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Bangkok, Siam (Thailand): the funeral meru for the cremation of King Pinklao (second king), January 1866. Photograph by John Thomson, 1866.

  • Thomson, J. (John), 1837-1921
  • Pictures

Selected images from this work

About this work


King Pinklao was the full younger brother of King Mongkut. He was crowned as the Second King on the coronation day. He died on 7 January 1865, but the construction of the present meru north of the Grand Palace in Bangkok had taken a full year. In Thai cosmology the meru is a representation of Mount Meru, the centre of the universe, from which the king had descended to rule, and to which he would now return. The king's urn was housed inside. The photograph shows the open space in front of it demarcated by poles and lamp-standards. In the centre of the space a lectern [?] on a weighted tripod, on the right hand side a rolled up carpet. A richly ornamented building with a spire in the background to the left, two guardian statues of giants at its entrance. Thomson's negative number 405 shows the same structure. For further details see Paisarn Piemmettawat, loc. cit.



Physical description

1 photograph : glass photonegative, wet collodion ; glass approximately 25.5 x 20.5 cm (10 x 8 in.)


Cremation pyre Bangkok 1867


This is one of a collection of original glass negatives made by John Thomson. The negatives, made between 1868 and 1872, were purchased from Thomson by Sir Henry Wellcome in 1921

References note

Paisarn Piemmettawat, Siam through the lens of John Thomson 1865-66, including Angkor and coastal China, Bangkok: River Books, 2015, pp. 76-77

Lettering note

Bears Thomson's negative number: 404


Wellcome Library no. 19060i


  • English

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