Notes on Culture & Antique Art, Ethnic Decor & Vintage Fashion | Wovensouls Art Gallery
Lot of 4 Paintings from antique Thai Phra Malai Manuscripts
The Phra Malai is a large Buddhist manuscript that has text & paintings about the teachings of Buddha. The manuscript is large and there are at least 10-12 pairs of paintings in the manuscript.
These paintings have been acquired from the collector who salvaged them from several deteriorated manuscripts from the 1800s.
Some of the pairs are from the left and right sections of the same page of the manuscript. Others may not be matched perfectly but are still very similar and could be presented separately, each in a single frame. Sizes vary marginally.
Painted on Khoi – a type of paper made from the fiber of the streblus asper shrub. This paper was used for centuries to document Thai history.
The story of the Buddhist saint, Phra Malai, who travels to heaven and hell and shares the insights he learned from Maitreya with fellow monks and the laity, was thought to have been imported from Sri Lanka around the 13th century – about the same time that Sinhalese texts were consulted in creation of the Sukhothai style.
It became one of the most popular subjects of ancient Thai manuscripts, which were frequently donated to monasteries as acts of merit.
For more information and related examples see Ginsburg, Thai Manuscript Painting, London, 1989. Compare also to a similar manuscript held in the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (M.76.93.2) and a completely digitized version in the British Library (OR 14838). Sept. 18, 2013, Bonham’s auction, Lot 232.
Could be framed together as shown.
See similar framed pieces that have moved to other homes here & here.