“Art on Water”

Royal Barge Procession…The Beautiful Thai Value
We all know that “royal-barge processions” are a part of an extremely important royal tradition that has existed in Thailand since ancient times. After it was revived in a grand style in the reign of King Rama IX, this tradition will shine again on 24 October 2019 as King Rama X is determined to follow in his father’s footstep. But before that big day comes, the Royal Thai Navy, the Fine Arts Department and ICONSIAM has prepared the
Exhibition on Royal Barge Processions to Mark the 2019 Royal Coronation: Arts on Water Surface for Thais to enjoy.
The display tells the beautiful story of royal-barge processions in an easy-to-understand style, with visitors encouraged to admire exhibits up close.
A highlight of this exhibition is the display of 52 royal-barge replicas, which are placed in the order of the barge position in the upcoming elaborate parade. The display comes complete with the history and details of each royal barge. Every of these elegant barges has its own significance. Below are just some of the exhibits…
Ananta Nagaraja Royal Barge 
The Ananta Nagaraja Royal Barge is an ancient barge for kings, with the magnificent enameled and glass-decorated Seven-Headed Naga as its bow. In the middle of the barge is a pavilion where a Buddha statue or Kathina robes are usually placed. The Ananta Nagaraja Royal Barge was first built in the reign of King Rama III and rebuilt in the reign of King Rama VI. It is 44.85 meters long and requires 54 oarsmen.
In Sanskrit, Ananta means infinity or eternity, Naga means either Naga or Snake, and Raja means a royal or a king. So, Ananta Nagaraja means the King of Nagas or Snakes.
Suphannahong Royal Barge 
An engraved swan adorns the bow of the Suphannahong Royal Barge, with a grand tuft hanging down. At the tip of the tuft is a crystal. In the middle of the barge is the Kanya Throne, which is reserved for kings or high-level royals only. Records show the Suphannahong Royal Barge was built in the Ayutthaya Period. Its name was rooted in the name of a royal barge of King Maha Chakkraphat of Ayutthaya, which was known as Si Suphannahong or Chai Suphannahong.
The Suphannahong Royal Barge is 46.15 meters long and requires 50 oarsmen. Considered the most important and most elegant vessel in the royal-barge procession, the Suphannahong Royal Barge is named a World Ship Trust Maritime Heritage. The World Ship Trust of United Kingdom has given this recognition to this Thai royal barge on 4 June 1996, with the trust’s committee members presenting the medal of 1992 for the Suphannahong Royal Barge to King Rama XI during a royal audience.
Narai Songsuban Royal Barge of King Rama IX 
The Narai Songsuban Royal Barge of King Rama IX was built on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of King Rama IX’s accession to the throne in 1996. The Royal Thai Navy, in collaboration with the Fine Arts Department, created this royal barge especially for the monarch. However, because a royal barge built in the reign of King Rama III is already named the Narai Songsuban, the one built for King Rama IX contains “of King Rama IX” in its name.
Narai Songsuban means Phra Narai or Vishnu mounting on Garuda. Suban here means Garuda or the Chief of Garuda or Birds. The vehicle of Vishnu is Garuda. Decorating the bow of this royal barge is the Engraved Vishnu on Garuda. His skin is dark. In his four hands are a discus, a conch, a scepter, and a trident. The Garuda carrying Vishnu holds two nagas up high. According to India’s Purana literature, Garuda and Naga are eternal enemies. But both serve Vishnu. As Garuda represents the power of the sky and Naga represents the power of water, the fact that Vishnu is above both Naga and Garuda means he has the power to protect the world. The bow and the body of the royal barge is engraved, lacquered, adorned with gold leaves, and decorated with glass pieces.
Anekchat Puchong Royal Barge 
The bow of the Anekchat Puchong Royal Barge features a lacquered, gold-gilded pattern of so many small nagas. It is painted pink on the outside, but its inside bottom is red. This royal barge is 45.67 meters long and requires 61 oarsmen. In the middle of this vessel is the Kanya Throne, whereby the king removes his apparel or headdress for Royal Kathina occasions, before he moves to another boat. The Anekchat Puchong Royal Barge was built in the reign of King Rama V.
In Sanskrit, Anekchata Phuchonga means various species of snakes. Puchonga means naga, which symbolizes power, knowledge, and abundance. According to Hindu beliefs or Purana literature, there has been connections between gods and nagas or snakes. For example, Vishnu sleeps on Ananta Naga.
Asura Vuyapak Barge & Asura Paksee Barge
The Asura Vuyapak Barge and the Asura Paksee Barge have a much similar bow, which portrays the face of a giant or asura and the body of a bird. These barges are lacquered, gold-gilded, and decorated with glass pieces. Asura Vayupak in Sanskrit means “Wind-Eating Giant”. He wears a white top, and both his hands and feet are indigo. Asura Paksee in Sanskit means, “Birdlike Giant”. His top is purple in its front and green in its back. Both his hands and feet are green.
These two barges were first built in the reign of King Rama I, and rebuilt in King Rama IV.
Krabi Prab Mueang Marn Barge
The Krabi Prab Mueang Marn Barge features a white monkey at its bow. This monkey does not don any headdress. But he wears many ornaments and Panung (Thai-style long loincloth). This barge is lacquered, gold-gilded, and decorated with glass pieces. The name of this barge is influenced by Ramayana and the monkey on its bow is Hanuman. Being the most prominent soldier of Lord Rama, Hanuman led the army of monkeys in the battle against the army of Ravana (Tossakan), the King of Lanka. Built in the reign of King Rama I, this barge sustained damages during the World War II. It was rebuilt in 1965 under the supervision of the Royal Thai Navy and the Fine Arts Department.
Bali Rang Taweep Barge
The Bali Rang Taweep Barge presents a monkey at its bow. This green monkey wears a crown, ornaments, and Panung (Thai-style long loincloth). This vessel is lacquered, gold-gilded, and decorated with glass pieces. In Ramakien, Bali is the king of monkeys and Kishkindha. Legend has it that Bali is a brave king. He travels across continents from East to West and from North to South every day to pay respect to the sun. This barge was built in the reign of King Rama I.
It is 27.54 meters long and its bow is equipped with a cannon. It requires 34 oarsmen.
Suea Tayan Chon Barge
The Suea Tayan Chon Barge features a tiger painting around its bow, which is also designed to accommodate a cannon. This 22.23-meter-long barge is in the second group of the water parade, serving as an escort or a destroyer. Its name appears in the Lilit of Royal Kathina Land-Based and Barge Processions. Built in 1844, it was restored in 1991.
On top of the aforementioned exhibits, the exhibition also presents many other interesting royal-barge replicas such as Thong Khwan Fah Barge or Thong Babin Barge, Dung Barge, Saeng Barge (the type that heads and conclude the second group of royal-barge processions), Klong Nok Barge, Klong Nai Barge, Tamruaj Nork Barge, and Tamruaj Nai Barge. Interested people are welcome to admire 52 royal-barge replicas on M floor, ICONLUXE zone, till 31 October 2019.

Arts on Water Surface…Up Close with Beauty That Used to Be Seen from Afar

One of the grandest Don’t-Miss exhibitions this year is undeniably the Exhibition on Royal Barge Processions to Mark the 2019 Royal Coronation: Arts on Water Surface. The Royal Thai Navy, the Fine Arts Department and ICONSIAM have jointly staged this exhibition in honor of HM King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua. Held at ICONSIAM, the exhibition will run from 25 September to 31 October 2019.
Every Thai must have heard about the Royal Barge Procession from a very young age. Such grand processions, after all, rank among Thailand’s most important royal events. Many of you, however, may not fully know its background, significance and value. The Exhibition on Royal Barge Processions to Mark the 2019 Royal Coronation: Arts on Water Surface therefore is worth a visit as it promises to provide comprehensive information on such awe-inspiring water parades. Presented in a modern and very accessible formats, the exhibition has four main zones as follows:
From Warships to Royal Barges
On the 1st floor of ICONSIAM, an exhibition zone will tell the complete history of royal barge processions from the past till now showing how warships have transformed nicely into elaborately-decorated royal barges for Thai kings today. These impressive vessels have now been the symbols of the monarch’s prestige and used for his Royal Kathina trips, which have been a Thai tradition since the Sukhothai period. This tradition in fact had faded over time before. But thanks to HM King Bhumibol Adulyadej the Great (King Rama IX) who was dedicated to Thai-culture conservation, it was revived in a grand style. King Rama IX made the move in ensuring the first royal barge procession in 50 years was held during his reign.
The Suphannahong Royal Barge was moving back for mooring at a pier in front of Wat Arun Ratchawararam, after King Rama VII got off. 
Some exhibits are old and rare photos that have usually been kept at the National Archives of Thailand. The exhibition, moreover, will present all Royal Barge Processions that have ever been held in Thailand together with the history of each royal barge. To be on display are also medals of marine heritages, something that Thais can be proud of.
Arts on Water Surface
The rehearsals for the upcoming royal barge procession will be presented in a video format. Accompanying the video presentation are oarsman outfits, which are neatly designed, and silver, golden and peacock-tail oars that will actually be used in the soon-to-be-held Royal Barge Procession.
Royal Grandeur Shines along River  
The third exhibition zone will present video clips about the current monarch’s (King Rama X) ride in the Royal Barge Procession held in honor of his father on the occasion of the latter’s 60th anniversary on the throne in 2006. In marking the Royal Coronation Ceremony that took place on 4 and 5 May 2019, the current king has followed his late father’s initiative in conserving the royal tradition. For the first time ever in the reign of the current monarch (King Rama X), a grand royal barge procession will be held on 24 October 2019.
In a bid to ensure that Thai and foreign visitors will not miss this rare event, the exhibition will show the live broadcast of the procession on that day too. Visitors will be able to watch the historic royal barge procession up close via TV screens and be its proud witnesses.
Royal-Barge Replicas on Display
The last exhibition zone will sit on M floor in ICONLUXE zone. Exhibits here will be the replicas of 52 royal barges that will join the upcoming royal barge procession, together with the history of each barge. Though being just replicas, these exhibits are truly exquisite and elaborate. Visitors to the exhibition therefore will be able to picture the grandeur of the royal barges even before it takes place on 24 October 2019.
Let’s come to this special exhibition to experience the beauty of one of Thailand’s most important royal ceremonies up close. Held on the M floor in ICONLUXE zone as well as the 1st floor of ICONSIAM, the Exhibition on Royal Barge Procession to Mark the 2019 Royal Coronation: Arts on Water Surface will run from 25 September to 31 October 2019.

The Royal Barge Procession Exhibition on the occasion of the Royal Coronation of King Rama X “Art on Water”


Stay up to date
Register now to get updates on promotions and coupons.
%d bloggers like this:

Shopping cart

×