The Dynamic Creation of Thai Classical Music Sacred Objects in Contemporary Thai Society

Iyared Boonyarit




This research studies the dynamic creation of “Thai classical music sacred objects” in the context of contemporary Thai society. Traditionally, Thai musicians perceived certain masks of “teachers” as sacred objects, e.g., masks of Shiva, Vishnu, Brahma Wissunukam, Panja Singkhon, Prakhonthap, or the masks of Rishi Nart and Yaksa Phra Phirap. These are sacred figures in Brahmanism, Hinduism and Buddhism. 1970 was the first time that the Prapiren Temple in Bangkok made sacred coins with the figure of Rishi Nart, which was the beginning of the dynamic creation of a sacred image in the form of a “sacred object.” The Rishi Nart coin was created with a similar concept of votive tablets or amulets.


It is noteworthy that nowadays the society outside of Thai musical culture has created new sacred objects by applying traditional music sacred figures to have new meaning in order to serve the needs of contemporary Thai people, for example, by naming a sacred object “taphon riak sap” meaning “taphon attracting wealth” or “prakhontap rak khad jai” meaning “prakhontap attracting absolute love”. Given the dynamic creation of Thai classical music sacred objects, the researcher is then interested in collecting and studying the forms and content, as well as classifying the newly created Thai classical music sacred objects in present society, and analyzing the phenomena. The appearance, production and purposes of the Thai classical music sacred objects will be analyzed in relation to the context of contemporary Thai society.


(Published in Rian Thai: International Journal of Thai Studies, Volume 10/2017 (Number 2), Page 27-50)


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