What’s in a Name? The Status of Dvāravatī Today. A Talk by Nicolas Revire


Silver medallion from Khu Bua ancient city with auspicious symbol on the obverse (left)
and Sanskrit inscription bearing the name Dvāravatī on the reverse (right)


What do we really know about Dvāravatī? Lasting from approximately the sixth to the ninth centuries CE and focused in today’s central Thailand, Dvāravatī in one or another form has been of major concern to Thai and Southeast Asian art historians and archaeologists for over 80 years. Moreover, it has recently been the focus ofseveral international blockbuster exhibitions and conferences. Dvāravatī is often referred to as a kingdom, a time period, a material culture, a geographical entity, an art style, even just a “culture”, or any combination of these. What does the material and epigraphic evidence support? Academic debates mainly relate to issues of dating and geographical extent, such as, which centuries marked the beginning and end of a so-called “Dvāravatī period” and how extensive were the geographical limits of these art forms. However, virtually no discussion has taken place about why this artistic or cultural period should be defined by the name of an elusive polity or to what extent something called “Dvāravatī art” has any reality. This lecture presents an overview of recent findings and compares different interpretations as well as reassesses commonly held assertions about Dvāravatī.

Dr. Nicolas Revire, born in Paris, France, has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Liberal Arts, Thammasat University, Bangkok, since 2003. He has recently completed a doctoral degree at the Université Paris 3–Sorbonne nouvelle in France (2016). He specializes in the Buddhist art and archaeology of South and Southeast Asia with a research focus on pre-modern Thailand. He is general editor of a collective volume titled Before Siam: Essays in Art and Archaeology and published in collaboration with the Siam Society (2014).

Date: Thursday, 7 September 2017
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

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The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2016-2017 Lecture Series.