Manuscripts in Central Thailand: Samut Khoi from Phetchaburi Province
Abstract

ABSTRACT:

The article discusses illuminated manuscripts of Central Thailand, dealing with the different formats and different scripts (Khom, Thai, and Mon) used for different purposes, and their eventual evolution to print technology. We focus on manuscripts from Wat Pak Khlong, Phetchaburi, and illustrate examples from its small but precious organic collection. The themes of the illustrations are both narrative and non-narrative. The narratives, such as the story of the thaumaturge monk Phra Malai, are didactic. The non-narrative paintings might be described as simply decorative, but they draw on a rich animal lore that is detailed in scholastic literature. The texts recorded in the manuscripts, such as the story of Phra Malai, the Mahabuddhaguna, and the Unhissavijaya, have complex relationships to Thai Buddhist liturgy. A genre on the delineation of monastic boundaries illustrates a core concern of Theravāda monasticism throughout Southeast Asia.