By The Nation
“Khao Chi Chan Buddha is one of the Thai religious masterpieces which was royally commanded by HM King Rama IX,” the esteemed former Fine Arts director, Suvit Rasameeputi, said at the seminar that formed part of the celebration of the 236th anniversary of Rattanakosin.
The spectacular Buddha on the surface of Khao Chi Chan Mountain was made to commemorate His Majesty King Bhumibol’s Golden Jubilee in 1996. The image was designed using computer software and then drawn on to the side of Khao Chi Chan using a laser.
“King Bhumibol then ordered the use of high technology – a laser – to draw the outline of this masterpiece. King Rama IX then ordered then-Crown Prince Maha Vajiralongkong to supervise this project,” revealed Dr Suvit.
The image of the Buddha, sitting cross-legged, with one hand resting on his knee and the other in his lap, is engraved into the northern face of Khao Chi Chan. The 109-metre-tall and 70-metre-wide image was carved into the rock and then marked out in gold on the recommendation of the-then Supreme Patriarch.
He added King Rama IX also played a key role in expanding Saranrom Palace.
Collected at Bangkok’s National Museum, the Royal Barge named Narai Song Suban was built during the reign of King Rama IX in 1994, the only barge built during King Bhumibol’s 70-year reign. The Royal Barge Procession only occurred 16 times in that entire period.
Named as the Supreme Artist, King Bhumibol himself was a jazz musician and painter. He promoted dramatic and musical arts for more than 70 years, said drama expert Chavalit Sunthanon.
“Prince of Mother encouraged her children to love Thai arts. She dressed them in dramatic Thai costumes – Khon and Lakhon,” Chavalit said.
He added that King Rama IX not only promoted high dramatic art in the court like Khon, he also promoted local art forms, such as Nora, a dance from the south of Thailand.