15 March : Art and Ideas : Narratives in Thai and Burmese Wall Paintings

Alexandra Green gave an illustrated talk exploring the Buddhist subject matter of Thai and Burmese wall paintings from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A summary of the talk as written up in the Chiang Mai Mail newspaper is here.


The murals are largely composed of illustrations of the Jataka stories, the life of Gotama Buddha, the spiritual planes of the universe which address the concept of rebirth, celestial beings, mythical creatures, and Himavanta Forest. Delving into the layout of the wall paintings, the significance of the images is revealed. The imagery is more complex than immediately apparent. Strong links to popular beliefs emerge, even in the context of sacred stories.

You can read Dr Green’s research on paintings at Tilokaguru cave-temple in Sagaing online in the SOAS Bulletin of Burma Research here.

Her most recent book is Eclectic Collecting: Art from Burma in the Denison Museum.

temples in anein village

Alexandra Green is a curator in the Asia Department at the British Museum. Previously, she has been a research assistant professor in the Department of Fine Arts at the University of Hong Kong, where she worked on a book on Burmese murals and a project comparing Thai and Burmese wall paintings, and Dr. Green has been director and curator of Asian Art at the Denison Museum at Denison University in Granville, Ohio, USA. In addition to publishing articles on Burmese murals, she has edited two volumes on Burmese art, including “Burma: Art and Archaeology” for the British Museum Press and “Eclectic Collecting: Art from Burma in the Denison Museum”, published by Singapore University Press. Dr. Green’s Ph.D. is from the School of Oriental and African Studies, London, UK.

As always, ten per cent of any art sales, and 20 per cent of any other sales will be donated to a local organisation, Cultural Canvas, to provide art experiences for the children of migrants in Chiang Mai.

For info: suriyagallery@gmail.com


  1. Hi Ko Thi Han,

    please do post in your students blog! I would love to see more students here.

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