Thursday, November 14, 2019

Power of the throne

May 04. 2019
HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the Bhadrapitha Throne during the Crowning and the Investiture Ceremony on Saturday.
HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the Bhadrapitha Throne during the Crowning and the Investiture Ceremony on Saturday.
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By The Nation

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A look at the three thrones that are used for the royal coronation

THE Bhadrapitha Throne on which His Majesty King Maha Vajiralongkorn is seated on Saturday as he receives the Royal Regalia, Royal Decorations and the Royal Utensils as well as giving the First Royal Command can be traces back to the Ayutthaya Era (1350-1767).

While there is no evidence suggesting that the Bhadrapitha Throne and the Atha Disa Udumbara Raja Asana Throne were completed during that period, what is known is that King Rama IV selected the gold-inlay niello chair made of wood from the cluster fig tree found in the South of Thailand and which was presented by Chao Phraya Nakhon Si Thammaraj (Noi-klang) to become the “coronation chair”. 

HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits on the Bhadrapitha Throne during the Crowning and the Investiture Ceremony on Saturday.

The Bhadrapitha Throne has a semicircular shape with armrests and a backrest with a few supports connected to the seat.

 The throne was decorated with the seven-tiered umbrella for the ceremony in the reigns of Kings Rama I to Rama VII, but the umbrella was adjusted to become nine-tiered for the coronation of His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX). 

The seat of the throne is a gold-plated copper sheet, inscribed with the figure of a lion in the centre and surrounded by the Thai pattern known as kranok. 

The edges and the legs of the throne are decorated with gold-inlay niello designs. The carved wooden base is gilded and decorated with glass mosaics. 

The two flanking tables are of carved wood, gilded with gold and decorated with glass mosaic with legs carved into the figures of nagas. 

It is upon these tables that the Royal Regalia and the Royal Utensils are placed. The throne is enshrined in the western portion of the Baisal Daksin Throne Hall inside the Grand Palace. 

King Chulalongkorn (Rama V) occupies the Bhadrapitha Throne on November 16, 1873.

During a recent talk on “The Royal Coronation in the Rattanakosin Era” organised by the Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre, historian Dr Dinar Boontham explained that the coronation chair was influenced by the English coronation chair also known as King Edward’s Chair (1232-1307) and which was created in 1300. It is a high-backed, Gothic-style armchair carved from oak. Gilded lions were added in the 16th century to form the legs of the chair and it is here that the British monarchs sit when they are invested with regalia and crowned. 

The lion represents power and courage, while the fig tree is considered sacred and of religious significance in both Buddhism and Hinduism. 

King Prajadhipok (Rama VII) sits atop the Atha Disa Udumbara Raja Asana Throne in the Baisal Daksin Throne Hall on February 25, 1925.

The Atha Disa Udumbara Raja Asana Throne, a pedestal or bench-like throne, is also made of fig or udumbara wood, which is the source of its name. 

HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn receives the anointing water from Privy Council President and statesman Prem Tinsulanonda at the Atha Disa Udumbara Raja Asana Throne on Saturday.

It is carved in an octagonal form to represent the eight directions of the compass. The wood-carved throne, decorated with gold gilt and ornamented with glass mosaic, is placed under the seven-tiered umbrella and enshrined at the eastern part of the Baisal Daksin Throne Hall. It is used as the seat of the King when he receives the anointing water. 

King Vajiravudh (Rama VI) wears the royal vestments and crown-headdress as he sits on the Budtan Kanchana Singhasana Throne during his coronation on December 2, 1911.

The third throne used in the coronation ceremony is the Budtan Kanchana Singhasana Throne. This is a medium-sized golden bench, made of carved wood, gilded with gold and ornamented with carved figures of garuda and thepphanom, the heavenly deities that surround the two-layered base above the pedestal. 

In the grand Royal Coronation Ceremony, this structure will be placed upon the Royal Throne. 

King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) delivers the Royal Address of Appreciation to well-wishers from the Budtan Kanchana Singhasana Throne on May 5, 1950.

When it is mounted under the Royal Nine-tiered Umbrella, Nophapadon Maha Saweta Chatra, it becomes the Budtan Kanchana Singhasana Throne. 

The King will be seated on this throne on occasions of important ceremony, such as the Royal Coronation and the celebration of the King’s birthday, to receive an address of benediction. 

HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn sits atop the Budtan Kanchana Singhasana Throne and grants an audience at the Amarinda Vinijaya Throne Hall on Saturday.

The golden bench is also used as the Royal Palanquin when the King travels in a Royal Procession circumnavigating the capital. 

On these occasions, it will be called the Bhudtan Thong Royal Palanquin. 


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