Friday, October 14, 2016

Thai bamboo book

The King of Thailand, King Bhumibol Adulyadej, who ruled since 1946 as the longest ruling royal in the world, through multiple military dictatorships and insurgencies, is now dead.Thailand enters a month of national morning today.  http://www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-37654314

In his honor today's blog entry is about our Siamese bamboo book Ramayan,The Book of Prince Rama's Conquest of Ceylon with the Aid of the Monkeys from a Temple in Cambodia circa 16th century. It was purchased in Bangkok. It was handwritten and illustrated, with gilding, by monks. It has what is called organ style pagination.

The Ramayana is one of the worlds largest epic poems about Rama, a legendary prince who was banished by his father, traveled India with his wife ad brother. His wife was kidnapped by the demon king, and a war resulted, and eventually he became king.  The poem is the first example of a kavya poem, depicting duties of relationships, ideal father, servant brother wife and king.  It presents classical ethics and philosophy and culturally classic characters of many Asian nations including Thailand. The poem strongly influenced later Sanskrit poetry, Hindu life and culture.
the book

closeup illustration with gilding

example of illustration on two pages

another closeup illustration with gilding

organ style pagination

closeup of the handwriting

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