Publication of the Report: Lacquered Door Panels of Wat Rajpradit – Study of the Japan-made Lacquerwork Found in Thailand –

Lacquer door panels of Wat Rajpradit. Dharma teachings of Buddha on top of the door panels.
Cover of the report

 Since 1992, the Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) has been conducting cooperative research to conserve and restore the cultural properties of Thailand jointly with the Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture of Thailand (FAD). As part of this research, TOBUNKEN has provided technical support for restoration work by FAD, Wat Rajpradit, and other related parties in Thailand, targeting lacquer door panels in Wat Rajpradit, a first-grade royal Buddhist temple built by King Rama IV in 1864.

 Investigating manufacturing techniques and materials is mandatory for restoring cultural properties. Such investigations also provide opportunities to find and gain vast knowledge related to the given cultural properties. The lacquer door panels at Wat Rajpradit are believed to have been made in Japan because they are decorated with the designs of people with Japanese garments using techniques of mother-of-pearl inlay with underpainting, which were typical for Japanese lacquerwork products for export, mainly in the mid-19th century. However, there was no evidence to prove this origin prior to this investigation. Therefore, experts in various fields, from within and outside of TOBUNKEN, investigated them, and their design patterns expressed with mother-of-pearl inlay with underpainting and colored lacquer maki-e, from scientific perspectives. The investigations revealed that these lacquer door panels were likely made in Japan based on their materials, techniques, and design expressions.

 The report of this article published in March 2022 consists of an English translation of the discussions cited in the Japanese report about the research outcomes published in 2021 and the discussion related to the background of the temple’s foundation and the buildings in the temple area by FAD and Wat Rajpradit. This report is available for reading in the TOBUNKEN library. We would be pleased if you could read this report.

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