Hindu and Buddhist Heritage of Thailand
Hindu and Buddhist Heritage of Thailand by Dr Amara Srisuchat
Auditorium, Visitors’ Centre, CSMVS
By the beginning of the 3rd century CE both Hinduism and Buddhism and their traditions from India were well established in Thailand. As it expanded across Southeast Asia, it absorbed local traditions, responded to historical factors and evolved philosophically. Evidence of field archaeology and religious works of art provide a better approach to the early history of Thailand, bearing witness to the existence of the early states and their glorious times and cultural expansion. The historic states of Hindu and Buddhist influence, namely, Dvāravatī (6th–11th c.), Lavapura (7th–13th c.), Śrīvijaya (8th–13th c.) and Haribhuñjaya (11th–13th c.) have been regarded as sources of spiritual inspiration for Thai artists, sculptors, and architects of later periods. Two important kingdoms, Sukhothai and Ayutthaya, have been well accepted to be a source of heritage of the world. The Sukhothai kingdom (13th–14th c.) reached its zenith in its typical Thai Buddhist art as well as in bronze workshop of Hindu statues. The kingdom of Ayutthaya or the Siamese kingdom (1350–1767) was regarded as a junction of the maritime trade route as well as a source of production of a variety of religious art types. The lecture will discuss the considerable presence of Hindu and Buddhist art heritage, an artistic epitome of typically religious works of art, concept of creativity, and significant meaning of art objects and architectures.
About the Southeast Asia Initiative
India has shared a long history with Southeast Asia through trade, and cultural and political exchanges. To broaden the scope of CSMVS’ interaction with this neighbouring region and strengthen ties with cultural institutions, the Museum has decided to launch its Southeast Asia Initiative. Through this programme, the Museum will invite annually, a scholar from a Southeast Asian country to present an illustrated talk at the CSMVS, thereby offering the people an insight into the culture of their neighbouring countries and the latest in the research being undertaken.
About the Speaker
Dr Amara Srisuchat is Senior Advisor to Thailand's Department of Fine Arts. She served as a government officer for 36 years and her last position was Senior Expert in Archaeology and Museum, Ministry of Culture, Thailand. Dr Srisuchat supervised surveys and excavations at settlement and port sites throughout the country. She served as head of a World Heritage site and director of three major national museums. She is credited with significantly improving the regional museums and archaeological research in Thailand, and promoting them internationally, that have received awards from the government for her leadership. Dr Srisuchat lectures widely, participates in international forums, and teaches university courses in Thailand and other countries. She has contributed to the UNESCO Integral Study of the Silk Road.