Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Wat Phra Kaew

The Wat Phra Kaew is the most important temple in Thailand, housing the Emerald Buddha. This 45 cm jade statue clothed in gold is said to have been created in 43 BC, but some historians date it much later. In any case it seems to have appeared in better-documented history in the 15th century. When King Phra Bat Somdet Phra Poramintharamaha Chakri Borommanat Phra Buddha Yodfa Chulaloke (say that three times fast - is it any wonder he's also called Rama 1?) moved the capital of Siam (Thailand) to Bangkok in 1785, the temple was built to house the Buddha statue. In addition to the interesting roofline and colorful detailing, perhaps the most striking details to the casual observer (me, anyway), are the two five meter tall statues of Yaksha, or guardian demons. Anyway, Legoland Billund has a great model of the Wat Phra Kaew.

Photo credit to Barman. BTW, I should note that I'm always open to corrections on my historical notes, particularly on non-Western traditions. I'm pretty reliant on Google and Wikipedia for finding out some of these facts for those traditions more foreign to me.

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