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Murphy, Stephen A (2013) 'The Distribution of Sema Stones throughout the Khorat Plateau during the Dvaravati Period.' In: Klokke, Marijke J. and Degroot, Véronique, (eds.), Unearthing Southeast Asia's past : selected papers from the 12th International Conference of the European Association of Southeast Asian Archaeologists. Volume 1. Singapore: NUS Press, pp. 215-233.

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This paper analyses the distribution of Dvaravati period1 sema stones from evidence obtained during survey work carried out throughout Northeast Thailand and Laos.2 In total, 110 sites and over 1,200 sema stones have been recorded, representing the most comprehensive survey of these artefacts published to date.3 By analysing and plotting the distribution of sema and their sites, certain patterns and characteristics emerge. It becomes clear that their distribution follows the courses of the Chi, Mekong and Mun river systems (Fig. 17.1) closely and that sema locations can be grouped into clusters that share certain common characteristics. Furthermore, when considering the distribution of narrative art on sema it can be observe that only 17 sites have sema carved in this manner, with only six of these sites having more than ten sema of this type. Therefore, it becomes apparent that while most of the previous academic literature on the subject gives preference to sema with narrative art,4 this type is in fact the minority, with plain sema and sema with stupa designs outnumbering narrative sema at a ratio of approximately 10:1.

Item Type: Book Chapters
Keywords: sema stones, Buddhism, Northeast Thailand, Dvaravati, Isan, Khorat Plateau
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Arts
Departments and Subunits > School of Arts > Department of the History of Art & Archaeology
Departments and Subunits
ISBN: 9789971696412
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
Date Deposited: 14 Mar 2021 12:52
Funders: Other

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