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The Ramayana is called Ramakian in Thai and Reamker in Khmer. The story
origins from India and is based on a Sanskrit epic of ancient origin. In many
Asian countries the story is part of the basic primary school curriculum and is
known by every child. Images from Ramayana are seen in temples and elsewhere,
and various episodes are favourite subjects for traditional epic dances, puppet
theatre and shadow theatre.
The present note is an extract of three publications, all of which are warmly
- Thai Ramayana (abridged), as written by King Rama I, 4th revised edition,
April 2000, published by Chalermnit, Bangkok, www.chalermnit.com, in English.
A5 format with illustrations in black and white. Divided into 48 small
chapters, this book is based on the text by King Rama I from 1807
- The story of Ramakian, from the mural paintings along the galleries of the
temple of the Emerald Buddha, published by Sangdad Publishing Co. Ltd.,
Bangkok, 2002, in Thai and English. A4 format in full colour. Contains 95
large photos from the Wat Phra Kaeo wall paintings with detailed explanations
of what is seen in each picture
- The Reamker, painted by Chet Chan. Reyum Publishing, Phnom Penh, 2001, in
Khmer and English. A4 format in full colour. Contains a narrative extract
based on a Khmer text from 1903, and large and clear traditional paintings of
65 of the characters, with explanations of their dress and attributes. There
are separate illustrated sections on how to recognise the characters, and the
process of painting
These publications highly add value to each other, but they use different
names for the many characters in the tale.
The present note uses the names from the Thai Ramayana publication.
The photos are from the rural paintings at Wat Phra Kaeo (the Temple of the
Emerald Buddha) in Bangkok. Equally famous are the Ramayana stone carvings at
Angkor Wat in Cambodia.