Highlights of Burmese Decorative Arts. A Talk by Thweep Rittinaphakorn



Burma, or at the present days known as Myanmar, rich in its history and culture, has long been shadowed by decades of political upheavals and instability. After it reopened itself to the global community in 2010, the interest of the public on different areas of this countries has also been renewed. Throughout its long and dynamic history, it allows for the its decorative arts and style to age blending influences from different sources creating a vibrant, yet distinctive characters readily to intrigue anyone who come across.

Majority of Burmese decorative arts as seen in the last 200 years are the fusion of different influences poured in during its last dynastic time (Konbaung dynasty) and throughout the colonial period where it was positioned as one of the gems on the crown of the British empire.  In the old days, most of its decorative arts were produced for ecclesiastical and court use and later on was driven by the demand of the growing commercial markets under the British rule.

The talk will provide the audiences with highlights of Burmese decorative arts with details on selected branches where the evidences are still commonly found. It will also discuss on how decorative arts and their patrons have shifted during the social and political changes throughout the 20th century.

Mr. Thweep Rittinaphakorn (AKE) is an independent scholar whose work focuses on decorative arts, textiles and woven material in relation to history of mainland Southeast Asia, particularly Burma and Thailand. He is a textiles curator of the Siam Society textiles collection. His recent research work on the development of Shan elites costumes and photography during the late 19th – mid-20th centuries was presented in America at the annual conference of the Association of Asian Studies in 2014 & 2016 and the upcoming one in March 2018. He has also been invited to speak for different groups and events on Burmese arts and culture.

His fond interest on colonial Burmese culture and textiles embarks him on an on-going study of Burmese tapestry woven textiles “Luntaya Acheik”. His research article on this subject was published in “Textiles Asia Journal” September 2015 issue. Also, his article on “Colonial Burmese Textiles” has just been published in Arts of Asia magazine, Mar-Apr 2017 issue.

Date: Thursday, 14 December 2017
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 2016-2017 Lecture Series.