Mural Paintings on Ceramic Panels, Innovation for Thai Art
The creation of traditional Thai mural paintings in the past depended on the materials and methods that artists learnt from their environment and the context of each period. In the olden days, artists liked to use a mixture of pastel and glue to paint pictures on plaster or wooden walls. These raw materials could be found in the locale but they easily deteriorated through time and natural elements, for example, weather conditions, humidity and light and the damage caused by human beings. If the conservation of valuable but damage-prone paintings were not carried out properly, their stories and beauty might be completely destroyed in only one generation.
Currently, there is a study of the method of maintaining the beautiful condition of mural paintings for a longer time through a combination of the decorative materials from the olden days and modern innovation. From this combination, a technique in printing pictures into ceramic panels was experimented on and studied in Japan until it yielded successful results. This new technology was chosen to produce paintings instead of making copies of ancient paintings. The new technique has some advantages because the results are easy to take care of, both strong and durable, as well as preventing humidity from affecting the walls. Humidity is a major factor that causes damages to the paintings.
Printing the pictures into ceramic panels makes it possible to create a texture to the surface of the pictures, making the designs look real and allowing the pictures to be produced in 30,000 shades of colour, including special colours, for example, gold. This makes it possible to portray the pictures in all realistic dimensions, resulting in beautiful paintings in a traditional style and at the same time making the picture surface look slightly raised or slightly sunken in order to add dimensions to them.
The paintings on ceramic panels that are installed in a religious place are therefore a new art form that combines the old way of painting and new technology. This reduces the limitations and factors that will cause damage to the paintings. The budget for taking care of the paintings in the long run thus decreases. This technique is therefore a way of promoting religious activities and contributing to the sustainable value of the artwork and ensuring it remains a part of the national heritage.
Source: Operational Report of the Conservation and Safeguarding Religious site, which is associated with the monarchy and the Promotion of Religious Dissemination, the Crown Property Bureau
October – December 2016