Much of the world community today is in thrall to scientific advances that violate the laws of nature. Techniques for genetically modifying plants and the deciphering of the human genome have been heralded as important milestones in man's quest to master nature. But in this enthusiasm to embrace new technologies, man is often blind to the moral and ethical questions that inevitably ensue. Mankind is so obsessed with his conquest of nature that he ignores spiritual concerns and destroys his relations with nature.

But if we examine , Thai society, we will see a very different way of thinking , one which manifests a profound respect for nature. Passed down from generation to generation , native Thai beliefs have evolved into distinctive customs and traditions that reflect this respect. Not only in our worship or religious objects such as Buddha images , the Buddha's footprints and the wheel of the doctrine but in our reverence for objects not directly associated with religion is the Thai concern for man's place in nature clearly revealed. Rice seeds and gourds, for instance, have always been held in high esteem for their vital role in sustaining human life. Our rituals, too, are informed by the interdependence, of man and nature. In the ploughing ceremony, for example , farmers gather sacred rice seeds, which they believe will bring them bountiful harvest. Gourds which because of their shape were used to store, and carry water in the past, have come to be symbols or good luck and prosperity. Forms such as these are products of natural evolution that have enriched human life, and because, of the bond that joins them to the human spirit, they seem to possess a special power which induces
us to worship them. It is this impulse which is the origin of man's artistic spirit, a spirit which by means of an internal artistic grammar gives rise to works of art. Art an expression of our human need to know nature and to show respect for everything in it attests to the profound understanding of the human soul.

Thavorn Ko-udomvit
Translation : R. Michael Crabtree

Thai Artists