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«“√ “√ √“™∫— ≥±‘ µ¬ ∂“π ªï ∑’Ë Û ©∫— ∫∑’Ë Ú ‡¡.¬.-¡‘ .¬. ÚıÙ¯ 355 Lertsiri Bovornkitti The Influence of Buddhism in Historical Thai Art Lertsiri Bovornkitti * Abstract There is a historical relationship between Buddhism and indigenous Thai art; Buddhism has had an immense influence on Thai art and culture. The emergence of Thai art reflects the integration of Buddhist components into cultural, political and societal Thai systems, and mostly in the way that Buddhism has been represented from generation to generation and in the way people have shown devotion; Buddhist components such as Buddha images, Buddhist monks, and Buddhist activities (e.g., festivals and ceremonies) have been acknowledged as significant components of Thai culture. The influence of Buddhism on Thai art and culture has been systematic and direct from the beginning of the Sukhothai Kingdom at the beginning of the thirteenth century. Subsequently, the indigenous art forms and styles engaged in the representation of Buddhism were integrated into the Thai cultural mainstream during the early Rattanakosin era, creating aesthetic art forms, which have been classified into “ classical Thai art ” , such as mural painting, sculpture and Chang-sip-moo, and “ folk art ” . Such influence of Buddhism on historical Thai art is relevant in the context of scrutinizing the relationship between Buddhism and Thai art. This communication is aimed at pointing out the long-standing role of Buddhism in the development of Thai art in the past, especially the integration of the Buddhist context, which has led to the creation and the birth of indigenous Thai arts with the styles of “ classical Thai art ” and “ folk art ” , both of which are genuinely Thai. It is tenable that the study of historical Thai art with regard to the influence of Buddhism would lead to understanding of the development of current contemporary Thai art. Key words : Buddhism, historical Thai art, classical Thai art, folk art For centuries, since the estab- lishment of the Thai Kingdom in the thirteenth century AD, the prime role of traditional Thai art had been to show devotion to Buddhism. 1 Buddhist art in the early period of Thai history is believed to have emerged in the Sukhothai Kingdom, a highly sophisticated state in the golden Thai historical era, thirteenth to fourteenth century. However, long before the first Thai state became the supreme power, there were different ethnic groups, cultures and religions in the region encompassed by modern Thailand. Prior to the Thai people adopting Buddhism as their religion * Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts, Burapha University, Chonburi, Thailand 1 The First Thai Kingdom was the Sukhothai Kingdom, established by King Ram Khamhaeng in 1287 AD.
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