Historical maps are much more than geographical records. Often they provide insights into a country's politics, trade and war. In 1996, 17 large, hand-drawn and handcoloured maps were discovered in the Princess Abhantri Paja Mansion in the Grand Palace, Bangkok. This magnificent collection is today in the care of HRH Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn. Now, for the first time, Her Royal Highness has graciously allowed five of these precious maps to go on show at the Jim Thompson House, Center for Arts. Together with 80 other related items, the exhibition "Siam in Trade and War Royal Maps of the Nineteenth Century" gives a fascinating picture of Siamese history and geopolitics during the first three reigns of the Chakri dynasty.
Narisa Chakrabongse is an editor and publisher dedicated to promoting Southeast Asian art and culture. Henry Ginsburg is an acclaimed scholar of Thailand's history, as are Santanee Phusuk and Dawn F. Rooney.