Chao Dara Rasmi

Chao Dara Rasmi was a princess from Chang Mai, who later became a consort of ever popular King Chulalongkorn, the individual who single-handedly modernised Thailand and ironically, in doing so, preserved the concept of Thai royalty.

I visited the royal palace in Bangkok and a day later the palace complex at Bang Pa-in near Ayutthaya; having been warned that King Chulalongkorn’s taste was influenced by his experience of Versailles. In part this was the case, though the palace in Bangkok was quite tropical in its interpretation of royal grandeur.

A poignant moment however was, when strolling around the Bang Pa-in complex, I came upon an unrestored wooden one-story house on stilts, the residence of Consort Dara Rasmi. Her biog tells us that she clung to the customs of her northern land; clearly here as well, she insisted on a simpler domesticity. The house seems imbued with her nostalgia.

To a bloke raised in Queensland, her house seems a sensible Queenslander; tho, the pattern, as with the concept of “bungalow”, originated in the tropics. One can see her simple enthroned here, though no less regal than her fellow consorts.



About anton veenstra

tapestry weaver, fibre artist, gay/qr activist, multiculturalist
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