Adorn Dibyanivasa Building : Visual Arts

Adorn Dibyanivasa Building : Visual Arts

3 Silapa Rattanakosin Resource Center

          “ Education arts and culture are the primary sources of intellectual and mental progression. They are the foundation and elements of all advancement and, also, are the important factor in conserving Our Thai identity...”

Royal Guidance of His Majesty the King Bumibol Adulyadej at the graduation ceremony of Silpakorn University on 12 October 1970.

          The special characteristic of arts in Rattanakosin era depict His Majesty's preference and international relationship which play an important role in the combination of Thai and western arts. The evidence of social surrounding, economic, belief and prosperity appeared in these works of arts.

Magnificent Thai (1782 A.D.-1809A.D.)

          King Rama 1 had the intention to restore craftsmanship and artistic works as it used to be in Ayuddhaya era. He gathered skillful craftsmen and artisans to build the new capital hence the arts in his reign carried on the tradition of Ayuddhaya era as known as "Traditional Thai”

Golden Age of Thai Arts (1809 A.D. - 1824 A.D.)

          By the end of King Rama Is, Siam was ceased from war and returned to a peaceful atmosphere. The tranquility ambience in the reign of King Rama 2 was an excellent time to restore and create all kinds of arts:painting, literature, music and dance. This made his reign was named “Golden Age of Thai arts.

Foreign Artisan in Siam

          Most of the foreigners in the earlyRattanakosin era arrived in Siam on Christianity purpose. In the reign of King Rama 5, the King employed foreign artisans to work at various departments in order to modernize the country. The foreign artisans: a German, an English and an Italian, played a very important role in Thai arts in that period.

          The employment of foreign artisans in the reign of King Rama 5 inspiredthe cultural interchange between Thai and foreign artisans. Apart from the Italian artisans who had great influence in Thai architect, the German and English artisan also played important role, too. This stimulated the extensive research and educated in the artist circle.

Royal Court as an Artisans Patronage Center

          The commission to build the temples and the palaces is one form of royal patronages; Siam artisans acquired their knowledgeas an apprentice in these places.Up to the time Siam embraced influential culture from western countries, the alteration began in every fields: painting, sculpture and architecture. It can be said that western and eastern culture perfectly integrated.

The Visual Artsin the Royal Court

Combination of Arts from Aboard (1824 AD - 1851 AD.)

          In the reign of King Rama 3, the establishment of diplomatic and commercial relationship between Siam (former name of Thailand) and China enhanced the combination of Thai and Chinese arts. The kings favor of Chinese arts inaeased its popularity among the monarchs and aristocrats. Sulptures and other form of arts were imported to decorate palaces, homes and monasteries.

First Encounter with Western World (1851AD. - 1868 AD.)

          Western arts first entered to the court of Siam in the reign of King Rama 4. Pra Nakorn Kiri is the good sample of western architecture in the early age. In the area of religious, the mural painting by Krua In Kong, using the bird-eye-view perspective technique, marked the integration of Thai and western arts.

Siam Civilization (1868 AD. - 1910 AD.)

          After the reign of King Rama 4, Siam was threatened by colonialism. In order to survive, King Rama 5 planned for the modernization and reformation of the country to be equivalent with western countries. One of his policies was to build magnificent palaces and office building thus western arts began to mix with Thai way of life.

Practical Thai (1910AD. - 1925AD)

          In the reign of King Rama 6, Arts in Siam was the combination of western style and Thai style according to the king's preference. He collected skillful artists from various fields and established the Department of Entertainment (Department of Fine Arts at present). He also was the founder of "Pohchang School of Fine Arts", the first arts school in Thailand.

Modern but SimpleStyle (1925AD. - 1937AD.)

          The reign of King Rama 7, Siam was in the era of transformation in all aspects: economic politic and state of society. The works of arts at this time took simplicity and usefulness into consideration as known as "Modern Style"

Arts and the People's Party (1937AD. - 1946AD)

          Arts, in the reign of King Rama 8, was produced under the concept of “Equality” and carried on the "Modern Style” to be the mirror image of this idea. Arts in this time had political trace underneath in order to gain legitimacy of the new regime and created nationalistic ideology.

Contemporary Thai (1946AD. - 2016AD)

          Arts, according to King Rama 9's initiative, was an excellent model of the development of Thai arts by applying traditional Thai style with various design, giving a modern touch induding technique, material and creativity. Arts in this period was known as "Contemporary Thai Arts”


Inner Court in Suan Sunandha

          “ No tranquil place where I can be on my own I should have an inner garden where I can roam around alone On second thought, my family is in decline. Sooner or later, they will move away so it is better to stop the extension wall to Suan Sunandha. The layout will be more complicated if we abolish it later. The northern area will become a desolation area. We still have time to adjust because we begin the project from the southern part."

His Majesty King Chulachomkao addressed to Chao Praya Yommaraj (Pan Sukkum)

after returning from his Second Royal State Visit to Europe in the year 1906

          When SuanSunandha was the resident of female members of the royal family(1919 A.D.-1932 AD.) it was one of the most pleasurable places. In the middle of this vast plot of land was a large pond and manmade canals dotted naturally with small islets and hills. The area was shady with different kinds of trees.”

M.R. SangsurnLadawan Younger half-brother of M.R. SadabLadawan

"The mansions that belong to the queens, princess and consorts lined the ground, on slope and by the stream with flowers and vegetable planted around their buildings. It was pleasant to the eyes."

M.R. Sangsurn Ladawan Younger half-brother of M.R. SadabLadawan

Suan Sunandha the Garden Palace

          The western area of Suan Sunandha palace was built by the command of king Rama 5. He wanted to construct a new place where he could spend his leisure time and the resident of the female members of the royal family after his reign.

          King Rama 6 furthered the construction until completely finished according to the royal wish of his father. This place was the resident of the queen, daugthers and consorts of the king Rama 5 until the occurrence of Sian Revolution in 1932 which marked the finale of the inner court era.

Thai architect and Foreign architect in SuanSunandha

          Suan Sunandha was designed by Mr. A.Rigassi an Italian architect, ChaoPrayaYommaraj (Pan Sukkum) was a construction director and Praya Prachakornvijarana (Oh Amattayakul) was a Construction Supervisor. The 122 rai plot of land (approximately 21 hectares) comprised manmade small hill, small streams zigzag among alluring garden and a large pond surrounded by beautiful royal mansions.

Chudharattanaporn building : Music Exhibition.

Ardhorn Tippyanivas building : Visual Arts Exhibition.

Auan-achava Dhamdhawalaya Building : Thai classical dances Exhibitions.

          Suan Sunandha comprised royal mansions and houses of other members of the inner court. The size of the mansions and the houses varied according to the rank of the owner and the number of the habitants. There were large-size, medium-size and small-size royal mansions and the house of His Majesty's consorts. The landscape of SuanSunandha was designed beautifully and was a good example of the perfect combination of eastern and western architecture.

          There are three small mansions standing close together in a row. The position of the mansions represents the close relationship of the owners: HRH Princess Chudharattana Rajkumaree, HRH Princess ArdhornTippyanibha and Chao Com Euan and Chao Com Tham. At present these mansions are the location of "Three silpas Museum”.

Nongkran Samosorn Palace

Modern Architect at Nongkran Samosorn Palace

          The objective of this palace was to be the residence of H.M. Queen Regent Sribhajarindhara, the Queen Mother. However H.M. the Queen Mother preferred to stay at Phaya Thai palace so the palace was renovated as a central audience hall using in the royal merit making occasion or party at the royal pleasure.

          The palace was built using wall bearing structure system with pointed arch shell in reinforced concrete. The galleries between each curved wall were adorned with fresco paintingwhich make this palace the first place in Thailand that used this technique. Fresco technique was first introduce

Inner Court in the Grand Palace

          Since the beginning of Rattanakosin era the inner court in the Grand Palace had been the residence of the queen, consorts, female members of the royal family and consorts of the previous kings. By the reign of King Rama 5, the grand palace was overpopulated. The King had broughtwestern architecture to renovate the old mansions making architectural pattern in the inner court varied according to the background of each architect.

Saun Hong mansion

The residence of HRH princes Sasiphongprapai. 

Inner court in Dusit Palace

          Dusit palace was built in the reign of King Rama 5 as a place for relaxation because the grand palace was so congested that the air was not well ventilated. When he had moved to reside at Dusit palace permanently he had order to build the group of mansion in the west area. The landscapecomprisedbeautiful garden with small steam ran in between. Most of the mansions were in Victorian style architecture, elaborated with decorative trims, known as “Gingerbread Home”

Artistic Work : the Feminine Aesthetic Arts

          "Formerly, the learning center for women was in the royal palace. Their level of education depended on their social status and circumstances. The guardian of the girl had to have a good connection with someone in the inner court, may be a relative or trusty person, then the girlwas sent to live withthe head of the mansion since her childhood"

Prince Damrongrachanuphap

Artistic Work of the Inner Royal Court

          The inner court was the center of high-society females and nurtured them to be ladies who were completed with ability and capability. Their fine arts, in particular, were renowned of supreme quality.


          FloralArts was Counted as a piece of work that showed off the owner's talent. Many female monarchs were capable to create wonderful pieces of work. H.R.H SmorrattanaSirichet could always find new technique in flower arrangement, H.R.H. Princess Suddhasininat was renowned of her floral net and Chao KhunPraprayoonwong was renowned of her distinctive garlands, to name but a few.


          Embroidery in the inner court of Rattanakosin was elevated to the peak of its design, delicacy and exquisite. Embroidery was mainly used in clothing material up to the reign of King Rama 5 when the integration with other arts began. Queen SaovabhaPhongsri granted her courtiers an education in Japan in the field of home economics and drawing. After they came back, their knowledge were adjusted with traditional Thai work and created a unique characteristic of Thai embroidery.