Thai trade ceramics



The growing information from shipwreck archaeology is beginning to supply surprisingly precise dates for Thai trade ceramics that range over the 14th – 16th centuries, with Singburi wares documented into the 18th century. These findings, presently based on some two dozen shipwrecks, offer a major new source of evidence for the history of Ayutthaya. In this talk, Dr. Brown will show how Suphanburi shipping jars were replaced by Singburi jars in the early 15th century, she will propose an explanation for the Thai attack on Angkor in 1431, explain how the Zhenghe voyages affected the style of Thai ceramics, offer explanations for the abrupt change from classic Thai celadon to post-classic celadon and for the re-introduction of underglaze black painted decoration, and discuss the evidence against the old theory about lack of Thai ceramics exports in the 16th century. The impact of the fall of Melaka to the Portuguese in 1511 can also be re-assessed from the evidence of Thai ceramic exports.

Dr. Roxanna M. Brown received her PhD from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in January 2004. Her dissertation was entitled The Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia. She is Director of the Southeast Asian Ceramics Museum, which was recently established at the Rangsit campus of Bangkok University. This museum opened in May 2005. She is a longtime resident of Thailand whose past publications include The Ceramics of South-East Asia, Their Dating and Identification (1977). More recently she co-authored the catalogue of a major retrospective of shipwrecks off Malaysia at the National Museum, Kuala Lumpur in late 2001: Roxanna M. Brown and Sten Sjostrand, Maritime Archaeology and Shipwreck Ceramics in Malaysia (2002). Eight of the eleven shipwrecks in that catalogue carried Thai ceramics. DATE: 24 January 2008 (Thursday)
TIME: 7.30 p.m.
PLACE: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Rd, Sukhumvit 21
For more information, please telephone Khun Preechaya or Khun Arunsri at (02) 661 6470-7, fax (02) 258 3491, or e-mail info@siam-society.org
Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Non-Members Donation: 200 baht Siam Society Members, Members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student I.D. cards, are admitted free of charge.

King Chulalongkorn and Grand European Tours by Pornsan Watanangura and Charnvit Kasetsiri

In present-day Thailand, King Chulalongkorn, is known as ‘the King who opened the World of Travel’. During his long reign, from 1868 to 1910, he visited the British colonial possessions of Singapore, Malaya, Burma, and India. He went to Dutch-ruled Java three times and the island became his favorite. In the latter part of his reign the king made two ‘Grand Tours’ to ‘civilized’ Europe: in 1897, visiting 14 countries, including Russia; and in 1907 to 8 countries, excluding Russia. The King came to be regarded as bringing Siam into the modern world and pursuing policies of playing off the British against the French, receiving help from Russia and Germany, and ensuring Siam’s independence and sovereignty. Dr. Charnvit Kasetsiri will examine these trips and present a new interpretation of the King’s reign.

Though King Chulalongkorn's first visit to Europe in 1897 during a period of colonial expansion by the European powers could only partly resolve and reduce political tensions between Siam and France in the short term, it was in the long term crucial for the preservation of sovereignty of the Kingdom. The visit had a positive permanent effect in that the European courts respected the monarch from the land "beyond India" as equal to theirs. The public appearances of King Chulalongkorn in Europe, especially His Majesty's opinions about Europe and European culture, help understand better his policy of obtaining a "balance of power" and the modernization of the country.

This presentation illustrates both visits to Europe of King Chulalongkorn, starting from the social-cultural and political situation in Europe and Asia, and shows how the second visit in 1907 gained from the first in 1897.

Dr. Charnvit Kasetsiri, born 1941, is a prominent historian and Thai Studies scholar. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in Diplomacy with honours from Thammasat in1963, he pursued his MA in Diplomacy and World Affairs in Los Angeles under a Rockefeller scholarship and his 1972 PhD in Southeast Asian History at Cornell University. He served as lecturer in history at Thammasat from 1973-2001 and founded, in 2000, the Southeast Asian Studies Program. He has written approximately 200 articles and has published several books on Thai and Southeast Asian History. He has launched a ‘Siam not Thailand’ campaign to rename the country to reflect the reality about its ethnicities, languages and cultural identities.

After obtaining her BA and MA in German from the Faculty of Arts, Chulalongkorn University, Prof. Dr. Pornsan Watananguhn became lecturer in the German Section in the university, and then took an MA and DPhil at Heidelberg, specializing in German literature and applied linguistics. Since 1998 she has been working with the Centre for European Studies at Chulalongkorn University, and involved in many cultural publications and translation projects.
DATE: 16 January 2008 (Wednesday)
TIME: 7.30 p.m.
PLACE: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Rd, Sukhumvit 21
For more information, please telephone Khun Preechaya or Khun Arunsri at (02) 661 6470-7, fax (02) 258 3491, or e-mail info@siam-society.org
Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday, 9.00 a.m. – 5.00 p.m.
Non-Members Donation: 200 baht Siam Society Members, Members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student I.D. cards, are admitted free of charge.

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