Thai Temple Features Sci-Fi Icons In Buddhist Paintings

Thai Temple Features Sci-Fi Icons In Buddhist Paintings

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These images of characters like Superman and Ultraman are literally religious experiences.

The Wat Rong Khun Buddhist temple in Chiang Rai, Thailand, is quite possibly one of the strangest and prettiest holy sites you'll ever see. The complex was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a nationally-honored Thai artist; construction began in 1997 and it's expected that another 100 years of construction will be needed before the temple is completed. However, while the exterior design is stunning, it's the interior artwork - which features various pop-culture icons like Superman, Ultraman, Keanu Reeves (in his Matrix garb), and a Transformer - that really stands out to visitors.

According to Brent Lambert of FEELGuide:

All of the paintings inside the ubosot (assembly hall) have golden tones. The four walls, ceiling and floor contain paintings showing an escape from the defilements of temptation to reach a celestial "all seeing" state [...] Undoubtedly the most bizarre element of the design is the presence of contemporary images throughout the interior. Images of the Predator from the Schwarzenegger film franchise, Spiderman, Batman, Superman, Avatar, Keanu Reeves' character in the Matrix, rocket ships, and others line the walls.

Here are some more photos from Wat Rong Khun. And for more Buddhist science fiction art, check out Tibetan artist Gade's paintings of Spider-Man, the Hulk, and others.

The paintings are the work of a Tibetan artist known as "Gade." His work, which often mixes things like comic book characters and traditional Tibetan art, is created "to showcase the totemic status of superheroes and the effects of globalization on Tibetan culture."

Based on the photos that io9 has on display, Wat Rong Khun looks like it could easily become a Mecca for artists around the world, regardless of their religious preferences. Aside from these paintings, the sculpture adorning the buildings' exteriors is amazingly detailed, and the "sea of hands" that surrounds the bridge to the temple is simply otherworldly.

Source: BoingBoing via io9

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It would indeed be a sign of our times if the copyright holders of those IPs successfully sue to get their IP removed from legitimate point being made in a place of worship.

The Space smurfs made the cut but no Dr. Who?

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I fucking love these guys.

P.S getting bitchy about which idols get put on the walls is uncomfortably close to bitching about mosques or churches being built in your neighbourhood. Luckily anybody making such suggestions will obviously be joking :)

Interesting, I'm no expert on Buddhism but I know a little about it. I think I can see how this makes a degree of sense given the whole idea of personal transcendance.

Though I am curious as to whether these images are chosen because of belief as was explained, or as representations of material things to overcome so to speak.

If I remember correctly the basic idea is that there are no divine beings. If you die you pretty much wind up in a limbo forever, no god or devil will be coming to take you away. The only way to really go anywhere is to pretty much become your own god, the primacy of the self so to speak.

I probably have that wrong in part at least, but it does make me wonder how this is all supposed to work here.

Thousands of years from now, a beginning archaeology book is written on the God of Steel and his conflicts with the Blue Gods Who Look Like Cats.

Who knows what else will be put up in this temple of awesome.

It probably seems strange to us, but the appearance of non-canon figures in religious art, particularly in Asia, is nothing new.

Gesar of Ling in Tibet pops to mind. He's a kind of ancient proto-superhero appearing in thousands of adventures that had nothing to do with Buddhism or Bön, the two dominant religions in Tibet. He's all over Buddhist art.

Ancient statues of Vajrapani, the protector of Buddha's teachings, were modeled after Hercules. Buddhist art in Thailand is filled with images of Ram (another non-Buddhist epic hero). Not to mention the inclusion of mythical creatures like the garuda or the makara in Buddhist art. Don't even get me started on tantra, where any cool god, demi-god, hero, spirit, demon, etc. that was ever mentioned in any literature is basically up for inclusion in art, ritual and literature.

This is just off the top of my head.

Cool, but goku better be on their.

he WAS inspired by the monkey king, after all.

omicron1:
Thousands of years from now, a beginning archaeology book is written on the God of Steel and his conflicts with the Blue Gods Who Look Like Cats.

Haha, maybe.

Who knows, maybe the bible was just an ancient fiction novel XD

As a person who is deeply interested in the religions and traditions of other cultures.
I find this to be pretty spiffy.

Jabberwock xeno:
Cool, but goku better be on their.

he WAS inspired by the monkey king, after all.

omicron1:
Thousands of years from now, a beginning archaeology book is written on the God of Steel and his conflicts with the Blue Gods Who Look Like Cats.

Haha, maybe.

Who knows, maybe the bible was just an ancient fiction novel XD

Just have to say, your Majora avatar looks positively horrific. (In a good way)

vivaldiscool:
It probably seems strange to us, but the appearance of non-canon figures in religious art, particularly in Asia, is nothing new.

Gesar of Ling in Tibet pops to mind. He's a kind of ancient proto-superhero appearing in thousands of adventures that had nothing to do with Buddhism or Bön, the two dominant religions in Tibet. He's all over Buddhist art.

Ancient statues of Vajrapani, the protector of Buddha's teachings, were modeled after Hercules. Buddhist art in Thailand is filled with images of Ram (another non-Buddhist epic hero). Not to mention the inclusion of mythical creatures like the garuda or the makara in Buddhist art. Don't even get me started on tantra, where any cool god, demi-god, hero, spirit, demon, etc. that was ever mentioned in any literature is basically up for inclusion in art, ritual and literature.

This is just off the top of my head.

This.

And yeah, Buddhism has spawned some of the most awesome religious art ever. Though flying laser Jesus is pretty awesome, too.

That place is amazing. Went there three years ago.

The entire thing is lined with little mirrors too. The detail is just fantastic. Met the artist too and he signed my painting which I bought!

That is just amazing!!!

As a Buddhist, I approve.

And to think that I mistook expected this to be something really cool, like, "Sci-Fi Icons Found in 1,400 Year Old Temple Paintings."

omicron1:
Thousands of years from now, a beginning archaeology book is written on the God of Steel and his conflicts with the Blue Gods Who Look Like Cats.

That was exactly my thought when I read this, many Buddhist temples have survived for many, many centuries in perfect conditions, and much of the art work on destroyed temples going back as far as the founding of the first monastery can still be identified and picked over, I wonder if this will just end up being an IRL troll that will lie in wait for a millenia

I await the arrival of a TARDIS upon the wall.

Twilight.falls:
As a person who is deeply interested in the religions and traditions of other cultures.
I find this to be pretty spiffy.

Jabberwock xeno:
Cool, but goku better be on their.

he WAS inspired by the monkey king, after all.

omicron1:
Thousands of years from now, a beginning archaeology book is written on the God of Steel and his conflicts with the Blue Gods Who Look Like Cats.

Haha, maybe.

Who knows, maybe the bible was just an ancient fiction novel XD

Just have to say, your Majora avatar looks positively horrific. (In a good way)

THANK YOU!

That means a lot to me, I made it:

http://tfhybrid.deviantart.com/art/Majora-s-Mask-Neon-168344702

Wait... what?

 

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