Friday, June 29, 2012

Trip Report, Part 14B: Sanctuary Of Truth - Interiors

Enormous, thick wooden pillars stretch up to support the intricately-carved sections of roof

[This is part 14B of a series that may or may not ever find its way to a proper conclusion. It has to do with my latest trip to Thailand, and the people, places and things I encountered along the way. You can find the rest of the series by clicking here on Trip Reports.] 

In some ways, the interior of the Sanctuary of Truth is more impressive than the outsides.

First of all, there's a depth of detail to the carved panels, doorways and ornamentation both large and small that is greater than what is left out to the mercy of the elements, as you'd expect.

Second, there's a wider range in types of wood appropriate for the protected interior, as you can see in the lead photo today.

Outdoors the salt water, wind, rain and other elements take their collective toll on piece after piece and section after section of the building, made all the more obvious by new pieces replacing those split or otherwise damaged, as in the photo below, where you can see a new figure sitting near another with the face cracked down the center.

Most of the interior is open to walk around and about in, but there are still some areas filled with scaffolding, filled with workers laboring away, facing the challenge of building the place in the old style; meaning with wooden doweling instead of nuts, bolts and nails, using a variety of basic woodworking joints, such as butterfly, tongue-in-groove and dovetail.

Although it's no great shakes itself here's an image that lists the types of joints used in the construction:

Delicate wooden illustrations
The high ceilings and open sides to the sanctuary keep it cooler, but the workers coming down off of the higher scaffolding were obviously perspiring and warm. It was an interesting mix of craftsmen and artisans among them, keeping a happy balance. 

I guess what impressed me most about the carvings was the attention to perspective and detail, in addition to the overall "depth" of the carvings, from the surface face to the deepest points. 

It was (not surprisingly) reminiscent of the stone carvings I've seen throughout Cambodia - a country we haven't even scratched the surface here as of yet. Those who responded to my question on preferred topics leaned towards staying more Thai-based, but you can't speak of Thailand without mentioning the Khmer influences, so they're coming.

Light from outdoors illuminates the doorway carvings

In the picture below you can see chalk line drawings of intended designs on one of the many support columns. The top two pictures today show the pillars as they are today; looking more like telephone poles than the decorative items they'll be painstakingly transformed into (by thousands of hours of labor) at some point.

Monday I'll take a stab at showing some of the woodworkers carving away, but this is probably enough for today.  Personally, I think having to scroll down through a dozen photos nicked from the web is kind of tedious, myself, and even though these are my pictures it can still be a bit much for some folks, I'm told.  Enjoy your weekend, unless you've made other plans.


Anonymous said...

I'm enjoying this series immensely...thanks for taking the time out of your busy life to post these beautiful images and your commentary.

khunbaobao said...

You're welcome. I find the images interesting, myself, but everyone's eye perceives things differently.

Thank you for the compliment - I'm glad folks are enjoying the series!

Was Once said...

A beautiful lesson in impermanence done with joy.

khunbaobao said...

That hits the wooden peg right on the head... Thank you!