Rare ancient book unveiled at Rayong temple to public gaze

Photo courtesy of Sanook

An over 300 year old ancient book, one of only two known copies in the world, has been unveiled at a famous temple in Rayong. The treasure, which was collected by a local governor before it could be sold, is priceless.

Today at 9am, Wat Khod Thim Tharam in Mueang Rayong opened up its treasure trove for public viewing. The temple’s rare antiquities are not usually accessible to the public. Phra Chaiyayos Akkhanuchano, the assistant abbot, revealed that there are only two copies of this ancient book from the late Ayutthaya period in the world. One is in Switzerland, and the other is right here in Wat Khod Thim Tharam.

The book at Wat Khod Thim Tharam contains stories of literary works such as Jantakrop, Ramakian, Phra Malai, and Thai law from the Ayutthaya period, as well as various other scriptures. Usually, this book is not open to the public for fear of damage. It was more worn than it is now, but the Department of Fine Arts came to help restore it. The temple has preserved it well as it is an invaluable ancient treasure.

Phra Chaiyayos also showed pictures of the book with the Ramakian story on a black background with white line drawings, beautifully and intricately crafted many centuries ago. Then he opened the book containing Thai law from that period, which was neatly and beautifully handwritten. Some parts have faded over time, but it can still be said to be in excellent condition.

In addition to the ancient book, Wat Khod Thim Tharam also boasts a magnificent chapel with wall paintings that are unique in Rayong. The chapel’s front wall depicts the story of Hanuman summoning the flag, though the image has significantly faded over time.

Chaleaw Rajaburi, Deputy Chairman of the Cultural Council of Rayong, revealed that Wat Khod Thim Tharam has many antique documents, some of which are the only ones in Thailand and some are about 300 years old, from the Ayutthaya period to the early Rattanakosin era. The ancient documents at this temple can be divided into various types, including folk tales, Phra Malai, laws, and various scriptures, reported Sanook.

Rare artifact

Some may wonder why this temple has many such documents. It was because the governor, Phraya Sisamut Phokho Chokchitsongkram Tim, the governor of Rayong during the reign of the fourth king, collected them before they could be stolen and sold.

However, it can be said that these are rare antiquities that are not easy to come by. Some people who have seen the book have marvelled at its beauty and the elegance of the author.

For those who want to study or institutions that want to study ancient books, they can contact the Cultural Council of Rayong.

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Puntid Tantivangphaisal

Originally from Hong Kong, Puntid moved to Bangkok in 2020 to pursue further studies in translation. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Comparative Literature from the University of Hong Kong. Puntid spent 8 years living in Manchester, UK. Before joining The Thaiger, Puntid has been a freelance translator for 2 years. In her free time, she enjoys swimming and listening to music, as well as writing short fiction and poetry.

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