Thailand Art

Thailand Art

Digging Into The Colorful History Of Thailand Art

There is probably nothing better to represent a country and make it famous in one sense or another than its artworks.  Thailand art incorporates a good amount of its history and its people.  It has added a rich flavor to the culture of the country.  Since most of the regimes making up the history of Thailand are peaceful, it has been able to develop its arts to the fullest.  Thailand art, along with the culture of its people, is one of the perfect representation of a village’s everyday life.

Traditional Thailand art is made up primarily of Buddhist art, which originated within the subcontinent of India and is in accordance to the life of the historical Siddhartha Gautama in the 6th to 5th centuries B.C.  Buddha is the most common subject of both paintings and sculptures in Thai art.  It was in heavy contact with other cultures within Asia and has been influenced in one way or another.  Such influence plays a significant role in how evolved Buddhist Art is at the present in comparison to its most original form.

A number of features can be observed in traditional Thai paintings.  One of which is how they have two dimensions but without any perspective.  How important a figure is in the painting can be determined by its size in relation to all other elements around it.  In its composition, the main technique utilized is area apportioning wherein space transformers are placed strategically to isolate the main elements from each other. In the process, the intermediate ground is eliminated.  It would have implied perspective, which was only incorporated later on as an effect of the influence from the West during the middle portion of the 19th century.  The common subjects of traditional Thailand paintings include characters from Jataka stories, the concepts of heaven and hell in Buddhism as well as episodes from Buddha’s own life and scenes from a regular Thai guy’s life.

Sculptures and temples from the Dvaravati period, which was in the 16th to 13th centuries, have survived up to the present time.  The images of Buddha during the Sukhotai Period in the 14th century were elegant.  They have oval and slender faces and wavy bodies.  In the effort to emphasize the spiritual side of Buddha over its physical aspects, anatomical details were omitted.  The marks that define Buddha according to canonical writings served as inspiration for the artists in this era.  This was more effectively achieved by casting images in metal instead of simply carving them.  It was also during this period when the walking Buddha was introduced.  The Ayutthaya period was divided into three main portions.  Stone was the primary material used in the first part of the era while the influence of the previous era dominated the middle period.  A more elaborate form of Thailand art existed during the late part of the Ayutthaya period as Buddha images were dressed in royal attires and placed on highly decorated bases.

Contemporary Thailand art is a combination of the traditional elements and the modern techniques, which were mostly learned from artists outside ofThailand.  Thailand is currently well-positioned in the global contemporary art scene largely because of its liberal and international outlook.  The lack of censorship is also an add-on that other Asian countries do not have.

If you have missed any of our articles on Asian Art, you can start with the first one:  Asian Art Overview.