The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
11/3/2563 / 15 / สร้างโดย Jutramas Ngonmanee

The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
Kanpop Pinyo
Translated by Suwara Sakornsawat

          A medal is a flat piece of metal with shapes, pictures and letters on its surface. Without denomination, they are not legal tender; therefore they are not officially used as money. However, pictures or letters shown on medals made them become a kind of historical record. Medals produced in Thailand feature the pictures of history or important events relating to the monarchy, religion (Buddhism) and Thai and international organizations’ anniversary. In addition, they are given to people as reward for their good deeds or encourage them. The Treasury Department of Thailand has produced provincial medals, their obverses feature the pictures of natural and cultural heritage in Thailand. The objectives are to present natural and cultural heritage including other important places, and to disseminate Thai local wisdom of each region in Thailand for a tourism campaign. Considered as provincial identity in Thailand, provincial medals are popular to be chosen as souvenirs, collectibles and gifts.
 
Production of Provincial Medals of Thailand
          The Treasury Department started the production of provincial medals of Thailand in order to support the tourism campaign, and disseminate Thai identity and local wisdom of each province to Thai and foreign people. Considered Thailand’s tourism industry foresaw to be a major contributor of the country, the government developed tourist attractions, for example, providing nationwide infrastructure for tourism and services with a dispersal strategy, and increasing functional value such as applying tourist attractions to be learning centers or cultural or natural conservation center, and producing souvenirs which presents local identity and wisdom of each province. Provincial medals by the Treasury Department, in this regard, supported the government’s tourism campaign by presenting the identity of each province on the obverse. The reverse featured the seal’s picture of a province, designated by the Treasury Department. Every province has had its seal since 1939 (during Prime Minister Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkram) designed by the Fine Arts Department under the concept of each province’s identity. Some designs were the former rulers’ insignia. The Treasury Department designed the reverse of thirty-four provinces featuring each province’s identity. Additionally, the Treasury Department gave people a chance to design the obverse of forty-four provinces. The winner would be awarded four thousand baht with a certificate. The award ceremony was held at the Treasury Department building three times: 
          1. Friday, May 3, 1991 Fourteen provincial medals
          2. Thursday, September 25, 1992 Thirteen provincial medals
          3. Thursday, September 30, 1993 Seventeen provincial medals

          Pictures which were designated to be imprinted on provincial medals included archaeological sites, venerable people, tradition, ways of life and natural places. They are cultural and natural heritages of each province, so they appeal to both Thai and foreign people to visit. More importantly, some places are inscribed on World Heritage Lists; these medals of some provinces become historical records of World Heritage Sites in Thailand.

From the Cultural and Natural Heritage of Thailand to World Heritage
          The first awareness of World Heritage officially appeared in the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict at The Hague, Netherlands in 1954. The guiding principle is
          "... that any damage to cultural property, irrespective of the people it belongs to, is a damage to the cultural heritage of all humanity, because every people contributes to the world's culture....”
          Awareness of the threat World War II, environmental degradation, uncontrolled urbanization or human development, posed to cultural and natural sights, the 1972 Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage was adopted in Paris. It focuses on the preservation of cultural sites and the conservation of nature.
          According to UNESCO, World Heritage is our legacy from the past, what we live with today, and what we pass on to future generations. Our cultural and natural heritage is both irreplaceable sources of both life and inspiration.
          State Parties are encouraged to submit their Tentative Lists which they consider to be cultural/natural heritage of outstanding universal value and therefore suitable for inscription on the World Heritage List. The first set of twelve places which was inscribed on World Heritage Lists in 1978 was located in Africa, America and Europe continents. Thailand became State Party to UNESCO in 1949 and was designated five cultural and natural World Heritage Sites, while seven places were inscribed on the Tentative Lists which are as follows:
 

Pictures of World Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
          Each provincial medal features a picture of an outstanding thing of its province and seal. From the past to the present (2019), there are twelve places in Thailand inscribed on the World Heritage Lists and Tentative Lists, and the pictures of these places were featured on the obverse of the provincial medals. There are five provincial medals featuring the pictures of three World Heritage Lists, while four ones featuring the pictures of the four Tentative Lists as follows:
 
1. Pictures of the World Heritage Lists Imprinted on Provincial Medals
          1.1 Provincial Medal of Sukhothai Province
                The obverse features the picture of Wat Phra Mahathat in Sukhothai Historical Park designed by the Treasury Department. The reverse features the seal of Sukhothai province showing King Ram Khamhaeng is standing on his seat.
 

          1.2 Provincial Medal of Kamphaeng Phet Province
                The obverse features the picture of Chedi of Wat Phra Kaew in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park designed by Wutthichai Saeng-ngoen. The reverse features the seal of Kamphaeng Phet province showing the old wall and Bai Sema (boundary stones) decorated with diamonds.
 
               Wat Phra Mahathat in Sukhothai Historical Park and Chedi of Wat Phra Kaew in Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park are part of Historic Town of Sukhothai and Associated Historic Towns comprising Sukhothai Historical Park, Si Satchanalai Historical Park in Sukhothai and Kamphaeng Phet Historical Park. The total property area is 118.52 square kilometers. They were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1991, the first world heritage set of UNESCO’s World Heritage in Thailand. The criterion of outstanding universal value is to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius and bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition which is living or which has disappeared.

          1.3 The Provincial Medal of Udon Thani
                The obverse features the picture of artifacts of Ban Chiang culture with the inscriptions "Ban Chiang Culture 2,000 – 5,000 years ago”, designed by the Treasury Department. The reverse features the seal of Udon Thani province showing the picture of Vessavana, the Guardian of the North. It was the former seal displayed on the flag of the Scout Division of Mon Thon Udon.

                Ban Chiang Culture of Ban Chiang Archaeological Site is a prehistoric area in Ban Chiang sub-district, Nong Han district of Udon Thani province. The total property area is 7.60 square kilometer. It was inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 1992. The criterion of outstanding universal value is to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition which is living or which has disappeared.

          1.4 The Provincial Medal of Nakhon Nayok Province
                The obverse features the picture of the Sarika Waterfall in Khao Yai National Park, designed by the Treasury Department. The reverse features the former seal of Nakhon Nayok province showing the picture of the elephant holding an ear of rice with its trunk, and the background is haystacks. 

          1.5  The Provincial Medal of Sa Kaeo Province
                 The obverse features the picture of the Pang Sida Waterfall in the Pang Sida Historical Park. The reverse features the seal of Sa Kaeo Province showing the picture of the Buddha image standing on the lotus blossom, the background is the light of dawn, and the middle part is Prasat Khao Noi (The Khao Noi Sanctuary).

                 The Sarika waterfall in Khao Yai National Park and the Pang Sida waterfall in Pang Sida National Park are part of Dong Phayayen – Khao Yai Forest Complex comprising Khao Yai National Park, Thap Lan National Park, Pang Sida National Park, Ta Phraya National Park, and Dong Yai Wildlife Sanctuary. They cover many provinces: Saraburi, Nakhon Nayok, Nakhon Ratchasima, Prachinburi, Sa Kaeo and Buriram. The total property area is 6,155 square kilometer. They were inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List in 2005. The criterion of outstanding universal value is to contain the most important and significant natural habitats for in-situ conservation of biological diversity, including those containing threatened species of outstanding universal value from the point of view of science or conservation.
 
2. Pictures of the Tentative Lists Imprinted on Provincial Medals 
          2.1 The Provincial Medal of Nakhon Si Thammarat Province 
                
The obverse features Nang Talung, a traditional style of shadow puppetry from southern Thailand, designed by Opat Sripan. The reverse features the seal of Nakhon Si Thammarat province showing the picture of Phra Borommathat Chedi, the main Stupa of Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan, surrounded by twelve zodiac signs.
 

               Phra Borommathat Chedi is located in Wat Phra Mahathat Woramahawihan where was inscribed on the Tentative List in 2012. The three criteria of outstanding universal value are to (1) represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, (2) to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design and (3) to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with beliefs, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.
 
 
          2.2 The Provincial Medal of Chiang Mai Province
                The observe features the picture of Wat Phra That Doi Suthep designed by the Treasury Department. The reverse features the picture of the white elephant standing in the frame.

                Wat Phra That Doi Suthep where is part of Monuments, Sites and Cultural Landscape of Chiang Mai, Capital of Lanna was inscribed on the Tentative List in 2015. The four criteria of outstanding universal value are (1) to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, (2) to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design, (3) to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared and (4) to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with belief, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.

          2.3 The Provincial Medal of Nakhon Phanom Province
                The obverse features the picture of the man playing the Khene, a mouth organ, and the woman performing traditional dance. The background is Phra That Phanom, designed by the Treasury Department. The reverse features the seal of Nakhon Phanom province showing the picture of Phra That Phanom.
 


                Phra That Phanom, its Related Historic Buildings and Associated Landscape were inscribed on the Tentative List in 2017. The three criteria of outstanding universal value are (1) to represent a masterpiece of human creative genius, (2) to exhibit an important interchange of human values, over a span of time or within a cultural area of the world, on developments in architecture or technology, monumental arts, town-planning or landscape design and (3) to be directly or tangibly associated with events or living traditions, with ideas, or with belief, with artistic and literary works of outstanding universal significance.


          2.4 The Provincial Medal of Buriram Province
                The obverse features the picture of Phanom Rung, designed by Panom Boonsil. The reverse features the seal of Buriram province showing the picture of the guardian dancing in front of Phanom Rung.
 

               
                Phanom Rung is where part of Ensemble of Phanom Rung, Muang Tam and Plai Bat Sanctuaries was inscribed on the Tentative List in 2019. The three criteria of outstanding universal value are (1) to bear a unique or at least exceptional testimony to a cultural tradition or to a civilization which is living or which has disappeared, (2) to be an outstanding example of a type of building, architectural or technological ensemble or landscape which illustrates (a) significant stage(s) in human history and (3) to be an outstanding example of a traditional human settlement, land-use, or sea-use which is representative of a culture (or cultures), or human interaction with the environment especially when it has become vulnerable under the impact of irreversible change.
                According to the pictures of World Heritage and the Tentative Lists imprinted on nine provincial medals’ obverses, the provincial medals are not only produced for supporting the tourism campaign and present Thai identity to both Thai and foreign people, but also inscriptions showing each regional tradition in Thailand. Presently, the Coin Museum is established in the custody of the Treasury Department to be a learning center about coins. The exhibitions in the museum display money especially coins and medals from Thailand and around the world used from the past to the present including seventy-seven provincial medals and one medal of Pattaya. These provincial medals are exhibited in Coins of the Ninth Reign Room on the third floor. They are sold in the museum shop with three sizes: (1) seven centimeters in diameter, one hundred and fifty grams in weight, (2) four centimeters in diameter, thirty-five grams in weight and (3) two and a half centimeters in diameter, nine grams in weight. All sizes of them are made of copper. Other numismatic products about provincial medals are (1) an acrylic display case containing a provincial medal made of copper plated with proof gold with two and a half centimeters in diameter, and (2) an acrylic display case containing provincial medals made of copper with two and a half centimeters in diameter. The latter has six patterns designed under the concept of six regions in Thailand: the north, the central, the west, the east, the northeast and the south. Presenting Thai identity and showing the pictures of World Heritage, they are chosen to be souvenirs or gifts for beloved people.
 
----------------------------------------------------------------------

The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand
The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand The Cultural Heritage Imprinted on Provincial Medals of Thailand