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Thai Sukhothai Style Art

  • Thai Sukhothai art refers to the art and style of the Sukhothai (translated as the dawn of happiness) Empire period. Sculpture (bronze, stucco and stone) was inspired by Theravada Buddhism which created a new style in which spiritual serenity is merged with human form and reflected in the numerous images of the Buddha. Sculptors did not base their images on strict human form but on interpretations of metaphors from religious verse and Pali language scriptures.
  • Accordingly the artists created images that were intended to reflect the compassionate and superhuman nature of the Buddha.
  • During this period bronze images of Hindu gods were also caste. These Hindu gods are crowned and wear royal attire and were cult objects in royal court rituals performed by Brahman priests. Excellent examples can be seen at the National Museum Bangkok.
  • In addition, Sukhothai was famous for ceramics (‘’Sangkhalok ware ‘’). There were two forms, the monochromes in brown and white and the celadon and painted wares. The later have dark brown or black designs and have a clear glaze. During the 15th to 16th centuries these were popular in South East Asia and exported to Indonesia, the Philippines and elsewhere.
  • Sculpture (bronze, stucco and stone) was inspired by Theravada Buddhism which created a new style in which spiritual serenity is merged with human form and reflected in the numerous images of the Buddha. Sculptors did not base their images on strict human form but on interpretations of metaphors from religious verse and Pali language scriptures.



Sukhothai Period Stucco Buddha At Chaliang


Where To Find Better Examples Of Sukhothai Art & Architecture

  • The brick and stucco images of the Buddha remain with the ruins of the temples (Wats) where they were made. These are at Sukhothai and it outposts, Chaliand and Si Satchanalai and Khamphaeng Phet.

The best examples are:
  • The walking Buddha at Wat Phra Ratana Mahathat at Chaliang Si Satchanalai
  • The laterite and stucco Buddhas at Wat Mahathat Sukhothai
  • The Laterite and stucco buddhat at Wat Si Chun
The Bronze Hindu gods are best seen at:
  1. National Museum Bangkok and
  2. Two other good examples are at Ramkhamhaeng Museum Sukhothai Historical Park
  • The Phra Buddha Jinnarat at Phitsanulok (15th century) is a most venerated image in a Wat worthy of a visit for its architecture and art.