| Phra Mondob
Phra Mondob (the Scripture Hall) , built in the reign of King Rama III with a crowned, gabled roof tetrahedron elaborated with multicoloured Chinese ceramic bowls, this hall keeps a small library of the Tripitaka or teachings of Buddha, which was built in the reign of King Rama I. There are Porticos at the 3 directions of the Mondob. The mural paintings about the beginning of Ramayana, “Songkran” tradition and a “Mon” tradition are shown on the inner walls of the porticos, and the outer side was decorated with Thai Verse Proverbs called “Kloang Lokaniti” . The rock giants which were famous as Wat Pho Giants in the fight with Wat Jaeng Giants (Wat Arun), stand on both sides of the sheltered gates.
Museum of Buddha Images
Wat Pho and the Fine Arts Department have cooperated together to establish a museum of Buddha images of different art styles. The images are classified into 3 major categories including Buddhist Art, theBuddha's Marks and the Buddha's Attitudes, with brief explanations for the exhibits. The museum is open daily.
The creation of Buddha images has been intended to be reminiscence of the Lord Buddha for all Buddhists. According to Thai belief, an image of the Buddha is created as an offering to the Lord Buddha, for one's own auspiciousness, as well as to dedicate to one's dead parents or relations. The Buddha's attitudes are communicated through the gestures of the hands and fingers known as “ mudra ”. Major attitudes of the Buddha images include Buddha Subduing Mara, Buddha in Meditaion, Buddha Giving the First Sermon, Buddha Preaching, Buddha Bestowing Forgiveness, Buddha Bestowing Favours, Buddha Reclining, etc. Another major monument to the Lord Buddha is the Buddha's footprints which have been enshrined at this temple by King Rama III.
Buddhist art in Thailand can be classified according to the history and different schools of art such as Dvaravati art, Sri Vijaya art, Lopburi art, Lanna art, Sukhothai art, Ayudhya art, Rattanakosin art, etc.
Museum of Buddhist Scriptures
Besides the Museum of Buddha Images, some parts of the Sala Rai around the Mondob have been allocated to exhibit another collection of Wat Pho's treasures; namely, the palmleaf Tripitaka scriptures and Samut Thai, Thai folded books.
According to Buddhist belief, those who establish the Tripitaka scriptures as an offering to the temple will gain supreme merit because they are taking part in sustainging the doctrine of the Lord Buddha which is composed mainly of 3 divisions know as ‘Pitaka'; namely, the Disciplines, the Sermons, and the Metaphysics. In former times, the establishment of the Tripitaka was time-consuming, as it had to be inscribed on palm leaves with an iron stylus. So was the writing of the sermons on Samut Thai, the Thai folded book, which was made from ‘Khoi' or Siamese Rough Bush paper into 2 different kinds: Samut Thai Khao and Samut Thai Dam.
| King Rama III had a volume of the Tripiaka called “Thep Chumnum”, the congregation of angels, established and dedicated to Wat Pho. The cover of each scripture was intricately decorated with a gilded design on black lacquer of the congregation of angels. The scriptures written in Khmer alphabets and the Pali laguage have been stored in a spired cabinet within the Mondob. All the exhibited Tripitaka scriptures as well as Thai folded books had been established through different periods of time as offerings to the Lord Buddha. Each of them was inscribed in elaborate manuscript some were even colourfully illustrated with paintings about the Life of the Lord Buddha. The exhibition is classified into groups with interesting captions.
Museum of Ceramics and Crystal
The exhibits in this museum include Bencharong or pentachrome ceramics, Chinese blue-and-white porcelain and crystal wares that had been dedicated to the temple as objects of offering for monastic use. There are food and sweet services, Chinese teapots, vases and crystal wares dating hundreds of years and displayed in sets as they had really be used in religious ceremonies.
Bencharong Ceramics were favourite wares used in the royal court of the Ayudhya Kingdom. They were made to order in China but were decorated in patterns and colours such as Thepphanom – the angel in adoration pattern, narasimha – the half-man, half-lion pattern, Kranok Pleo-the flame-like pattern designed by Thai craftsmen. During the Rattanakosin period, the popular patterns included Rajasimha – the lion, Garuda, Narasimha, Kinnari – the half-woman, half-bird, Hanuman-the monkey hero, Kranok Pleo, and Kan Khot-the scroll pattern. In 1855 when Thailand started an open-door policy under the Bowring Treaty, western civilization spread into the country and the Bencharong ceramics lost their popularity.
Chinese Blue-and-White Porcelain had been imported into Thailand from China since the Sukhothai period. The Chinese ceramics had experienced great development in style and design as well as colour painting in each and every era, especially during the Yuan Dynasty (1280-1368 A.D.) and the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644 A.D.) The blue-and-white as well as the pentachrome glazed ceramics gained high popularity in Thailand. The favourite patterns on these Chinese blue-and-white ceramics were auspicious symbols according to Chinese belief such as the Hok-Lok-Siu Deities. These ceramic wares were usually arranged as a table set as an offering and especially in contests in the reign of King Rama V.
Crystal Wares were imported from Europe and had gained high popularity in the royal court of Adudhya since the reign of King Narai the Great. They were both tributes and imported items from abroad. During the early Rattanakosin period, they became popular among noblemen who used them as decorative items as well as in daily use. The crystal wares in former times were imported mainly from Germany, Austria, Czech Republic, and Japan.
These ceramics and crystal wares were dedicated to the temple by Buddhist people as offerings in the form of objects