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Srivijava Style Art In South Thailand

  • In the 7th C the Peninsula of South Thailand was invaded and formed part of the Srivijaya Empire. Today nobody knows exactly who these people were and where the centre of their empire originated. Srivijaya was a dominant force between 8th – 13th C.
  • The culture was Hindu from India but with its own cultural influence which developed in Java and the region. Its monarchs were related to the members of the Sailendra Empire of central Java. The term Srivijaya art is like the term Lan Na art and as it reflects various infusions of style from India, Champa (Vietnam) and central Java it might rather be a reference to all art and architecture in South Thailand in the period 7th - 13th C. The Kingdom was ruled by the Sailendra dynasty of Central Java which also ruled the Indonesian Archipelago, the Malay Peninsula and Southern Thailand to the Isthmus of Kra.
  • Its capital in Thailand was the City of Chaiya (then called Grahi). In Thailand sculpture and architectural relics confirm that Mahayana Buddhism was predominate. The style reflects close resemblance to Indo-Javanese art also showing influences from India (Amaravati, Pala and Gupta). Most Srivijaya architecture is on the east coastline from Surat Thani Province south to Songkhla Province and comprises religious buildings of Mahayana Buddhism. Good examples are Phra Borom Mathat at Chaiya in Javanese style made of brick and mortar (9th –10th C), Wat Kaew Pagoda at Chaiya also of Javanese form and Wat Long Pagoda. The original Wat Mahathat at Nakhon Si Thammarat (a Srivijayan city) was subsequently encased by a larger Sri Lanka styled building.


Where To Find Srivijaya Art In Thailand

  • Good examples of Srivijaya art, especially bronzes can be seen at National Museum Bangkok. Major works include the Bodhisatta Bronze with silver inlay shown here. This was found at Chaiya, Surat Thani and dates 8th - 9th C. Another major work inbronze, as shown above is the Buddha under the Naga King, Muchalinda. This is from Wat Wieng, Chaiya, Surat Thani, and is dated 1183.