buddhist art


After the destruction of Ayutthaya in 1767, Thonburi and then in 1782 Bangkok became the kingdoms new capital. Even there was a new capital, the kingdom continued to exist and so did his artists and sculptors. Unlike Sukothai and Lanna styles, which vanished, Rattanakosin style is the continuation of Ayutthaya style in a new place. The Rattanakosin sculptors continued what had started in Ayutthaya; the creation of new styles and themes.

The material of choice was bronze, wood became less important than it had been during the Ayutthaya period, but still played a role . Many other figures besides the Buddha became popular, including scenes from the Buddhist mythology and Thai history.

Not counting the short Thonburi intermezzo, Rattanakosin has 4 periods that are identified by the name of the kings:

Rama I and II (1782 ? 1824): Continuation of Ayutthaya clearly visible, Beautiful wooden images on decorated pedestals. Buddha sheltered by naga becomes popular again. Bronze images, especially standing ones are still heavily decorated

Rama III (1824 ? 1851): Many sculptures other than Buddha images appear, Beautiful faces mostly found in plain, undecorated images.

Rama IV (1851 ? 1868): King Rama IV brought new rationalism to Thailand, in politics as well as the Arts. The heavy decoration is partly replaced by Buddha images clad in a beautiful robe with flowery design, but no crown or jewelry. Most of the beautiful faces of Rattanakosin are from this period.

Rama V ? VIII (1868- 1946) and Rama IX (1946 - present): This period saw 2 important developments. First of all, industrialization brought mass production of Buddha images, many pieces (except for the big important ones commissioned by the palace or temples) are not individual pieces of art any more, but mass production. Secondly, it became popular in the beginning and middle of the 20th century to copy the beautiful old Buddha images of Sukothai, Lanna and early Ayutthaya. This style is called ?Rachakan? and most of the so called ?Sukothai style? Buddha images sold in galleries in Thailand and elsewhere today are from this period. Since they are about 100 years old, customers are often mislead. Similarly, it became popular to mix different styles.

Rattanakosin Buddha images are ideal pieces for people who want a beautiful, authentic Buddha for an affordable price. All prices except for very large or perfect pieces (faces) are still affordable. Prices don?t differ much from the late Ayutthaya period

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