Panel Exhibition in the Entrance Lobby: Door Panels of Wat Rajpradit, a First-grade Royal Buddhist Temple in Bangkok, Thailand

Ordination hall of Wat Rajpradit
Exhibition of research on the lacquer door panels of Wat Rajpradit
Exhibition of Japanese lacquerworks in Thailand

 The Tokyo National Research Institute for Cultural Properties (TOBUNKEN) exhibits panels in its entrance lobby to disseminate its research outcomes. We started the new panel exhibition shown in the title on July 28th, 2022.

 Wat Rajpradit, one of the first-grade royal Buddhist temples, was built in 1864 by King Rama IV as the third royal temple in Bangkok, the capital of Thailand, based on the Thai tradition of three royal Buddhist temples being constructed by each dynasty.

 The doors and windows of the Wat Rajpradit ordination hall feature panels decorated with mother-of-pearl inlay with underpainting using very thin seashell parts whose backs are colored and drawn, and lacquered parts decorated with colored lacquer maki-e expressing three-dimensional patterns. In particular, the style of the patterns of the mother-of-pearl inlay with underpainting looks Japanese. The Fine Arts Department, Ministry of Culture of Thailand asked TOBUNKEN for technical support to restore the lacquer door panels in 2012. Responding to their request, we brought two panels to TOBUNKEN in October 2013, investigated them in detail, restored them experimentally, and conducted on-site investigations until July 2015. At the same time, they were examined from the different perspectives of art history, musicology, and the history of Japanese trade to identify the provenance of the lacquer door panels and their characterization in lacquerwork manufacturing history. As these investigations confirmed that the door panels were manufactured in Japan, we now extend the focus to other Japanese lacquerworks in Thailand and continue the investigations.

 This panel exhibition shows the process of discovering the manufacturing techniques and the provenance of the lacquer door panes at Wat Rajpradit through a joint study by researchers and research institutes in various fields from both inside and outside TOBUNKEN. The exhibition also introduces some Japanese lacquerworks that were exported to Thailand. Please visit us to enjoy the exhibition. (Opening hours: Monday to Friday except for national holidays, 9:00–17:30)

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