Protecting the Religious Heritage of Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat

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Abstract

The inspiration for this creative work was drawn from my participation in the annual Lopburi merit-making ceremony at Wat Mahathat Lopburi, also known as Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat, which is a significant religious site in the ancient city of Lopburi. The symbolism enshrined within the intricate architecture of the temple sparked my interest in the possibility of performing arts being used as a vehicle to protect the religious meanings and heritage of the temple. The creative process involved conducting surveys and gathering empirical evidence from Wat Phra Sri Rattana Mahathat, analyzing and categorizing the temple’s distinct patterns and stories across different eras. This interdisciplinary approach was used as a model for the eight-step creative process to produce new knowledge about the religious site. The main product of this investigation was a three-act play in traditional Thai musical style. Tableaux vivants were also created to accompany the performance. The play aimed to showcase the cultural and religious significance of the temple and promote the preservation of its unique cultural heritage. By using singing as a vehicle to protect the religious meanings and heritage of the temple, this creative work offers a unique perspective on the preservation of religious heritage and promotes the continued significance of religion in contemporary Thai society.