The northern kingdom of Lanna was established at the same time as Sukhothai and endured for 600 years. Its first ruler, Mengrai, extended Lanna rule into Burma (now Myanmar), and the reigns of Ku Na and Tilok saw a golden age. Wars with Burma and Ayutthaya in the 16th and 17th centuries, however, led to decline. Ayutthaya had driven the Burmese out of Lanna once before, but in 1615 the Burmese took back the Lanna capital, Chiang Mai, for almost a century. In the late 1700s, newly allied Siamese and Lanna forces drove the Burmese out. Lanna remained autonomous into the 19th century.
Decorated with gold leaf, this temple door is at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang, one of the oldest Lanna structures in Thailand.
This bronze elephant, from the 16th century, was used as a pedestal upon which Buddhist merit offerings were presented
Buddha images such as this one from the 14th–15th century are regarded as the pinnacle of classical Lanna art. After the Burmese took the north, this style of Lanna art declined.
Models of wihans are common throughout Thailand. This Lanna one, from the 18th–19th century, cast in bronze, has a high base, an exaggerated version of the bases found on many Lanna temple buidings
This temple mural of a Burmese dancing girl is from Chiang Mai. A number of wats in the North bear similar indications of Burmese occupation.
During the 18th and 19th centuries, bronze rings were used as coinage in the Lanna Kingdom
Lanna Wood Carvings
The pediment of the 19th-century wihan at Wat Pan Tao is typical of the elaborate work produced by Lanna wood carvers.
Battle of Nong Sarai (1593)
The Burmese attempted to control all of Siam, and in 1564, invaded Ayutthaya. This 19th-century painting shows the Battle of Nong Sarai, when Naresuan (1590–1605) defeated the Burmese crown prince and Ayutthaya gained independence. In 1598 Ayutthaya drove Burma from the north, but in the 17th century the Burmese retook it.
Where to See Lanna and Burmese Thailand
Lanna artifacts can be seen in national museums at Chiang Mai, Lamphun, and Bangkok. Chiang Mai, Chiang Khong, Lamphun, and Lampang all have buildings that date from the Lanna period. Mae Hong Son and Phrae have buildings showing Burmese influence.