วันเสาร์ที่ 10 กรกฎาคม พ.ศ. 2553
The marble bas-reliefs of Wat Pho, which depict only the middle episodes of the story chronologically, are both famous and easy to miss, given their small size and obscure location. Close examination reveals superlative
stone carving skills on these panels, which were originally crafted in Ayuthaya.
Above the bas-reliefs, the doors on the Ubosot
at Wat Pho soar three meters in height and are . inlaid in extremely delicate mother of pearl
work depicting selected scenes from the Ramakien. This is the only major use of mother of pearl inlay to illustrate the Ramakien in Thailand.
Like the khon performers, on whose costumes they are modeled, they are clothed in elaborately embroidered and bejeweled costumes. The puppets are manipulated by up to 12 strings that run to the base of the puppet and are pulled from the puppet's base by the puppet master, unlike Western puppets that are manipulated from above. The performances of hun luang belong to history, but the puppets themselves have been lovingly restored to their former splendor by a group of Thai artists, and fine examples of this work are on view in the National Museum in Bangkok.
While the nang yai performances are rare, another form of shadow puppetry has flourished. Known as nang talung, they are cut out like the nang yai puppets but much smaller, ranging in height from fifteen to fifty centimeters. They are cut from calf hide and painted in bright colors. This folk art originated in the Southern Thai province of Phattalung, but itinerant troupes travel the country performing at temple fairs and other public gatherings.
The third Chakri monarch, now known as Rama III (reigned 1824-1851), did not share his predecessor's taste for the performing arts such as khon and hun luang. A reserved and pious ruler, he chose to continue the Ramakien epic's legacy in the visual arts, and it was during his reign that some of the most important works of Thai painting and sculpture were created. Located in Koh Rattanakosin, the heart of Bangkok, and the area chosen by the Chakri kings as their administrative and regal center lays the temple of Wat Phra Chetuphon, commonly known as Wat Pho. This is the oldest and largest temple in Bangkok, and it its central chapel (Phra Ubosot) contains the remains of the Chakri Dynasty's founder, Rama I. Lining the base of this simple chapel are 152 carved while marble panels, measuring only 45 cm. square. Likely salvaged from the ruins of Ayuthaya and transported here, they depict a variety of scenes from the middle part of the Ramakien tale. Amid the powerful splendor of the other attractions of Wat Pho, such as the immense reclining Buddha, these delicate carvings are easy to overlook, but a careful examination reveals their fine craftsmanship. The doors of this requillary chapel also display art related to the Ram akien in another motif—mother of pearl inlay. Soaring 3-meter doors, with two wings, located on the front and rear of the chapel have been decorated with scenes from the Ramakien and surrounded by ornamental borders. Rich in detail, the artists seem to have taken delight in the fantastic elements of the Ramakien tale, and the panels abound with a Menagerie of imaginary animals, such as the kinaree, the half man half bird creature of Thai mythology.
Wat Phra Keow, or the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, within the confines of the Grand Palace in Bangkok, houses yet another visual art depiction of the Ramakien epic. In 1831, again during the reign of Rama HI, master painters worked their art on the walls of a shaded cloister surrounding the temple compound in a series of 178 murals.