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Thai Art History

             Down the centuries, Thailand has seen the emergence and putting out A number of widely varying art styles. These have been brought unaltered from foreign lands, been developed by the indigenous populations or, in most instances, have resulted from a fusion of several modes, alien and native, to create one which is entirely new. Until the 13th centuries, art forms were heavily influenced by neighboring countries notably India, Sri Lanka, and Kampuchea. With the founding of Sukhothai in the mid- 13th century, a style emerges which is uniquely Thai. To comprehend the vast body of art, which comes under the heading of "Thailand," however, one must explore the various ingredients that went into the creative cauldron.
             With its rich land, plentiful of rainfall and great sunshine, the country has always been a good place for settlement. From early times, its fertility has attracted a many foreign ethnic groups who blended with the native. These groups of people settled around the country's valleys and plains, using the rich environment to create art.
             Approximately 4000 years ago, Thailand's northeastern region was the home of Bronze Age culture of advanced social organization and artistic attainments. By the 1st century A.D. Indian merchants were traversing Thailand's northern region and southern peninsula bringing new concepts, which more than those of any other culture, would profoundly shape the country's religion, literature, art and politics.
             By the third century, found in the Chinese history a record about the existence of many independent kingdoms along the Gulf of Siam coastline. In the central Chao Phya River Valley, small towns were gaining identification as centers of religion and learning. Pilgrim from India, and Sri Lanka, brought Theravada Buddhism replacing the Hinduism and the Mahayana Buddhism which dominant by the majority of the country's peoples. Through the end of the 1000 AD, Khmers, Indonesians and others made their additions to the cultural diversity.

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