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Prang of Phimai

A prang ( Thai ปรางค์ , usually พระ ปรางค์ - Phra Prang) is a temple tower. The Thai word refers on the one hand to towers of the Angkor period , on the other hand to towers that are stylistically linked to this legacy. A prang is part of a wat , a Buddhist temple complex in Thailand .


Between the early 10th and late 12th centuries, the Khmer established the first prang on what is now Thai territory; B. in Phimai and Khao-Phnom-Rung , but also in Lop Buri (see below, Fig. 1). The culture of the Khmer, the current state people of Cambodia , was decisively shaped by their large trading partner India . This influence is visible: A prang , in the Khmer language Prasat , is remarkably similar to the Shikhara , also known as Rekha , of Indian temple towers.

Originally the Khmer temples were dedicated to Hindu gods, especially Shiva , but also Brahma . The rooms in which the sanctuaries were located, called the cellae , were relatively small. For two reasons: First, the rituals that were held in them were reserved for a small elite - in the Khmer capital it was perhaps only the God-King who had access. Second, Khmer building technology did not allow the creation of large, airy halls. The access to the cella was through a small, mostly east-facing porch, the mandapa . The central tower, an image of the cosmic mountain Meru , rose above the cubic cella , initially in a steep pyramid shape, and since Angkor Wat in a rounded bud shape.

After the collapse of the Khmer Empire, the Thai builders of Sukhothai adapted the prang form. They lengthened and slimmed it down; the building material was no longer sandstone, but brick; the cella could only be reached by stairs. Examples can be found in Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat in Phitsanulok and in the wat of the same name in Si Satchanalai (Fig. 2). Later developments of the prang only hinted at the cella. The entrance door became a niche in which the Buddha statue was placed, which originally took the central position inside - for reasons of symmetry, the niche was repeated on all four sides. A three-dimensional metal tip (Thai: metall , fak peka ; also นภศูล - “heavenly spear”), which is sometimes referred to as a vajra or “weapon of Indras ”, was placed on the top of the tower .

A “modern” prang is a slim construction, similar to a corn cob, which only suggests its Khmer origins. The best example is Wat Arun , the landmark of Bangkok . In Wat Phra Kaeo , the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in Bangkok, eight thin prang stand in a row. Picture 3 ( Wat Pho , also Bangkok) shows one of four towers that mark the cardinal points around the bot , picture 4 three of the five towers of Wat Phichaiyat in Thonburi .


  • Rita Ringis: Thai Temples And Temple Murals . Oxford University Press, Singapore 1990, ISBN 0-19-588933-9 .
  • KI Matics: Introduction To The Thai Temple . White Lotus, Bangkok 1992, ISBN 974-8495-42-6 .
  • Nithi Sthapitanonda and Brian Mertens: Architecture Of Thailand. A guide to traditional and contemporary forms . Asia Books, Bangkok 2005, ISBN 981-4068-57-8 .

Individual evidence

  1. Ringis: Thai Temples And Temple Murals , p. 44
  2. ^ Clarence Aasen: Architecture of Siam . Oxford University Press 1998, ISBN 983-56-0027-9 , p. 131

Web links

Commons : Prangs  - collection of images, videos and audio files