Background Info Thailand

Sculpture, painting and architecture in Thailand are strongly influenced by religion. Sculpture is mainly restricted to Buddha statues. Initially, they were not intended as works of art, but to remind the viewer of his religion. Sculptures in the form of mythological or demonic creatures decorate many temples, coming in the form of humans, animals, or imaginative combinations of both. The architecture of the temples and pagodas is stunning, characterised by a wealth of decoration on both the inside and out, and jutting-out roofs on all of the storeys. Pagodas mostly come in the form of chedis, which are clock-shaped with decorative spires (like Wat Saket) or with Khmer prangs, spires in the shape of fingers (like Wat Arun). Traditional Thai houses are also unusual. These houses are made of teak panels, steep saddle-shaped roofs and beautiful carvings. In Bangkok you can visit the Jim Thompson House, a traditional Thai house which has been turned into a museum. The Thailand Classical Dance Theatre takes much of its subject matter from the ancient Hindu story of Ramayana. This epic tells the story of the hero Rama, his wife Sita, his half-brother Laksman and the ape-king Hanuman. Graceful dancing is accompanied by orchestral music. The dancers, wearing their cone-shaped headwear and long fake fingernails are now seen as symbols of Thailand. They must train for a long time, learning meaningful movements (every gesture symbolises an emotion, love, fear, hate, desire) and develop an almost supernatural suppleness. Besides in theatres you can also find these dancers in temples.
In the region of Chiang Mai, you can observe the traditional handicraft workshops, such as silverwork, bronzework, wood carving, weaving, silk, jewellery-making, painting, pottery and parasol-painting.

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