*This event has been postponed in compliance with the measures around the situation of the Coronavirus (COVID-19)
The Siam Society Special Event in Collaboration with the Thai Textile Society
An Exhibition of “Pha Phra Ves” Painted Vessantara Jataka Scrolls
from ML Pawinee (Sukhasvasti) Santisiri’s Private Collection
The Siam Society and the Thai Textile Society proudly present a unique event that is not to be missed. Please come to view a very rare exhibition of Pha Phra Ves, painted Vessantara Jataka scrolls or banners from Boon Phra Ves festival, a part of ML Pawinee (Sukhasvasti) Santisiri’s private collection of textiles. These long banners will be exhibited in full for one afternoon only, at The Siam Society Auditorium on Saturday 21 March 2020 from 1.30pm to 4pm.
ML Pawinee (Sukhasvasti) Santisiri is an award-winning designer, former president of the Design & Objects Association, founder of Sahacha, and co-founder of Yothaka and Ayodhya. Her companies provide interior design services as well as furniture and home accessories design, manufacture and export businesses using natural fibres and environmentally friendly materials such as water hyacinth.
ML Pawinee has started collecting textiles since 1986. She began acquiring textiles for her front-office retail space when she moved her design office from the Sukhumvit area to then River City Antique Centre. The first place where she found them was the Lao Refugee Camp Outlet on Sukhumvit Road, opposite Villa Supermarket.
Ever since, she fell in love with antique textiles and kept purchasing more from Laos, Cambodia, and other countries. She has collected more than a thousand pieces of old textiles for over three decades. Among these pieces, there are many tube skirts from Isaan and the “Pha Phra Ves” scrolls or long painted banners with the Vessantara Jataka story, of which she has more than 20 pieces. These scrolls’ lengths range from 30 to 50 metres. Besides the 13 well-known episodes of Vessantara Jataka, some also include parts of the Buddha’s life and Phra Malai story. Most of these banners are almost or over 80 years old.
The Vessantara Jataka is celebrated in temples during the Buddhist festival known as Thet Mahachat, from Maha Jati or “Great Birth”, in Central Thailand, Boun Pha Vet in Laos and as Boon Phawet (Boon Phra Ves), Boon Duean Sii (Merit-making of the fourth month or March) or Thet Phawet in Isaan. It is also an important celebration in Cambodia, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka. In his final incarnation before being born as Prince Siddhartha and reaching enlightenment, the Lord Buddha was born as Prince Vessantara or Phra Ves. Embodying the virtue of generosity, he gave away everything he owned, including his wife and children.
Boon Phra Ves is one of the most important Buddhist ceremonies in northeastern Thailand or Isaan. On the first day, the family’s reunification is re-enacted and a long scroll with the painted story is paraded around. The next day people listen to the monks’ sermons retelling the entire story. The belief behind this merit-making tradition is that the participants will be reborn into the realm of the future Buddha, Maitreya or Phra Sri Ariya Metrai in the land of eternal happiness as per the Buddhist belief.
This is an exceptional opportunity to view these scrolls and banners fully unfurled and displayed in their full glory right in the centre of Bangkok.
This special event’s programme is as follows:
- 1 pm Registration opens. Refreshments served. (No beverages and food will be allowed in the auditorium during this exhibition.)
- 1.30 pm The exhibition opens. ML Pawinee’s talk about her collection of Pha Phra Ves
- 2 pm – 4 pm The exhibition on view with photo and video presentations