Dedicated to the art and culture of Thailand, this volume explores the ancient and various origins of this modern country's identity. The Thai identity is the result of an extraordinary process of integration, clash and selection of different cultural traditions, the expression of the various civilisations which inhabited the same area over time. From the XIII century the Thai civilisation became the great protagonist of the political scene and the author of the country's unification, but it was also the heir of a several-thousand-year-old tradition. It would thereby be misleading to identify the culture of the modern country with the single Thai culture, thus ignoring the importance of the origins and the transformation and synthesis operated by the Thai people in producing the original mixture at the heart of their own culture.
From the contacts with the Indian world to the beginning of the first Buddhist Dvaravati civilisation, to the provincial features of the Khmer civilisation and the flourishing of the first reign, the book looks over the fascinating route to modern Thailand, through the most up-to-date historical studies and the reconstruction based on archaeological and artistic testimonies.