Tuesday, January 08, 2008

My Shrine Collection; Eat your heart out Chris!

One of the first things I noticed in Bangkok were the elaborate shrines that seemed to stand on almost every lot. And actually, they are on almost every lot. Thai Buddhists believe that sanctuaries for the spirits of their ancestors keep bad spirits from harming their homes and businesses. Many shrines are refreshed with food, flowers, incense and drink (apparently spirits love Orange Fanta) every morning. They are situated on tall pedestals and are usually at least four feet high. They reminded me of doll houses or the tiny creche my Grandma puts out every Christmas. Many of them were filled with little figures, furniture, marigolds and jasmine...everything you'd need to keep comfortable in the afterlife. (Jasmine really is a must!) Here are some of my favorite shots.

This one was filled with rows of Fanta every morning (with thoughtfully provided bendy straws. Spirits do not swig from bottles...)

This one was near our hotel in Bangkok and it was bedecked with miles of marigolds, jasmine and rosebuds strung on garlands. In the morning the fragrance was really lovely, though after one day in the blistering Thai heat they had headed south.

I love how they peeled the orange so artfully in this one. Doesn't it look luscious with that blue blue sky, and the ocean behind it all? If I were an ancestral spirit, I'd definitely hang out here.

This was the only one I saw made of rosewood. It wasn't holding up to the elements very well, but I liked the old fashioned feel of it. The others were all made of some kind of heavy plaster which wasn't nearly as delicate looking. The figures in this one were also really sweet.

This was the only one I saw that sported an elephant. It isn't like the others, perhaps it isn't even Buddhist, but it falls into my shrine category. I liked how clean and orderly it looked. Once an eldest child always an eldest child I suppose.

*Editor's note: I am lately having a terrible time loading and viewing my photos on blogger, so if you are having trouble viewing the images please be sure to send me an e-mail or comment so I can put my tech team on it (and by "tech team" I mean "Eric".)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

thank you for posting these shots, bwecks! i am indeed eating my heart art. with french fried potatoes.

while the heat doesn't sound so great, all of the other thailand shots i've seen from you - shrines or otherwise - look absolutely amazing. i'll make sure to add an extra "yawn" to my morning walk down racine later today... :)

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