While digging to build a water drainage system just outside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, workers discovered around 130 stone statues over 100 years old. The carvings were discovered by chance and the area was excavated by the fine arts department with the recovered lost art treasure displayed nearby the temple.
Extensive repairs around the perimeter of the temple compound have taken place, with walls re-fortified and ground dug for water drainage when a team of workers discovered the statues which are much newer than the temple itself. -same. It’s unclear how they ended up buried there, but the fact that they’re underground and not exposed to the elements has left them much smoother and untouched than the weathered statues outside the temple.
A professor from the National Institute of Development Administration explained that the statues were probably brought to Bangkok from China on merchant ships a long time ago, when Thailand was still known as Siam and was actively trading. trade with the Chinese by sea. Stone carvings like these which the Thais call upchao were often purchased in large quantities by Siamese merchants who filled their boats with new wares and used the heaviness of these Chinese statues to balance the weight of the boat to even sail back from their races. back to Thailand.
Although there is no exact record of when the statues were first brought into the country or when they were moved, some historians believe the statues may have been originally displayed in the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in 1882. The exhibition of artwork may have been part of the Celebration of the 100th anniversary of the founding of Bangkok, as part of the festivities during the reign of King Rama V .
The statues were an interesting mix of styles that showed Asian and Western influence at the time, with some statues displaying figures dressed in traditional Thai clothing while others were adorned with the clothing typical of Westerners at that time.
The recently unearthed statues are now on the grounds of the Temple of the Emerald Buddha where people can admire them. On Thursday, His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn changed the Emerald Buddha’s seasonal attire for the rainy season in a ceremony that takes place 3 times a year.
THE SOURCE: Bangkok Post