This is a traditional technique utilized in Thailand, as well as Indonesia. It entails applying pigments to the back of a sheet of glass and in reverse order, so that the final image is viewable from the front side of the glass, and protected and sandwiched by a backing. This tradition in Bali and Java seems to go back to the early 20th century; in Thailand, dating is not possible as there is little documentation that we know of.
Mainly used as decorations in homes, these paintings include religious themes, illustrations of popular stories, and scenes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata. In Bali, glass paintings are also used on family shrines. Our collection includes Buddha images and traditional calendar animals from Thailand, as well as humorous illustrations from Java.
The Buddha images and calendar animals are recent works by a local Chiang Mai artist who has single-handedly kept this tradition alive (see photo below). His pieces are in high demand and orders can take many months; we feel fortunate to be able to offer these beautiful examples.
Additional information about this medium as used in Indonesia can be found in Fischer and Cooper, The Folk Art of Bali-The Narrative Tradition, Oxford University Press, 1998.