Nepali Times introduces history of Thailand through Buddhist architecture in an eight-part series.
The architecture of the Chiang Saen Style (11th-18th centuries AD) shows a group of Buddha images that has revealed some existence of Pala art discovered in Chiang Sen.
Apart from this, it has also been believed that Chiang Saen used to be in an important city in the north. According to an ancient chronicle, the original city of Chiang Saen was built in 545AD in an area called Yonok by Tai migrants from the Chinese province of Yunnan.
However Chiang Saen was subjugated to the powerful northern kingdom of Chiang Mai or Lanna. Therefore, that group of Buddha images are generally considered as a quality of Chiang Saen Art. When Chiang Mai, the capital of the Lanna Kingdom (1296-1558) was founded in 1297 AD, the art created there become known as Late Chiang Saen or Chiang Mai or Lanna.
The Chiang Saen or Lanna style was influenced by the styles of the Khmer, Sukhothai, India, Burma and Sri Lanka. For instance, the round stupa of Singhalese origin was rather popular when Chiang Mai was the center of the Lanna kingdom.
This maybe because the influenced of the Singhalese art had infiltrated into Lanna via Sukhothai. It has been found a good example as Phra That Lampang Luang, the stupa in a circular plan with the rabbeted high base displaying the form developed from a kind of Sukhothai stupa at Wat Phra That Lampang Luang in Lampang, dated around the 15th to 16th centuries.
It is a brick stupa covered with gilded copper plates. The pedestal supporting the anda consist of a series of superimposed inverted Cyma Recta mouldings and is thus much higher. The final is also much more elongated.