Cat Mural

I took full advantage of the TV crew's insistence that all the side windows of the chapel at Wat Thong Noppakhun be opened, and was able to take clear images without the use of flash or a tripod. And without the glare of the chandelier, capture the entire back wall.

Contrasting with all the action on other walls, much of which was in fact drawn from the Jataka - part of the Khuddaka Nikaya of the Sutta Pitaka (one of the pile of books on the left), the Buddhist Bible - also known in English as the Pali Canon, is here in the form of Bai Lan - the palm leaves scratched in Khmer, Mon or Thai characters brought up with ash, bound with string (not samut khoi, which are ink on paper)*

Two tiny teeny moggies, one sitting and one crouching, stand guard against vermin. In real life, the enemies of learning would include mice, rats and cockroaches, the latter a favourite toy of Thai kitties.

Looking closely at the close-ups again I noticed that the artist had not neglected to colour their eyes. The white cat is clearly blue-eyed, and the black and white cat has yellow eyes.

This realistic correspondence of eye and coat colour, and correspondence to descriptions in the Tamra Maew for the black and white cat*, would suggest these two may well have been drawn from life, as two non-tabby, non-ordinary cats around the temple at that that time. Maybe one of them was an ancestor of this fellow:

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All text and photos © Martin Clutterbuck 2012-3, unless otherwise indicated.

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