In the past, Thai mural paintings played a significant role in teaching Buddhism as well as promoting morality in Thai society. The technique of making a mural painting can be seen at the Lanna Folklife Museum, where a room is dedicated to the major steps of this art.
Ancient Thai temple murals are believed to be done using the following techniques: artists would paint on a dry plaster, in a tempera technique. The wall was first prepared with special mortar called “Poonpetch” followed by the application of an extremely fine preparatory layer composed of powdered white marl mixed with a gum made by boiling tamarind seeds. The coulours were distempered with sap from yang-ma-quit or wood apple tree or with animal skin glue. Gold leaf was applied with sap from the yang-ma-dua tree (Ficus glomerata, Urticaceae).
Another traditional technique involves the use of an aqueous solution made from leaves of the kee-lek, (Cassia siamea Leguminosae) to prevent reaction with sensitive pigments. The plaster is consider ready for painting when an aqueous solution made from the kamin root (Curcuma domestica), which turns from yellow to red in a basic pH, does not change colour.
Temple murals depict the classic subjects of Thai painting, including tales from the Jataka (Buddha’s birth and previous lives) and other Buddhist theme, as well as vignettes of local life.
Set in the former district court building
- right opposite the Three Kings monument
-the Lanna Folklife Museum recounts the rich culture and history of Northern Thailand. It is a very interesting place to visit - in the real heart of the city.
LANNA FOLKLIFE MUSEUM :
Phrapoklao Road, Phra Singh. Chiang Mai
Tel. 053-217 793
Open 8.30 to 17.00, Mondays closed.