Buddhist Temples of Thailand: A Visual Journey Through Thailand’s 40 Most Historic Wats – the first illustrated title to cover the key temples in all of the kingdom’s regions – explores the Buddhist temple’s historical position in Thai culture and the dynamic role it continues to play in everyday life. Thailand’s best-known sites and rare gems, such as Wat Phra Kaew in Bangkok and Wat Phumin in Nan, are brought to life through expert text and more than 200 commissioned photographs.
Author Joe Cummings – a Southeast Asian art history expert and travel writing legend – selected 40 temples from the more than 31,000 across the country for their unique architecture, stunning murals, revered Buddha images and historical significance.
His expert text traces the origins and spread of Buddhism throughout Thailand and the temple building programmes that marked the ebb and flow of the kingdom’s eras and empires. Salient points and historic facts on each structure are included and the book includes original research on certain features such as the intricate carvings at Wat Phanom Rung.
Photography from Dan White – a seasoned Bangkok-based magazine and features photojournalist – brings to life the staggering diversity of this iconic architectural and religious form. Focus is given to the unique features, styles and influences from each region and era, such as Shan, Lanna, Sukhothai and Rattanakosin, paying homage to the craftsmen who have worked on these temples over the past 800 years.
The dynamic role the wat plays as a spiritual centre and a social institution is also explored through a vibrant photo-essay that follows monks on their alms rounds, sheds light on Buddhist rituals and evokes the fun of a temple fair.