Thai history of Thai collectable antique periods

The earliest period of history from which Thai antiques can be traced is the Dvaravati period, (7th to 11th centuries AD), and almost all of these are Hinayana Buddhism items. During this time, the Mon people ruled an area in central Thailand but reached as far north as present day Lamphun, and Khmer-influenced pieces are still found there to this day.

This was followed by the Lopburi period (7th to 14th centuries AD), which can be categorised into early Lopburi art and the later Lopburi period. Again, antiques from this period display a strong Khmer influence, although with a distinctly different style from that of the Dvaravati period.

Items from the Lanna Kingdom are roughly grouped under the Chiang Saen era (11th to 18th centuries AD), based upon the important trading town still standing on the banks of the Mekhong. Little has been recorded on the earlier period in which Buddha images were profoundly influenced by styles from India which arrived via craftsmen imported from Pagan in Burma. Indeed, during this time Lanna was overrun or allied to kingdoms in Burma on several occasions, but produced an era of artistic growth.

The latter period was strongly influenced by the rise of the Sukhothai period (13th to 14th centuries AD), considered by many to be the zenith of cultural and artistic development in the area. The style of Buddha images from this period is particularly distinctive, with a serene smiling expression and remarkable body form.

Following that, the Ayuthaya period (14th to 18th centuries AD) rose to prominence and influenced the entire region before succumbing to Burmese invasion. The Ratanakosin, present artistic era, dates from the founding of Bangkok in the mid- 18th century and has established its own style of religious and other art, influenced increasingly by cultures outside of South East Asia.