Sukhothai Art



Sukhothai Art

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The prolific artisans of the sukhothai school (late 13th– 15th centuries) adapted stylistic elements from sri lanka, Burma, and other neighboring countries to produce some of thailand’s finest works of art. numerous Buddha images of immense beauty and fluidity were cast in bronze. the “Walking” Buddha – a posture that is otherwise rare in Buddhist art – is perhaps the best-known artistic achievement of the period. the sangkhalok (see p204) ceramics industry also flourished, and its fine wares, including pale blue-green celadons, were exported all over asia until the middle of the 16th century.

The Walking Buddha posture possibly represents the Buddha’s descent from Tavatimsa Heaven after he had visited his mother.

Phitsanulok Buddha

Located in Wat Phra Si Rattana Mahathat in Phitsanulok, this 14th-century Buddha image, known properly as Phra Phuttha Chinarat, is one of the most revered in all of Thailand, second only to the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok. Cast in bronze and later gilded, the serene figure is a supreme example of late Sukhothai art.

Bronze replaced stone as the preferred material for Buddha images during the Sukhothai period. It allowed a far more delicate detailing of the Buddha’s hair and facial features.

This bronze Vishnu, a Hindu god, is in the classic Sukhothai style. Brahmin priests, who presided over some court ceremonies, probably ordered figures like this to be made.

Sukhothai bai semas (boundary stones) were fashioned from slate into leaf shapes. This one, at Wat Sorasak in Sukhothai, is inscribed with details of a land grant.

Monochrome ceramic gable decorations, such as this one from Wat Phra Phai Luang, Sukhothai, are a typical architectural flourish from the period.

Ceramic finials, found on many roofs, were sometimes fashioned as dragons. Such decorations show a fusion of Khmer and Chinese styles.

Sangkhalok ware, such as this delightful, brown monochrome elephant, are often well preserved. Fine pieces like this were produced from the mid- 14th century onward, when exports boomed.

King Vajiravudh (1910–25) was highly active in the early archaeological work at Sukho thai: he was a totally untrained but enthusiastic excavator.

Fish-and-flower motifs, painted beneath the glaze, were popular for bowls and plates. Such items were exported as far afield as Japan.

Figurines sometimes feature a bulge by the mouth, which may depict the chewing of fermented tea. Female figures are common, often carrying babies.

Pouring vessels, known as kendis, were sometimes zoomorphic, like this earthenware piece in the shape of a duck.



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