Bangkok, as many cities in the “South” is a pot-pourri of sorts. Extreme beauty side by side with abandoned car parts in the street. A 21st century elevated metro stepping over century-old canals. The city can get to you. Unless you know special gems hidden away.
The Artist house on Klong Bang Luang is one such gem. Located in one of the old floating houses on Bangkok’s canals (the Klongs), it is a treasure of old masks and characters from the Ramayana. They are also called Thai puppets. Almost life-size.
The first picture above is a shrine put up in front of a 600 hundred year-old “chedi”, a Thai name for a Buddhist Stupa.
The Red man. (And the grey man)
The Thai puppets and Khon masks are used to perform stories from the Ramayana, an ancient Indian epic poem telling the story of Prince Rama and his fight to rescue his wife Sita from Demon king Ravana. Rama is helped by Hanuman, the King of monkeys.
Life on the Klongs. c. 1950?
A mermaid puppet. Don’t ask me who she is. I still balk a bit at reading the 20,000+ verses of the Ramayana. I will though. Eventually.
A demon mask. Ramayana is a good example of “Fusion”. Fundamentally a Hindu story it has sprayed and stayed all across Asia, from, amongst others, Buddhist Thailand to Moslem Indonesia. Whatever their “mainstream” religion and culture, all those countries have adopted Ramayana as a part of their own culture and history. Fusion will be the name of the game.
On the Klong. c. 1950.
Khon masks above a touch of Monet’s workshop in Giverny. (I joke you not. Been there)
The Artist’s house. Late 60’s, very early 70’s maybe?
Princesses on display. Note the elaborate costumes. Those were the traditional costumes up to the XXth century. A show is performed – almost – everyday, staging stories from the Ramayana. Make sure you check before you go. (There was no show when we went. All the better excuse to go back to Bangkok)
The owner’s family? Judging by the woman’s hairdo, top left, mid to late 40’s.
Who will be rescued? Modern day Princess Sita above? Or below?
Khob Pun Khraaap. Thank you for hopping along on Equinoxio’s Time-Space shuttle. Second Flight Officer Hanuman reports that Princess Sita has indeed been rescued.