We just created a new photo gallery of 76 images taken of the Sinxay murals at Wat Chaisi. We intend for this website to become an online companion to our book, providing information and images we couldn’t put in our book (which is almost endless…). You can access this gallery under the menu heading of Image Galleries/Isan Wats.
We don’t know how many people have worked on Wordpress websites, but there are almost endless plugins that can provide a wide variety of functionality to one’s website. For photo galleries we finally chose Gallery Bank because we like their Masonry format and the lightbox format enabling viewers to see an image in larger detail. Most photo galleries prefer all images cropped to the same size and don’t do well with a mix of vertical and horizontal image formats. As we explain in the description for the gallery page, we chose to only fill in title information because the title and description fields are overlaid on the image which means the bottom part of the image is partially covered up with text. We numbered each image so that if someone wants to comment, or has questions about a particular image, it makes it easy to refer to that image.
What we entered in the title field varies. Sometimes just referring to architectural detail, sometimes to characters seen in the mural detail. But, we could always write much more, provided more time and a place for the description that doesn’t interfere with examining the image. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen anytime soon, but we will provide additional detail for particular images here in our blog.
Here is an example. There’s so much going on in this mural detail of the image below, but what the intent was of the artist is very unclear. It looks like there are three palace type structures, two on the abutment, one on top of the other, and one to the lower left. Considering to the left one can see Sinxay “dancing” with the khut who have just pledged their allegiance to Sinxay after he shot an arrow into their kingdom, most likely the palace at the bottom of image is Sinxay’s palace in the forest. The figures inside the palace probably include his mother, Loun, and Chanta, plus maybe his brothers? Very hard to tell considering the degradation of the image. In the palace above this palace the figure looks like it could be Soumountha. Is she in Nyak Koumphan’s palace? Hard to say. The palace in the lower left shows Sinxay with his six brothers. With all the vertical bars we’re thinking that this may not be a palace at all, but a jail-like structure that Sinxay has had the six brothers placed in towards the end of the story after he becomes king. And then to the right there are three images of people most likely making offerings of some sort. There’s a good chance the middle one shows Sinxay with Kiengkham, the kinnari he marries. The other two remain open to interpretation and we would love to hear what anyone else thinks.