Contents: Preface. 1. Buddhism and Buddhist art in Thailand. 2. Mon-Dvaravati. 3. Srivijaya. 4. Khmer-Lopburi. 5. Lan Na Thai. 6. Sukhothai. 7. Ayutthaya. 8. Rattanakosin. Glossary. Select bibliography. Index.
"Beginning with Theravada which formed the core of Hinayana, Thailand in the South-East Asian region formed a strong-hold of Buddhism and remained so till it gave way to Mahayana though in a very small measure. Buddhism in Thai conception is primarily and mostly the adoration to the personal image of Buddha. Sthaviras in this land are the predominant part of Buddhist congregation and naturally, therefore, Buddhist art and iconography is centred round the person Buddha, the greatest of the Sthaviras. Still it can not be denied that Thai Buddhism remains the high stronghold of this faith in South-East Asia. The result has been, however, that while the ramifications of the Buddhist pantheon have escaped from the Thai artist yet it effloresced in the variegated innovations in forms touching upon the personality of the Great Master, in a way that can be met with nowhere else. And there lies the interest in the study of Buddhist iconography of Thailand. And this is what the
The book in eight close chapters has laid bare the innovative genius of Thai artists step by step following the unfolding path of history. From the earliest style of iconic art that found expression in the Mon-Dvaravati regime to the ravaging conquest by the Myanmar onslaughts in the late eighteenth century, ending with the Rattanakosin period, the course of Buddhist art history in icons has been followed with examples that retained the traits prescribed by the canonical literature and at the same time did not ignore the overflow of innovations to the extent that Hinayana could compromise with Mahayana. With this analysis, the book affords an interesting study.
A glossary appended, specially of Thai terms, is a useful aid to study the subject, as also a site map, while a select bibliography provides an indication to further researchers." (jacket)