into two distinct phases.

Phase 1 In the early Rattanakosin period (from the rule of King Rama I to King Rama III), characteristics from different periods were revived, particularly from the Ayutthaya era. As many as 1200 Buddha images were moved from temples in the north for restoration work. Because of this, principal Buddha images in many important temples in Bangkok and Thonburi belong to older periods, mostly from Sukhothai (though U Thong and Ayutthaya styles can also be found). There was more emphasis on adornments than on the Buddha's expression Features became more humanlike through the intregation of influences from the Ayutthaya and Sukhothai periods. The aureole came to resemble an elongated flame. The cranial protuberance, the fine hair curls, long ears and the robes were retained The robes, however, are distinguishable from the former Ayutthaya style by the decorative floral motifs.



Left The Royal Anniversary Buddha of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, circa 20th century AD, made of gold-plated silver. Currently enshrined in the Phra Sulalai Phiman Hall in the Royal Residences.

Right The Chaiwat Buddha, symbolic of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej, circa 20th century AD, made of gold-plated silver. Currently enshrined in the Phra Sulalai Phiman Hall in the Royal Residences.

Phase 2 From the reign of King Rama IV onwards, a greater exposure to western styles began to have some influence on Buddha images. The King had redesigned the Buddha image to appear more humanlike omitting the cranial protuberance, the pleated robe and the cross-legged Meditation posture. However, during the reigns of King Rama V and King Rama VI The styling of Buddha images was further changed to follow the Indian Gandharrath style. This style retained the more human appearance but reestablished some of the Buddha's traditional characteristics. such as the flame aureole, the cranial protuberance, the curled hair, the long ears and the robes.

***********************************************************************************
With special thanks for information from : The Office of His Majesty's Principal Private Secretary
- The Registrar for Ancient Monuments and Objects - Art Objects and Preservation Subdivision
- The Fine Arts Department and Thai Airways International Public Company Limited