HistoryKhmer Ruins

Khmer Artifacts in the Wat Mahachai Northeastern Local Culture Museum

In 1964 Dr. Phra Ariyanuwat Khemacharee, the former abbot of Wat Mahachai, saw foreigners coming to Isan to buy ancient artifacts – Buddhas, Khmer stone carvings palm-leaf manuscripts, etc. – so he requested people bring these things to the temple to protect them. Later the two-story Northeastern Local Culture Museum (พิพิธภัณฑ์วัฒนธรรมท้องถิ่นภาคตะวันออกเฉียงเหนือ วัดมหาชัย) was built to house the diverse collection that had resulted, including a lot of Khmer-era sandstone statues and pottery.

The building is kept locked, so you'll need to get Phra Khru Arun, the only keeper of the keys, to open it for you. He's usually around the temple in the morning and late afternoon, but you can call ahead (061-1359147) to check. He is very knowledgeable about the museum and Isan history and enjoys showing people around. Thanks to him for spending so much time with us when we visited.

As of August 2019, these are all the Khmer artifacts from a known temple ruin (according to Phra Khru Arun's memory) on display.

large collection of various Khmer and other statues
Khmer collection on the ground floor
collection of Khmer statues
Khmer collection on the second floor

monk showing Khmer pottery

 

Ku Ban Daeng (กู่บ้านแดง) – Amphoe Wapi Pathum, Maha Sarakham

damaged Khmer Buddha statues
Buddhas – probably late 12th or early 13th century
broken male Khmer figure
Male figure – probably late 12th or early 13th century

 

Ku Ban Khwao (กู่บ้านเขวา) –Amphoe Mueang, Maha Sarakham

two Khmer Bhaisajyaguru "Medicine Buddha" statues
Bhaisajyaguru ("Medicine Buddhas") – late 12th or early 13th century

 

Ku Khanthanam (กู่คันธนาม) – Amphoe Phon Sai, Roi Et

Khmer naga antefix
Naga antefix – early 13th century

 

Ku Santarat (กู่สันตรัตน์) – Amphoe Na Dun, Maha Sarakham

five broken Khmer statues
Five gods and goddesses, the right-most is probably Vishnu
small yoni and shiva linga
Yoni and Shiva linga
damaged Khmer Buddha statues
Buddhas – probably late 12th or early 13th century
Khmer goddess statue
Goddess (the brown statue) – probably late 12th or early 13th century
Khmer Buddha on naga statue
Buddha sheltered by naga – probably late 12th or early 13th century
broken Khmer on naga statue
Buddha sheltered by naga – probably late 12th or early 13th century
Khmer Buddha on naga statue
Buddha sheltered by naga – probably late 12th or early 13th century

Prang Ku Suan Taeng (ปรางค์กู่สวนแตง) – Amphoe Ban Mai Chaiyaphot, Buriram

Khmer broken Indra on Airavata carving
Indra riding Airavata (antefix?) – 12th century
Khmer guardian antefix
Guardian antefix – 12th century

 

Prasat Phanom Rung (ปราสาทพนมรุ้ง) – Amphoe Chaloem Phra Kiat, Buriram

Khmer Buddha head
Buddha head

 

Details – no set hours, free, 061-1359147
Location – Wat Mahachai, Maha Sarakham city, Tambon Talat, Amphoe Mueang, Maha Sarakham Province

 

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