Arrangement of the Stone: The Spatial and Textual Organisation of Siamese Poetry Inscriptions at Wat Pho Monastery and the Temple of the Emerald Buddha | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


The paper discusses the spatial and textual organization of the inscriptions on poetic features called Khlong Konlabot at Wat Pho monastery and of the inscriptions narrating the tales of Ramakian at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha—both in the heart of Old Bangkok—by employing traditional manuscripts as a source for comparison and investigation. The inscriptions are arguably unique among the epigraphic corpora of Thailand because they are closely related to the visual elements surrounding the written texts. The Khlong Konlabot inscriptions of Wat Pho consist of graphics and diagrams, while the inscriptions at the Temple of the Emerald Buddha narrate mural paintings of the Ramakian along the Gallery of the Temple. The textual and spatial organization of both groups of inscriptions, therefore, is more complex than other inscriptions which consist merely of written prose texts. In order to organize the inscriptions, traditional khoi-paper manuscripts were used to plan how the textual elements would correspond with the visual elements, to draft the inscription texts, and sometimes to record which poets and royal scribes were to compose which inscriptions. These manuscripts reveal the process of preparing and producing the inscriptions along with determining how the texts and visual elements were arranged in the inscription space. This paper, therefore, aims to demonstrate the complicated relationship between these two different media in traditional Siamese writing culture: inscriptions and manuscripts.


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