Art From Afar

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For this assignment I decided to go in a different direction in regards to where that artwork is from! I have chosen to share the art work the represents the story of Ramakien, and Thai epic that was influenced by the Indian epic of Ramayana, a story of good versus evil that is a deep part of Thai culture. This art is found in Thailands’ most famous temple, Wat Phra Kaeo, “Temple of the Emerald Buddha.” This wall consists of 178 colorful murals that was hand painted in this sacred place during the late 18th century.  This masterpiece was made with oil paint, gold leaves and on a slighty textured surface. The story of Ramakien is one of ancient times of old Thailand and old Sri Lanka. The main characters are Rama, the good king in green also said to be Buddha reborn in another life, Sita his wife and daughter of the enemy, Hanuman, the great white monkey, son of the wind god and the evil Tosakan, ruler of Longka (Sri Lanka) who was said to be born of demons with ten necks, heads and arms. Through honor, self control and patience Rama was able to defeat his enemy and stay married to Sita and reign over their province. I reccoment looking up the Thai epic if you are interested, it’s a little difficult to summarize. This story is so deeply rooted to the values and morals of Thai culture it was brought back to life with these murals after many of the versions were lost during war in the late 1700’s. I had to opportunity to recently visit this temple and walked through its entirety, it is defiantly a sight to see! The detail that was put into this art was incredible, there was no area of empty space, from the beautiful temples in gold to the details in the background of landscape, the sight was breathtaking. When we studied the Sistine chapel and Michelangelo’s ceiling I was reminded of this mural and I think that this was kind of the same idea just with a different culture. I provided just a few murals because it was so big but feel free to look at more on this website it is a 12 minute video of just paintings and the temple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u4ZILu2TIgk

 Questions:

1.     How long do you think this took to complete?

2.     Do you feel like this art relates to anything you have seen before?

3.     What is your favorite part about these murals?

 Leslie Minichiello

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9 thoughts on “Art From Afar

  1. I like the fact that you went a different route and shared something from the Thai culture that a lot of people are not familiar with I clicked on the link and the whole mural looks so neat and well detailed I love how different it looks and how it has a story behind it and that till this day this story is still instilled deep in to this culture. The outside of the palace the building looks also very unique to Thailand’s culture. Looking at this beautiful mural and palace really makes me want to visit it in person to have a better look at it. I think this took more than 100 years to complete everything just looks so perfect and well detailed. I think my favorite part about this mural is how everything came together and you can see the people of this culture and time come to life in modern day and have not been forgotten. I also really like how it looks like there are monsters in this mural the people that appear bigger than all of the other smaller people in this mural.

  2. Leslie,

    I’m taking a class in mythology right now, and we just finished the unit about the Ramayana! I never knew that it was even the basis for Thai epics and art! I do know that there is also a Chinese version of this tale that sort of goes along the same lines though, and it’s cool to see even another perspective of this classic tale. In regards to your third question, I like how much different the Thai version is to the Indian one. You can clearly see that it’s telling the same story, but it’s being told differently through this mural. Great choice and great piece!

    Calvin

  3. I have really not studied anything like this before. It is absolutely stunning and I honestly have no idea how long this would have taken to complete. I enjoyed the video link, as well. I loved all of the detail in this mural and the interesting aspects of Thai culture. The use of gold in this mural was amazing to me. What an incredible thing it must have been to experience!

  4. The scale is enormous. I like the size and complexity of what is done here. The vibrant details are exceptional and the detail is phenomenal. I do like how this is a cultural based theme and really enjoy that aspect – that it’s just not one singular persons perspective on something. This looks like a must-see! I have ALWAYS enjoyed Asian art for a variety of reasons, this one is a new one and I really like it. This is a very strong series of murals, I can see how it may have had a profound impact on you or others who see it in person.

  5. i like that you chose something that meant something to you. You can tell that this is something that you have seen in person and is part of your culture. These are some beautiful pieces that hold strong significance to the culture. Thailand is somewhere that is on my bucket list to visit really soon.

  6. I get one thing from these picture the Samuri. I do enjoy art from the Orient. Some of these works could have possibly taken months to do some maybe years but all are very nice in there own unique way.

  7. I would imagine that it took at least a decade to complete. The amount of art work is immense. My favorite picture is of the battle scene. The amount of action is breath taking. I have not seen work exactly like this, but I have seen similar art work in the Buddhist temples in China.

  8. Religious art tends to have a reputation, at least in my mind, as a more emphatic form of commissioned works. The commissioned works of art we have today can often lack the kind of passion, the kind of dedication, religious ones tend to have. This is very evident in these murals. One can clearly see that the artists are dedicated to depicting the most accurate story they can with the murals. It must have taken a very long time to finish the whole temple, even with several artists working together. Several years at the very least. And all that work, time, and dedication certainly show.

  9. These pieces are amazing! I was never introduced to this kind of art and it seems very intriguing! The bold colors and usage of gold really stand out! Thankyou for the video and sharing what you find beautiful!

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