Sunday, March 23, 2014

Final Research: The Sanphet Mahaprasat Palace, Ayutthaya, Thailand

Drawing of the Sanphet Mahaprasat in the past based on the hypothesis of Dr.Santi Leksukhum,  the replica of the palace at Muang Boran (Ancient City) and information and documents from the Ayutthaya Research Center and the Fine Arts Department in Ayutthaya.

Ruins of The Sanphet Mahaprasat Palace, 2013
 The Sanphet Maprasat Palace is situated within the boundary of the Ayutthaya Royal Palace. The Royal Palace was divided into three distinct areas, the front or the outer, the middle and the rear or the inner. The Sanphet Maprasat is one of the three halls that is located in the middle area.

The The Sanphet Maprasat was built in the reign of King Borommatrailokanat. It was one of the most important structures of the whole Ayutthaya kingdom. It was used for royal purposes such as receiveing ambassadors from foreign countries.

Ruins of The Sanphet Mahaprasat Palace, 2013
It was also used for other purposes. Coronations of significant kings Autthaya, including Phra Phetracha, Phra Chao Sua, Phra Chao Ekathat, Phra Chao Uthumphon, took place here. It also hold the tonsure ceremony during the reign of Phra Phetracha.

The Sanphet Mahaprasat Palace signifies the centralization of power, the power that the monarch holds supreme authority in governing the nation. The architecture of the building symbolizes religious beliefs. The five-tiered roof symbolizes Mount Meru which is the place where the gods reside, and the belief in the idea of the Hindu and Buddhist cosmology. The kings had divine power and were considered an avatar of god, the incarnation of the Vishnu, or more commonly known in Thai as Narayana, the supreme god that preserves, sustains and governs the universe.

Significant events that happened during the time mainly revolved around the aspects of conflicts, trading and foreign settlements. These issues deal with territory, land use, land ownership and transformation of land which have great impacts on the development of the nation. During Ayutthaya period, the Portuguese came and built their quarter, churches and trading stations on a plot of land that was allocated by the king as opposed to the Dutch whose interests laid solely in trading. Their soldiers served the kings of Ayutthaya in exchange for trade privileges. The French’s advancement in technology was applied to the design and construction of fortifications and city walls while the English did not fare very well and had bad relations with the country. The power of Ayutthaya was also challenged by both the internal and external conflicts. Good political relationship with the Portuguese and the Dutch resulted in them volunteering to help serve Ayutthaya in various uprisings. These issues have great impacts on the development of the nation.

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