Jim Thompson Life & Legend Thai House & Museum Visitor Information Bangkok's Leading Host Special Events
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The Jim Thompson Foundation and River Books are jointly launching an exhibition ‘Siam in Trade and War — Royal Maps of the Nineteenth Century’. The maps show strategic wartime routes with the Burmese and trade routes with the Chinese.

The Jim Thompson Foundation and River Books publishing house have been graciously granted royal permission from HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn to display for the first time the five ancient maps among the seventeen discovered at the Grand Palace in 1996. The exhibition aims to provide greater insight into the socio-cultural conditions of the past and appreciation of ancient wisdoms of the Siamese people.

These large cotton maps were hand-drawn and hand-colored, and are dated at about the reign of King Rama I to King Rama III (1782-1851) of the early Bangkok period. They depict the routes of war with the Burmese and trade with China, including extensive details of towns and villages, forts, religious places, ethnic minorities, plants and animals, population, distance and traveling time, and even historical events in some particular areas. Following their discovery, the maps were cleaned, restored and finally housed at the personal library of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn.

M.R. Narisa Chakrabongse, chairperson of River Books Company who is deeply interested in Thai history, arts and culture, will curate this exhibition with Dr. Henry Ginsburg and Dr. Santanee Phasuk. Dr. Santanee was sponsored by Her Royal Highness to study the maps in-depth for her doctorate degree in Britain, with assistance from Dr. Ginsburg and Prof. Philip Stott.

Dr. Santanee said, “The discovery of these maps is very important because old maps in such relatively good condition have rarely been found in Southeast Asia. Elaborate details of the maps also indicate the skills of the cartographers and that there had long been a cartographic tradition in what was then Siam and the region. These maps therefore represent primary sources of information for the study of Siamese and Southeast Asian history and geography for years to come.”With the design concept created by Korsvasti Svasti, the exhibition will also display antiques and artifacts related to warfare and marine trade at the time, loaned for this occasion by several collectors.

‘Siam in Trade and War — Royal Maps of the Nineteenth Century’ will be staged at the Jim Thompson Centre for the Arts, Soi Kasemsan 2 (BTS Station National Stadium), from January 28 until March 31, 2006, 9 am. to 5 pm. Admission is free.

For more information please contact:
James H W Thompson Foundation
Supicha Theerasenee
Tel: 66 (0) 2216-7368
Chutima Pengsuth
Tel: 66 (0) 2762-2564