Ayutthaya supplanted Sukhothai as the most powerful kingdom in Siam in the mid-14th century and by 1438 had incorporated it into its empire. By the mid-16th century Ayutthaya controlled the entire Central Plains area and at its height held sway over much of what is now Thailand. The Ayutthaya period saw military, legal, and administrative reforms and a flowering of the arts, as well as diplomatic and trade links with the West. Its end came after years of conflict with Burma, when in 1767 the capital was sacked.
Few frescoes have survived. These, from the 15th century, are from Wat Ratchaburana in Ayutthaya
Clay and terra-cotta tablets from the Ayutthaya period often show the Buddha resplendent beneath a naga (serpent).
The Ayutthayans were masters at working gold. This elephant, studded with gems and crafted to look as though it is paying homage, was discovered in Wat Ratchaburana
Gilded Lacquer Cabinet
The craftsmen of Ayutthaya were adept at working wood. The doors of this cabinet are inlaid with gold; the pattern is of trees. Other such cabinets depict scenes from the jataka or Westerners
Door Panel from Ayutthaya
This 17th to 18th century wood panel once formed part of the door of a temple. It was discovered in Wat Huntra in Ayutthaya.
Reconstruction of a Royal Barge
When foreigners (farangs) first came to Ayutthaya, they often met the sight of grand royal barges. This illustration is based on French engravings in some of the first accounts of the opulent city of Ayutthaya to reach the West
Where to See Ayutthaya
The city of Ayutthaya in the South Central Plains has some of the most spectacular ruins in Thailand. Ayutthayan artifacts are housed in the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum and in the Bangkok National Museum.