The aim of this volume is to present a connected history of different forms of Buddhist art which flourished in South-East Asia, especially Thailand, from the early years of Christian era up to the end of the sixteenth century. The book thus furnishes for the first time, a connected and comprehensive account of the art of Thailand (or Siam, as previously known) and also intimately connected arts of India, Burma, Cambodia, Indonesia and other neighbouring countries. In spite of the obscure history of Thailand and the dependence of its art on the other countries for inspiration, Dr. Le May has succeeded in putting together a reasoned and convincing account of over a period of 1500 years. As the origin of all the forms of Buddhist art found in South-East Asia are to be sought in India, it is essential to obtain a thorough knowledge of Indian Buddhist art as groundwork, which always had the remarkable capacity to adapt itself to the needs of every country, race and religion. Also, as the art of each and every one of these countries in South-East Asia is complimentary to the rest and a knowledge of each, such as this book provides, is indispensable to our understanding of the whole. The book also contains over 200 photographs selected to illustrate the different phases through which various art forms in Thailand have passed and also examples from India, Sri Lanka, Burma, Cambodia and Indonesia for comparison. It, thus not only interprets thoughts, theories, meanings and views on the origin, history, diffusion, structure and inter-relation, but also provides a guiding thread among the various styles and periods while giving an adequate and correct idea of the various schools and works of Buddhist art.
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