Year published :January 2020

Pages :166 pp., full color, paperback

Size :17 x 24 cm.

Color illustrations :37 color paintings, 1 B&W photograph, endnotes, bibliography

Rights :World

ISBN: 9786162151552

Cycle of Life in the Paintings of Thai Artist PICHAI NIRAND, The

by Philip Constable

The paintings of contemporary Thai artist Pichai Nirand (b. 1936) are a vivid exploration of the interplay between Thailand’s Buddhist roots and its modern aspirations and struggles. From his early application of the ideas of one of his mentors, Silpa Bhirasri (the Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci), to his thought-provoking and beautiful considerations of the role of Buddhism in modern Thai society, Pichai’s story is one of an artist engaging fully with the world and belief system around him. 

This book presents a colorful journey through almost half a century of Pichai’s artistic output and contributes to the growing appreciation of contemporary artists in modern Thai society. Accompanying the thirty-seven full-color paintings is incisive examination of the Thai moral and social themes of Pichai’s paintings in terms of the Buddhist cycle of life—a concept that appears throughout his work. Philip Constable’s sensitive analysis of the social, political, economic, and moral dimensions affecting the artist and his oeuvre, coupled with careful reference to other contemporary Thai artists and their creations, illuminate the deep meaning and expression behind each painting. The artwork and insights in this book showcase the creativity and development of a celebrated Thai artist who has spent a lifetime providing a Thai Buddhist perspective on the dilemmas and contradictions of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. 


  1. Pichai Nirand and Modern Thai Painting 
  2. Thai Art as “Traditional Spirit” and “Afflux of Intellectual and Artistic Ideas” 
  3. A Geology of Knowledge: The Cycle of Life 
  4. The Buddhapada: Lord Buddha’s Footprint 
  5. The Lotus Paintings: A Geometry of Buddhist Knowledge 
  6. Lord Buddha’s Miracles: Towards a Thai Buddhist Order 
  7. The Buddhapada: Artistic Template for a Changing Society 
  8. The Traiphum: Artistic Cosmology of Social Mindfulness 
  9. The Cycle of Life in the Paintings of Pichai Nirand 

About the Author 

Philip Constable is a senior lecturer on the history of modern Asia and the Asia-Pacific at the University of Central Lancashire. 

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