Chiang Saen National Museum
Chiang Saen National Museum is the oldest national museum in northern Thailand. Established in 1957, it houses and displays antiquities found from archaeological sites in Chiang Saen and the surrounding areas. These antiquities provide evidence of human habitation in the area from prehistoric times to the present day. The museum’s collection is diverse and chronologically connected, ranging from stone tools from the prehistoric period, around 15,000 - 3,000 years ago, such as flaked stone tools and ground stone tools found at the "Sob Kham archaeological site".
In 1970 - 1971, Veerapant Malaipan, a lecturer from Faculty of Archaeology, conducted a survey and exhibited objects found from Wat Pa Sak, an ancient temple said to have been built in the 19th century Buddhist Era (14th century CE). The temple was first restored and excavated by the Fine Arts Department in the same year that the museum was established. Over the years, archaeologists have discovered many other artifacts, including stucco reliefs of Garudas clutching Nagas, Kala faces, and others. These reliefs are beautiful and reflect the blending of Thai, Chinese, Hariphunchai, and Pagan influences that created the unique Lanna style.
In addition to these artifacts, Chiang Saen National Museum also exhibits Lanna-style Buddha images from the 16th to 23rd centuries Buddhist Era (11th – 18th centuries CE), some of which are inscribed with Lanna script to indicate their purposes. The museum also has a collection of Chinese-decorated pottery. Chiang Saen National Museum’s diverse collection of artifacts is a testament to the fact that Chiang Saen has been a home to people of diverse ethnicities for centuries. The city has been a center of cultural exchange and has seen the development of local knowledge and wisdom from the past to the present.
Artists: Kader Attia, Chitti Kasemkitvatana, Roongroj Paimyossak
Photo credit: Chanin Phasuriwong