Thailand has a rich history and an equally rich art, craft and cultural heritage dating back hundreds of years. There have been various external influences to Thai art and culture including Asian and Western influence and these outside influences have become just a part of the fabric that makes Thailand what it is today.
Traditional Thai paintings showed subjects in two dimensions without perspective. The size of each element in the picture reflected its degree of importance.
Perspective was introduced only as a result of Western influence in the mid-19th century.
The most frequent narrative subjects for paintings were or are: the Jataka stories, episodes from the life of the Buddha the Buddhist heavens and hells, and scenes of daily life.
There is a contemporary art scene in Thailand which is centred around its capital Bangkok. Many art galleries in Bangkok tend to sell work restricted to traditional rural motives. The artists creating this type of art are often influenced by traditional Buddhist beliefs and motives, and this art is popular among the general Thai public. Nevertheless, some Thai artists are breaking away from these norms by addressing more controversial issues in their works. Examples of these are the loss of traditional values and the obsession with money in today’s society.