Phimai National Museum exhibits one of the finest collections of Angkor-period lintels and statuary in Thailand.
Overlooking a large lotus pond that was probably a reservoir when Phimai was a Khmer settlement beginning in the 11th century, the museum starts with a display highlighting the Angkor-period ruins found in Thailand. Visitors then step into a bright hall with high ceilings and exhibitions displayed on the second floor, from where you can look down at the largest section on the ground floor.
Highlights include an ancient conduit for sacred water shaped like a dragonhead; an Angkor-style rhinoceros statue; stunning 10th-century images of Brahma and Ganesha; and crowns made from precious gold and shell that were likely part of costumes used in performances many centuries ago. Virtually every piece was discovered in Phimai district or the surrounding region. Several information boards explain the history in comprehensible English.
After leaving the main hall, be sure to turn left to a second building with open sides. Here you’ll find dozens of marvellous lintels and statues depicting several Buddhist and Hindu icons, such as the guardian Dvarapala and Yama, lord of death. Each piece is marked in English, providing a crash course in Angkor-period art and iconography.
By David Luekens
Last updated on 25th August, 2016.