Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vimanmek Mansion, Dusit Garden complex

Vimanmek Mansion, set in the Dusit Garden complex, surrounded by other royal residences, is way up the river, past the Royal Palace, under the decorative modern suspension Bridge to Pier 15.

It was built on the orders of Rama V who actually lived in it full time for 5 years. Vimanmek Mansion is the biggest golden teak house in the world it has sumptuous furnishings and carpets, and was gorgeous. In 1982 Queen Sirikit asked the King, Rama IX if she could renovate the Mansion to commemorate King Rama V.

I enjoyed a couple of pavilions, which were built as Palaces for Princesses, full of the present Kings photos, Rama IX. His passion was photography in the pre-digital days and he was very accomplished. I particularly enjoyed a self portrait of him blowing a trumpet taken with a fish eye lens. He also took lovely portraits of his wife, my faves were the avant garde 60s style, Evening at Poi Pui - a silhouette of the Queen amongst tall grasses and another titled Dazzling Star which was her ear with a flower behind and a dazzling sun echoing the shape of the flower behind, filtered through the trees. He must love her a lot, there were loads of tender portraits. He took a great series of humorous dogs, playing the piano etc., the one with a pipe reminded me of Winston Churchill. These contrasted with his record of catastrophe in Thailand, awful floods in particular, helicopters and so on.
We then went on to look at very fine artisans work in the Throne Hall, a whole range of Thai textiles, woodcarvings, ceramics, basketwork, leather carving, stunning silver and wire work. All very impressive.

Tuk Tuk, a three wheeled motorbike taxi, back to the ferry.

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