Illuminating the Life of the Buddha investigates an outstanding eighteenth-century samut khoi, a type of beautifully illustrated, folded book found in Southeast Asia and popular as a repository for the Buddha’s teachings. Written in Pali and produced in Siam, the samut khoi features finely executed paintings on khoi paper portraying key stories from the Buddha’s past lives. These stories, known as the Jatakas, were the principal means by which Buddhist teachings were communicated and were thus a favored theme for samut khoi. However, this samut khoi stands out for its extensive series of paintings from the last life of the Buddha, including his final awakening and teaching, which are distinctive to the region.
Affording readers immense insight into a spectacular eighteenth-century manuscript, and Thai Buddhist manuscripts and temple culture as a whole, this book will be of great interest to art historians and scholars of Buddhism and Southeast Asia.