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The structure are statues of Heaven built on Earth

The structure are statues of Heaven built on Earth

An exhibition in Bangkok shares the amazing story behind the Royal Crematorium

FOR ORDINARY citizens who won’t be able to get too close to the royal crematorium at Sanam Luang in Bangkok – and for anyone else wishing to understand the structure’s individual components better – the Thailand Creative and Design Centre has a wonderfully explanatory exhibition on the subject.

“Insight Thai Architecture”, continuing through January 7 at the center in the Grand Postal Building on Charoenkrung Road, features full-scale models of the elaborate elements that have been affixed to the crematorium of His Majesty the late King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

Each piece is accompanied by a textual explanation of its placement and meaning.

The royal crematorium that has risen at Sanam Luang over the past year is called Phra Merumas and incorporates the utmost achievements in Thai architecture – along with some decidedly modern advances in methodology.

Associate Professor Dr. Chaiyasit Dankittikul, dean of architecture at Silpakorn University, notes that royal crematoria are “conceptual and temporary structures that are taken apart after the ceremony and never used again”.

“But each one is unique in its design since it’s built for an individual funeral,” he says, and each time, traditional Thai architecture poses specific challenges in terms of achieving accuracy in shapes and scale.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is a reduced-scale model of the entire crematorium, embodying a veritable renaissance for Thai architectural creativity. The artists are, after all, seeing to recreate Heaven on Earth.

Surrounding the structure are statues of celestial beings – the Garuda, the naga and other mythical creatures found in classical Hindu and Buddhist literature and in the Trai Bhumi beliefs that encompass final honors bestowed on a king.

It’s interesting to see a careful thought and painstaking creativity that’s gone into this and how the technology used in building the Phra Merumas has evolved over different reigns and eras. Source: Nation

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