The kingdom of Ayutthaya, known in the West as Siam, was one of the most important kingdoms in Southeast Asia. It flourished for more than four hundred years and was a powerful, prosperous, and influential trading hub. The kingdom was invaded by neighboring Burma in 1767 and was decimated. Unfortunately, this means that few artifacts remain from this golden age of Ayutthayan art.
In 1957, grave robbers uncovered an early Siamese tomb that had been sealed since 1442. This tomb contained artifacts and objects that provided valuable insight into the early developments of the kingdom and its arts. Items that were not looted have shed some light on this fascinating period, and many were included in the Asian Art Museum’s exhibition, including Buddha images, sculptures of Hindu deities, carvings in wood and stone, temple objects, illuminated manuscripts, jewelry, and textiles.
These banners feature one such sculpture, a 17th century seated crowned and bejeweled Buddha from the collection of the Chao Sam Phraya National Museum in Ayutthaya, Thailand. The Buddha, made of copper alloy, is shown in the foreground of the banner on an orange ombré background. Behind the seated figure are the towers of the Dusit Maha Prasat throne hall of the Grand Palace in Bangkok. The sculpture is also highlighted by a stylized foliate design similar to what might have been seen in 18th century Siamese carvings. The overall banner reflects the look of a vintage poster or antique map, with trompe-l’oeil folded seam-lines, an aged finish, and faux ripped edges and corners.
In addition to the imagery, the banner includes the title of the exhibition “THE LOST KINGDOM OF SIAM” in white and yellow lettering at the top. At the bottom in red lettering is the museum’s name, “ASIAN ART MUSEUM.” The other side of the banner features a red background with the museum name, logo, and exhibition dates in white, and the name of the exhibition in lavender lettering, “ASIAN ART MUSEUM/ART OF CENTRAL THAILAND/FEB 18 – MAY 8, 2005.”
These banners were designed exclusively for the Asian Art Museum and were displayed around San Francisco to promote the exhibition, The Lost Kingdom of Siam: The Art of Central Thailand 1350-1800 which ran from February 18 – May 8, 2005. The exhibition will be seen July 16 – October 16, 2005 at Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.
During the height of the Ayutthaya dynasty, artists and craftsmen produced highly decorated works in many media often under the patronage of kings and nobles. Buddhas were depicted with great profusion, generally recounting the many lives of Buddha and the moral lessons taught by each. These included images of Buddha’s birth, death, rebirth, and incarnation in both animal and human forms.
Exhibition: The Lost Kingdom of Siam: The Art of Central Thailand 1350-1800
Material: Printed vinyl
Dimensions: 35" x 72"
(88.9cm x 182.9cm)
Summary From the Asian Art Museum of San Francisco's recent exhibition, “The Lost Kingdom of Siam: The Art of Central Thailand 1350 – 1800” come beautiful Buddha banners. Designed in the trompe-l'oeil style of a folded, yellowing page that might be found at the bottom of Indiana Jones's bag, the banner features a seated Buddha, Bangkok palace, and stylized Thai decorative pattern. The exhibition highlighted a golden age of Siamese art that was all but lost due to the destruction of the Ayutthayan kingdom by the Burmese in the 18th century. The banner is ideal for armchair travelers, lovers of Thai art, and those with a penchant for antique poster art.
Hanging your banner
Hanging your banner is easy – just put a few screws in the wall or ceiling and PRESTO, you’re ready to display your beautiful banner. To make it even easier, each BetterWall banner comes with a free hanging system that gives the impression that your banner is floating just an inch off the wall.
Caring for your banner
Your banner is a unique and durable piece of art. Having been displayed outside, it has weathered the elements and remained beautiful—so it can obviously take a lot of wear and tear! Slight scuffs, small smudges, or minor creases are not noticeable when the banner is hung, and are a part of the banner’s authentic appeal.
Storing your banner
When not on display, your banner can be rolled and stored in the tube provided. Always roll your banner from the bottom and place it in a cool place.