Skip to main content



Ayutthaya was a kingdom in what is now Thailand. It was ruled by thirty-six kings between 1350 and 1767. The art of Ayutthaya is typically divided into four phases associated with its major political eras: 1350 to 1488, 1488 to 1628, 1629 to 1733, and 1733 to 1767. The city was destroyed by the Burmese in 1767.

The two most important monasteries of the early periods were Mahathat (erected in 1384 by King Boromaraja I) and Ratchaburana (erected in 1424 by Boromaraja II). Like monasteries in the earlier kingdom of Sukhothai, the alignment of the wihan (assembly hall), prang (tower shaped in Khmer fashion), and ubosot or bot (congregation and ordination hall) followed a single east-west axis. Smaller prangs and wihans were enclosed around the central tower within a rectangular gallery, where a row of buddha images was placed. The main prangs were generally marked halfway up by niches facing each cardinal direction, in each of which was placed a buddha image; each prang was crowned by a metal finial in the shape of a vajra (pronged ritual instrument). Relics, buddha images, and votive tablets were deposited in the prangs' relic chambers. For instance, exquisite gold royal regalia and vessels were found in the deposit of Wat Ratchaburana. Wat Chai Wattabaram, built by King Prasat Thong in 1630, is an example of the later phase of prang structure.

The Sri Lankan bell-shaped chedi popular in Sukhothai was used extensively in Ayutthaya. Notable Ayutthayan features are a higher base, rows of small columns around the railing on the top, and an elongated finial. A good example of this type is Wat Phra Sisanphet, erected in 1491 by King Ramathibodi II.

The only surviving complete late Ayutthayan monastery is Wat Naphramen, built in the middle of the sixteenth century. Its ubosot is rectangular, with thick walls, slit windows, and tall octagonal pillars crowned by lotus capitals. The ceiling is decorated with gold star clusters. The main image placed at the end of the hall is the only remaining large-scale seated and bejeweled bronze Buddha. The base of the ubosot, curved into a boat shape in early Ayutthaya, became straighter in the later phases.

See also:Monastic Architecture; Southeast Asia, Buddhist Art in; Thailand


Boisselier, Jean, and Beurdeley, Jean-Michel. The Heritage of Thai Sculpture. Bangkok, Thailand: Asia Books, 1987.

Woodward, Hiram W., Jr. The Sacred Sculpture of Thailand: The Alexander B. Griswold Collection, The Walters Art Gallery. Bangkok, Thailand: River Books, 1997.

Pattaratorn Chirapravati

Cite this article
Pick a style below, and copy the text for your bibliography.

  • MLA
  • Chicago
  • APA

"Ayutthaya." Encyclopedia of Buddhism. . 25 May. 2019 <>.

"Ayutthaya." Encyclopedia of Buddhism. . (May 25, 2019).

"Ayutthaya." Encyclopedia of Buddhism. . Retrieved May 25, 2019 from

Learn more about citation styles

Citation styles gives you the ability to cite reference entries and articles according to common styles from the Modern Language Association (MLA), The Chicago Manual of Style, and the American Psychological Association (APA).

Within the “Cite this article” tool, pick a style to see how all available information looks when formatted according to that style. Then, copy and paste the text into your bibliography or works cited list.

Because each style has its own formatting nuances that evolve over time and not all information is available for every reference entry or article, cannot guarantee each citation it generates. Therefore, it’s best to use citations as a starting point before checking the style against your school or publication’s requirements and the most-recent information available at these sites:

Modern Language Association

The Chicago Manual of Style

American Psychological Association

  • Most online reference entries and articles do not have page numbers. Therefore, that information is unavailable for most content. However, the date of retrieval is often important. Refer to each style’s convention regarding the best way to format page numbers and retrieval dates.
  • In addition to the MLA, Chicago, and APA styles, your school, university, publication, or institution may have its own requirements for citations. Therefore, be sure to refer to those guidelines when editing your bibliography or works cited list.