An early 18th century Siamese illustrated scroll: a treasure recently discovered in Germany. A Talk by Barend Terwiel



In 1716, King August the Strong, King of Poland and Elector of Saxony, purchased a container with what was described as a couple of Chinese paintings. In reality the content were two illustrations of the funeral procession of King Phetracha of Siam in 1704, one drawn by a highly skilled Thai artist, the other by a Dutchman who had little knowledge of Thai ritual.

On a scroll over 370 cm long, the Thai artist drew the procession of King Phetracha’s corpse from the palace to the cremation ground in December 1704. This is one of the earliest works of Siamese illustration with a secure date. It has not been seen for almost three centuries. And the drawing is exquisite.

Professor Terwiel will explain the ritual of the royal cremation, and draw attention to the contemporary artistic conventions.

Professor Barend Terwiel retired in 2007 from the Chair of Thai and Lao Languages and Literatures, Hamburg University. He has written extensively on Thai history and society, including Monks and Magic (1975; reissued 2012) and Thailand's Political History, From the 13th Century to Recent Times (2011).

Date: 28 January 2016 (Thursday)
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2015-2016 Lecture Series.