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Wat Phrathat Nongsammuen Local Museum  
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Wat Phrathat Nongsammuen Local Museum
By: (1127) | Date: April 25, 2014

                   Amphoe Phu Khieo, a district northwest of Chaiyaphum Province, has a long history. In many locations here archeological evidences found are testament to a number of ancient settlements, fortified by moats and earthen embankments. Discovered also were temple boundary stones (baisema) inscribed in Pallava letters, as well as many ancient religious sites showing the Dvaravati influence (around 13th -17th centuries B.E.). The assumption therefore was that an ancient city existed and flourished here since the Dvaravati time. Also in a written piece of evidence, the U-rangkhathat Legend (or U-rangkha tales), the name Kuruntanakhon was mentioned, which could have referred to an ancient settlement in the area now known as Phu Khieo District. Their civilization and settlement apparently continued until the Khmer Kingdom period, as there still are traces of ancient places and things visible until these days.
                   Phrathat Nongsammuen is a spire-topped chedi named after a large swamp – the Nong Sammuen, that lies to the northwest of the village. This beautiful structure is another evidence that the area had been settled by a community since the old time. Its architectural style which blended the art styles of Lanna, Lanchang and Ayutthaya dated to the 12th century B.E. – Chetthadhirat approximately during the time of King Chetthadhirat of the Lanchang Kingdom. Additionally, another moat surrounded city was discovered as well – called Rojjana City by the folks there. Within this old city there are a chedi named Ku Phra Sung and a mound known as Noan Ban Kao. A number of Dvaravati-style carved stone markers were found, and later removed to be more safely kept in the temple. A special one bearing ancient inscriptions was put in the Phu Khieo City Shrine. All the finds are primary evidence pieces of the inhabitation in this area since the Dvaravati time under the influence of the Khmer Empire (sandstone columns were discovered in the temple compound), the Lanchang Kingdom and the Ayutthaya Kingdom.
                   In those days Wat Phrathat Nongsammuen was just a small monastery having but a few monks living in one kuti (chamber). About 40 years ago, a monk from Korat (Nakhon Ratchasima) named Luang Por Sitattawipatsano became the abbot here. He had the temple developed. Many buildings and structures were constructed. From an old kuti and a wooden sim (ubosot/ordination hall) by the stream, came then an ubosot, a large reclining Buddha image, a 1000-Room Sala (pavilion), a replica of the Buddha’s footprints, and a replica of the Phra Malai heaven and hell. Luang Por passed away in 1984. His cast figure now stands in a small sala outside the ubosot wall for local people to pay respects to. Around 2003 the temple committee came up with the idea of collecting old utensils seen around in the village and having them displayed publicly so that village children could learn something from them. For this purpose the 1000-Room Pavilion was chosen to be the display place. Members of the museum committee consisted of the temple representatives, the assistant monk and the current abbot. Time went by; some repair work of the sala was necessary. So the displays were moved. They were cluttered up in just one place which looked more like a storage room. The temple and the committee realize that soon they will have to do again the more proper management work of the museum and its exhibits.
                   During our survey visit, most items were still cramped up together. So it was impossible to see a proper exhibition that would narrate relevant stories, as does a normal display. We, nevertheless, were still able to gather, while being shown around the museum, that the exhibits could be grouped as follows:
                   1.  Weaving instrument e.g.nai (cotton reels), jor (for nursing silk worms), piak (picking bows for fluffing cotton), khwak (for spinning cotton threads), jew (for pressing and extracting cotton seeds), feum (looms), mor sao mai (pots used in the process of pulling silk threads off cocoons), and bamboo containers for silk/cotton yarns.
                   2.  Tools for catching aquatic animals and birds
                   3.  Household utensils and tools e.g. betel nut sets, wooden mortars, boam (sticky rice containers), and bamboo baskets
                   4.  Agricultural tools e.g. rakes, plows
                   5. Temple things e.g. large drums with leather drumheads (now broken)
                   6. Old documents collected since 1965 e.g. old letters (to village folks from their children, and kept at the temple), notebooks
                   7. Tools for making clay pots – the village boasted some skilled pot-makers. The pots were for household use, also sold to nearby villages.
                   It can be said that the museum management is done by the local residents themselves, with the help of the temple committee and the community representatives. The main jobs include the maintenance of the building (the temple’ and the community’s responsibility), the procurement of exhibits, and  the service of taking visitors around the place by some locals and committee members. Yet a problem exists because they are in need of somebody who could advise them on important matters and display presentations.

Story by Phiphat Krajaejan
Field survey: September 14, 2013
Ref.: Interviews (14 September 2023):
Khun Kanda Inrin, 53, village headman
Khun Pa-yom Saengsuk, 61  
Khun Siriluck Prasertkul, assistant to the abbot
Khun Sawat Sadaeng, 81, former assistant to the abbot                                                                                                         

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  Wat Phrathat Nongsammuen Local Museum  
: Wat Phrathat Nongsammuen, Ban Thatsammuen, Tambon Bankaeng, Phukiao District, Chaiyaphum
: 087-248-7049
คุณกัณหา อินทร์รินทร์ ผู้ใหญ่บ้านธาตุสามหมื่น
: -
: Daily (Please contact in advance)
: -
: -
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: 2003
: -
Management : monastery
Story : monastery
local wisdom
Status : Open
Update Apr 24, 2014
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