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Siam Society: Discover Hidden Murals and Ordination Halls

The Siam Society is organizing a two-day journey to Khon Kaen and Roi Et to explore local ordination halls (sim) and hidden mural art found in the villages, scheduled for June 24th and June 25th.

Numerous traditional-style sims exist, displaying remaining folk art characteristics in these two provinces.

They are all modest and straightforward, and the interior mural art has been largely overlooked by art historians. These murals embellish the exterior, and occasionally the interior, of ordination halls.

These unassuming structures often have their walls entirely covered in murals, which even extend to the corners of pilasters and around the window recesses.

The murals were painted in the first quarter of the 20th century by local Thai individuals or those of Lao descent.

The sims, built of brick and mortar, showcase similar architectural traits, inclusive of a single entrance, accessible via a brief stairway guarded by statues of mythical creatures.

The murals’ exterior placement allowed them to be viewed by a wide audience of laypeople, particularly women, who were prohibited from entering the tiny sim, a space exclusively reserved for monks and men being ordained.

Presently, most of the tiny and old sims in both Khon Kaen and Roi Et are no longer utilized for ordinations as they’ve been replaced by modern, larger Central-style buildings.

While the murals in both provinces exhibit variation, they are each unique pieces of art embodying the local Buddhist imagination and the lifestyle of the Isan heartland inhabitants approximately 100-200 years ago.

The cost of the trip is 19,500 baht (18,500 baht for members), with reservations needing to be confirmed by June 6.

For further inquiries, please email or dial 02-661-6470–3 ext 205.