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Thai Painting

Book illustrations and temple and palace interiors were where classical Thai painting was confined. Through the belief that walls should enhance the beauty of the religious and royal objects they surrounded, was how mural painting was developed.

In traditional Thai painting, convention perspective was ignored, shadows were unknown and space was neutral rather than atmospheric.  Depending on their importance, figures in the paintings were either large or small.

Five primary pigments were used by the traditional Thai painter.  These colors, scarlet lake, yellow ochre, ultramarine blue, pipe-clay white and pot-black, were used to produce many other colors.  During the Bangkok period, pigments were imported from China, thus making colors richer.  Chemical pigments and Western perspective were brought into use during the middle of the 19th century.

Depictions of Buddhist heaven and hells, Jataka stories, episodes from Buddha's life and scenes from contemporary Thai life were found in early surviving murals.  These murals were painted with earth colors made from natural pigments.

To create their own expression of art, Thai artists attempt to integrate the influences of Western style and technique with their training in the traditional style.

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