The Buddhist Arts of Thailand

A Thai Buddhist wall paintings featuring a woodland scene

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Paintings from 17th-century Ayutthaya to 2019 London

Thai Buddhist temples feature rich and diverse artistic production including sculpting, wood carving, glass and inlay work, but this talk by Irving Chan Johnson of the National University of Singapore focusses on the impressive spectacle of their wall paintings, explaining their historical, cultural, political and religious contexts and how to read these intricate creations. He then introduces the Phra Bot, cloth banners that replace murals in some Thai temples.

Irving is also a traditional Thai mural painter and has been working on painting the walls of a Thai temple in Singapore for the past six years. He has created a large Phra Bot wall hanging for our Buddhism exhibition, and his talk additionally discusses how he produced the piece while engaging while with issues of Thai traditionalism, modernity and transnationalism.

Irving Chan Johnson is an Associate Professor at the Department of Southeast Asian Studies at the National University of Singapore. Trained as an anthropologist, he received his PhD from Harvard University in 2004 and is the author of The Buddha on Mecca’s Verandah: Encounters, Mobilities and Histories along the Malaysian-Thai Border (2012), University of Washington Press.

Part of our Buddhism exhibition events series. See more events and adult courses inspired by the exhibition.


Name: The Buddhist Arts of Thailand
Where: Knowledge Centre
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Price: Full Price: £11.00
Member: £11.00
Student: £5.50
Registered Unemployed: £5.50
Disabled: £5.50
Under 18: £5.50
Senior (60+): £9.50
Young Person (18-25): £5.50
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546