The pulpit as a representation of cosmology to contemporary space design

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Arnuphap Chantharamporn


The study of the art history of pulpit design in Thailand originally focused only upon the beauty of Thai traditional art. Despite that, the objectives of this research are different. This study was aimed at analyzing the meaning, symbols, and beliefs in relation to the creations of Thai traditional pulpit designs from the ancient times. The assumptions of this study are that the traditional designs of pulpits were influenced by the belief in Tribhum or cosmology, both in terms of meanings of designs and functionality of pulpits. The data of this research were collected from selected pulpits, then the data were compared and analyzed to untangle hidden meanings in the design and to identify beliefs behind the art of pulpit creation. The findings showed that cosmological beliefs are the main guidelines to design the pulpits. Those designs are suggestive of the rank orders of the preachers who use them. Also, when the cosmological beliefs are intermingled with local or cultural beliefs of a specific group, it results in a variety of art and designs. Nevertheless, the creation of traditional pulpit designs which represents the cosmological belief may constitute out-of-date in this disruptive digital era where people expect to hear scientific explanations about the universe and the world. Therefore, social values of equality in society become the reasons why the use and creation of pulpits are no longer popular nowadays. However, the knowledge about the wisdom of the pulpit designs can be further developed to suit beliefs or ideologies of people in the modern society.


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