Manuscript Storage Cabinet

Period: Ratanakosin period

Date: late 18th–early 19th century

Culture: Thailand (Bangkok)

Medium: Wood with gold and lacquer

Dimensions: H. approx. 62 1/2 in. (158.8 cm); W. 34 1/16 in. (86.5 cm); D. 31 1/8 in. (79.1 cm)

Classification: Furniture

Credit Line: Bequest of Caroline S. Hanway, 1971

Accession Number: 1971.139


Cabinets of this type were traditionally gifted to monasteries where they served to house and preserve the sacred scriptures written on palm-leaf manuscripts, and associated Buddhist texts often on khoi paper, such as those narrating the adventures of the venerable monk Pra Malai. These cabinets were richly decorated with gold on lacquer ground in a technique known as Lai Rod Nam. Depictions of celestial adorants was a favored subject, as was combatant scenes from the Ramakien, the Thai version of the Indian epic, the Ramayana, as seen here. The openwork stand with two drawers is carved in the Chinese manner and is likely of a later date.