Suttha Sawan, originally a royal consecration, was created to perform various ceremonies such as the Lunar New Year ceremony. Royal ceremony, the Son of Greece etc. After that, in the year 1787, he went to Chiang Mai And brought Phra Sihing down His Highness therefore dedicated this throne to enshrine Buddha Sihing. Changed the name of this throne Phutthaisawan Throne Hall. Currently, Phutthaisawan Throne Hall is part of the Bangkok National Museum.
His Royal Highness the King To build the throne In the past, there was a royal idea that it would be used as a place for performing royal ceremonies such as the Royal New Year ceremony. Rite of God In the meantime, in the year 1787, King Buddha Yodfa, Chulalongkorn, had a royal command to ascend to Chiang Mai to explore the construction of a new city so that the people could live normally. At that time Chiang Mai may be considered an abandoned city due to frequent wars. Most people therefore have fled to live in other cities. During that survey He met Buddha Sihing. And recalled that it was the Buddha statue that had been enshrined at Wat Phra Si Sanphet Since the Ayutthaya period His Highness therefore invited Phra Sihing to the capital city. And dedicated this throne As well as constructing five golden castles dedicated to enshrining the Phra Buddha Sihing And named the throne “Suttha Sawan Throne Hall”
After the royal wedding of His Royal Highness Prince Maha Surasinghan His Majesty the King Buddha, the sky, Chulalongkorn, the royal initiative that “Buddha images, silver and gold objects of worship are available in the Suttha Sawan Hall If left, the culprit will be stolen. “Therefore, please bring Phra Sihing and other Buddha images to be enshrined at the Ubosot. Temple of the Emerald Buddha Since then
During the reign of King Maha Senanurak His Majesty, please demolish the five gold-plated palaces which once enshrined the Phra Buddha Sihing. Then set up the Phra Sate Sachet instead to be used as a royal guest And monks offer sermons
Later, His Royal Highness Prince Maha Sakdiphasakhi restored the new Suttha Sawan Throne Hall, which Krom Phraya Damrong Rajanuphap wrote that The restoration of this time is a glorious one that all things are good. Is only a repair that is broken Therefore still see the original items which have been elaborately made to this day “Suttha Sawan Throne Hall” is a “Putthaisawan Throne Hall” which may be for 3 reasons, which are
Since His Majesty King Rama IV created Sutthaisawan Throne Hall Up inside the Grand Palace Which has a name that is similar to the Sutta Sawan Throne Hall. Therefore, Phra Boromarajon Maha Sakdiphon is renamed the Throne Hall to be different
His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej was asked to re-establish Isara Throne Hall, so he changed the name to “Phutthaisawan Throne Hall” for rhyme.
After the construction of the Isara Vinajaya Throne His Highness moved the Sesachat Buddha statue, which was originally located at the Sutthasawan Hall, to the Isara Vinajaya Throne Hall. His Majesty had the royal initiative that the Sutthasawan Throne Hall enshrined the Buddha statue as it used to be. Therefore changed the new seat to “Phutthaisawan Mansion”.
After that, when His Majesty the King came to live in the royal palace. He brought Phra Sihing Buddha, which Phra Buddha Yod Fa Fah Chulalongkorn had brought to enshrine at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha. Returned to be enshrined at the Putthaisawan Hall as before.
The evolution of the Front Palace reflects the conceptual development of the “Uparaja” (or Viceroy), which culminated in the mid-eighteenth century appointment of a Second King. This exhibition explores what is left in Bangkok of the site today, and deconstructs the history behind it.
Wang Na Naruemit
Wang Na Naruemit aims to both chronicle the origins of Thailand’s Front Palace, as well as to explore the multiple layers of history that can be discovered within it. As part of the Wang Na Naruemit project, a social experiment in the form of an exhibition was created entitled “In Situ from the Outside: Reconstructing the Past In-Between the Present”
Propelling the past into contemporary conversations that challenge the conventionally prescriptive role of a museum, “In Situ From Outside” deconstructs the concept of history as an exclusively fixed and inherently linear construct. Allowing people to walk around and interact with its histories guided by contemporary in situ creations, the exhibition takes history as a deeply personal experience by inviting dialogue and encouraging visitors to build their own relationships with their histories.
The Front Palace during the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya Periods
The Front Palace of the Rattankosin Period, or Wang Na, is also known as “Bovorn Sathan Mongkol Palace” refers to both a place (the residence of the King’s Viceroy), as well as to an individual who holds the position of Viceroy. This position first appeared in 1485 during the Sukhothai Period in the form of an “Uparaja” which was synonymous to the role of a Viceroy. It was not until the Ayutthaya Period that the role of “Uparaja” evolved into the physical concept of what becomes known as ‘Wang Na’ or the Front Palace.
Chantharakasem Palace, Ayutthaya Kingdom
The concept of the Front Palace gained prominence during King Maha Thammarajathirat’s reign (1569-1590) when he built a residence for his son Naresuan The Great’s visits to Ayutthaya. This residence became known as Chantharakasem Palace, but was also referred to as Front Palace, and this is the first time we hear the expression “Wang Na.” This Ayutthaya period Front Palace is located on the banks of the Pa Sak River (Khlong Khu Khue Na, or “Front City Canal”) in Ayutthaya (Thailand). Royal Chronicles state that it was built around 1577. King Naresuan used The Front Palace as his command center for the battle with troops from Hongsawadee in 1586 C.E., and it became the palace residence of eight further kings and important viceroys.
The Front Palace during the Rattanakosin Period
On April 6, 1782, H.M. King Phutthayotfa Chulalok the Great (King Rama I) began his reign as the first King of the Chakri Dynasty. He installed his younger brother as Viceroy Maha Surasinghanat, making him the first Viceroy of the Rattanakosin Era.
The Viceroy in Bangkok
Having moved the capital from Thonburi across the river to where Bangkok sits today, King Rama I commanded the simultaneous construction of the Grand Palace and the Front Palace. In appointing his younger brother to Viceroy, King Rama I gave him the title, Rajawang Bovorn Sathan Mongkol, which translates to Lord of the Front Palace, and so from 1782–1885, those who held this title and resided in the Front Palace were generally considered to be the heirs apparent of Siam.
The Significance and Function of Wang Na
In Thai, the word na (or “front”) indicates the Palace’s position, and refers to its protective function, which remained very similar to its role during the Ayutthaya period, acting as a door to the city. According to ancient royal tradition the army was composed of a vanguard in front, followed by the main body, and a rear guard. The “Wang Na” Viceroy was commander of the vanguard and led the royal army into battle. This ancient royal tradition can be illustrated through Tamrapichaisongkram, a canon of texts concerned with the defensive arts which had been in use since at least the reign of King Ramathibodi II during the Ayutthaya Era.
The Front Palace and Tamrapichaisongkram
Tamrapichaisongkram describes how military success can be gained by a combination of strategic and supernatural methods, dictating an arrangement of troops conducive to each arena of war.
In this image of a mythological bull, กองพันหน้า refers to the vanguard. The กองพันหน้า was led by the Front Palace Viceroy first into battle, working in close concert with His Majesty, The King.
This ancient royal tradition was adapted and applied to the role of the Front Palace during the Rattanakosin Era.
The Reign of Rama IV and Second King Pinklao during the Rattankosin Era. When King Rama IV ascended the throne in 1851, he elevated his younger brother from Viceroy to the unprecedented rank of Second King. This unique socio-political development led to a major narrative shift in the idea of kingship and was the impetus for a series of major and symbolic architectural additions to the Front Palace. It now had to reflect the status of its inhabitant, and literally, be fit for a king.
The palace plan when Second King Pinklao resided in the Front Palace, a period in which the scale of the palace grew to be at its largest.
The Front Palace Today
The Front Palace and city walls were once in parallel to one another.
Sections of the old city and palace walls now lay underneath Thammasat University’s 60th Anniversary Building which is on the western side of the former palace, parallel to the Chao Phraya River. A partial reconstruction was undertaken in order to illustrate the original location of both the Front Palace and city walls.
The Fai Nai, or Inner Palace
During the King Rama I-V period, the Inner Palace was home to consorts and children of the Front Palace. King Rama V transformed much of the space into army barracks, and during the reign of King Rama VII, it became Thammasat University.
The Fai Nai, or Inner Palace Today
The dome building of Thammasat University marks the spot which would have been the Inner Palace during the reigns of Rama I-V.
Remnants of Old Palace Walls in Modern Day Bangkok
Along the original location of a Palace walls, there would have been a moat surrounding the Front Palace where Phra Chan Road now lies. The walls would have led to Sanam Luang, an open area of the Front Palace, in the middle of which one would have seen the High Pavilion.
This structure would have been to the front of Bhuddaisawan Chapel, and was built to celebrate King Rama IV’s elevation of his younger brother to the unprecendented rank of Second King.
The structure possessed a prasat which signified the presence of a King within the palace. Once utilized to mount elephants, during King Rama IV’s reign the structure played an important role in royal ceremonies.
Kotchakampravet Prasat was dismantled during the mid to late King Rama V period, and what is left of the structure is a space to the front of Buddhaisawan Chapel.
Residence of Second King Pinklao Today
The Issares Rachanuson was the residence of Second King Pinklao, and visibly bears the western influence of which he admired.
Wat Bowon Sathan Sutthawat (Wat Phra Kaew Wang Na)
In the Thai tradition, every palace has its own temple with which it is associated. Though construction for this ordination hall began in Rama III’s reign, it was completed during the Rama IV period and became the temple associated with the Front Palace.
Wat Bowon Sathan Sutthawat or Wat Phra Kaew Wang Na Currently located within Bunditpatanasilpa Institute, and not open for the public or traveler to visit. The temple for some ceremonial rituals only.
Buddhaisawan Chapel and the memories which lay dormant within its murals. One of the first structures built within the Front Palace during the reign of King Rama I, Buddhaisawan Chapel contains murals, considered a masterpiece of the early Rattankosin Period.
In this series of murals, artists recount the life of the Lord Buddha, integrating artistic motifs, details, and local flora into the story that reflect the artists’ own personal context. The resulting murals thus contain not only the Buddha’s story but also the memories of the individual artists.
Kitichate Sridith, a botanist and educator, grew up in the Bangkok Noi area surrounding the former Front Palace. Kitichate spent days examining the flora within the mural art of Buddhaisawan Chapel, reviving dormant memories of what existed here and what has been lost.
Take-home postcards were created, showcasing the different types of vegetation within the mural paintings and the stories each plant and flower holds.
Working with plants and flowers, I believe that the murals of Buddhaisawan Chapel serve not only as an archive of trees and plants that have since disappeared from the site, but also as a personal history of the artists’ own experience of the space as reflective of the world around him.
– Kitichate Sridith
Plum Blossoms within the Mural Art of Buddhaisa
Unseen Plants of Precedence: Plum Blossoms and Peonies
Identifiable by its characteristic round petals, the plum blossom grows only in the more temperate climates of higher altitude, and is therefore, a tree that we can suspect no historical visitor to this space would have ever seen in the flesh.
Its relative rarity has imbued in it an association of luck’ or ‘status,’ that historical painters may have seen depicted in the paintings of the Chinese and Japanese courts, or in religious manuscripts of the time.
Its inclusion here – as a special and an almost mythical flower amongst the more tropical plants of Thailand – can be seen as allegorical, whereby the plum blossom represents, or is associated with, a non-ordinary being such as a royal, amongst what would have been considered the more ordinary.
And in keeping with the socio-cultural norms of the time-whereby to articulate a name might reduce its bearer of their power–we see how a painter’s botanical knowledge allows him to respectfully symbolize his patron, rather than depict him in form.
Peonies or ‘botan’ (‘pud-taan’ in the Thai pronunciation) blossoming at the foot of the Buddha
Durians, Coconuts, and Yangna Trees of Buddhais
Trees visible in this painting include:
Coconut trees (Cocos nucifera L.); a Durian tree with hanging fruits (Durio zibethinus L.); and a “Yang Na Tree” with its distinct white trunk and “black hole” due to resin extraction by fire (Dipterocarpus alatus Roxb. ex G. Don).
Coconut and Durian were two of the most common species of fruit trees found in the Bangkok Noi area.
The districts across the river from the Front Palace had once been the center of fruit production for the Kingdom, and as such, fruit such as durian were plentiful in this area throughout the Ayutthaya and early Rattanakosin periods; and even as recently as 50 years ago.
Mural paintings were a means by which painters could document history,and for those of us in modern-day Bangkok, we see evidence of vegetation that no longer exist in the present-day through the work of such painters.
Bangkok National Museum
The Bangkok National Museum is the main branch museum of the National Museums in Thailand and also one of the largest museums in Southeast Asia. It features exhibits of Thai art and history. It occupies the former palace of the vice king (or Front Palace), set between Thammasat University, and the National Theater, facing Sanam Luang.
The museum was established and opened in 1874 by King Rama V to exhibit relics from the rule of King Rama IV’s rule. Today the galleries contain exhibits covering the Thai History back to Neolithic times. The collection includes The King Ram Khamhaeng Inscription, which was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Programme registered in 2003 in recognition of its significance.
Other than preserving and displaying Thai artifacts dating from the Dvaravati, Srivijaya, to Sukhothai and Ayutthaya periods, the museum also displays extensive collections of regional Asian Buddhist Arts such as Indian Gandhara, Chinese Tang, Vietnamese Cham, Indonesian Java, and Cambodian Khmer arts.
As of April 2019, the museum is nearing the end of a decade-long renovation of its exhibition rooms. Twelve halls have been revamped already. Four more halls will be renovated over the next three years. All will receive new interiors, better lighting, and computer-aided multimedia displays.