VIRTUAL COLLECTION OF ASIAN MASTERPIECES

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Wiang Ta Murals
0422
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Why this is a
Masterpiece

The Wiang Ta murals are a rare example of Lanna mural painting on wood. The painters cleverly used vertical motifs, such as trees and architectural columns to disguise the joint of the planks. Although the color scheme was common to other Lanna mural paintings, using dark blue, cinnabar, light brown, dark green and touches of gold leaf, the artist(s) tinted the skin tone with pink which gave a flesh appearance. The murals depict two Jatakas, which were admired by the people of Lanna—Kam Ka Dam and Saen Muang Long Tham. The paintings include inscriptions in Khammuang (the language of Lanna) in order to highlight important passages in the stories. A section is dedicated to what is believed to be portraits of patrons or devotees. The mural is valued by scholars for its reflection of the world view and the lifestyle of the period.

History of the Object
According to oral history, these paintings were originally set in a raised wooden square building with four gable porches and a tiered roof called mondop or phayadhatu, a style favoured by the T’ai Yai people. The T’ai Yai (Shan) came from the Shan States to work with British timber companies who were given logging concessions in Phrae province. After the original viharn (sanctuary) fell into disrepair, the villagers recycled the planks to build anew. The paintings were set too low in the building and the storyline of the murals was confused. By the late 1980s the viharn was in very poor condition and the roof leaked badly. The villagers decided to pull the building down to build a new structure. The murals were then dismantled and transported to Rai Mae Fah Luang. The Lanna Kingdom was founded in the 13th century. Its strength rested upon trading networks developed between areas of southern China, northern Laos, northern Burma and northern Thailand. Therefore, it was not unusual for peoples from related T'ai groups to move throughout the kingdom. Lanna was annexed by Siam in 1892.

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Type
Painting 
Materials
Teak, tempera pigments 
Measurements
Four panels 
Creator name
Lanna 
Creator date
Unknown 
Where it was made
Thailand; Phrae Province; Long District; Wiang Ta Mon Temple 
Geography
Thailand 
Time period
AD 19th century ~ AD 19th century 
Creation date
19th Century; late 1800s 
Function
Teaching Buddhist Dharma. 
Acquisition
Acquired by the Mae Fah Luang Foundation on October 29, 1988 as a bequest by the congregation of Wiang Ta Mon Temple, upon the construction of a new sanctuary on the temple grounds. The collection was created in the 1980s. At that time, many artifacts moved out of northern Thailand. The Mae Fah Luang Foundation, wishing to make it possible for northern people to continue a relationship with their material heritage, collected different types of artifacts. 
Copyright
 
Acknowledgements
 
Owner
Mae Fah Luang Foundation 
Museum
Rai Mae Fah Luang Art and Cultural Park 
Credit line
Mae Fah Luang Foundation 

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