(Photo: circa 1907 - Photo source: Siam by Karl Dohring, 1923)
Vintage arch photo from 1907- June 10, 2006
Wisarut comments on the above photo: The photo is unmistakably the photo when King Chulalongkorn returned to Thailand after his second European trip for medical treatment in 1907. At that time, only insiders in the palace knew that the King had kidney disease since 1905. The long negotiation with both French and British governments to preserve Siam since 1893 had taken a toll on his health.
(Source: Photo dated 1908)
Vintage arch photo from 1908 - June 9, 2006
Does anyone know what event the arch commemorated? A thread on this photo
Above: (translation of the caption for this photo) This is a bird's eye view photo from January 14, 1886, the fourth day of the Mahapichaimongkol Ceremony when King Rama IV was ceremonially washed and given the name of Jaofa Mahavachirunahid.
More: Heinrich writes: The main photo on today's 2Bangkok.com of the ancient floating pavilion: It was not King Mongkut who received the washing during the River-Bathing Ceremony, as he died in 1868. It was rather a son of King Chulalongkorn, his 20th child and eldest son of his queen Sri Savarindira, Crown Prince Maha Vajirunhis, who sadly died quite young.
The ceremony performed within this pavilion was the Mahathitmongkon Ceremony (full name: Phra Racha Phithi Long Tha Son Wai Nam - transl.: "auspicious rite of taking the child out to bathe at a river (or sea) landing and teaching him to swim") from: Steve Van Beek: "The Chao Phya, River In Transition", Oxford University Press 1995, ISBN 967-65-3069-7
The photo itself is quite famous and published frequently. The other day I purchased a postcard from RiverBooks in Bangkok with even Wat Arun showing in the left background, which seems to have been cut of in your pic.
More: Heinrich writes: I have some more information regarding yesterday's ancient photo of the floating pavilion. It's from the book: H.G. Quadritch Wales: Siamese State Ceremonies. London 1931, Reprint by Curzon Press, Richmond 1992, ISBN 0-7007-0269-5
I scanned the article about the Riverbathing Ceremony and posted it on my homepage (without any comments): It was published by Mr. Wells as a supplement to his book in 1971, but Curzon Press (in Thailand: White Lotus) put it all together into one tome.
It's quite interesting to read about the going-ons in the olden days. BTW, I remember a smale-scale model (about 40cm * 40cm) of the above mentioned pavilion, that I saw in the National Museum in Bangkok.
Royal Barge Procession a spectacle not to be missed - The Nation, June 2, 2006
The highlight of the celebrations of the 60th Anniversary of His Majesty the King's accession to the throne will be the Royal Barge Procession on June 12...