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Survey of Thai monuments

Fournereau, Lucien Le Siam Ancien. Archéologie, Épigraphie, Géographie. Paris Ernest Leroux 1895-1908
First edition. Two volumes, 4to (28 x 23.5 cm), pp.(iii)-xi, [1, blank], 321, [1, blank], 84 plates, 1 double-page, text illustrations; [ii], iv, 138, [3], [1, blank] 48 plates. Annales du Musée Guimet, Tome 27-31. First volume bound in 20th-century red cloth, gilt title on spine, second volume in contemporary half morocco over marbled boards. Second volume's spine rubbed. Occasional foxing to text and plates, but overall a very good set. A few marginal notations in blue crayon in second volume.

An archaeological survey of Thailand, prepared over more than a decade by the French archaeologist and photographer Lucien Fournereau, commissioned to investigate the ancient cities of Siam in 1891. He visited more than one hundred Buddhist monuments, several previously unknown, and excavated where possible. This work begins with a comparison of early European maps of Siam, sixteen of which are reproduced in the plates, the earliest dating from before 1517. Fournereau follows this with chapters on the region's ancient civilisations and their epigraphy. Further chapters deal with the construction and materials of the monuments he investigated. The later chapters deal with specific sites, including those of Nakhon Xaisi, Chantabun, Xieng Sen and Luang Prabang, Sajjanalaya and Sukhodaya. He reproduces and translates inscriptions. Auguste Barth received the uncompleted manuscript from Fournereau in December, 1906, when the fevered author was dying of dysentery. The plates were already arranged; Barthes edited the manuscript and saw it to publication. The text completes its description of the ruins of Sajjanalaya and Sukhodaya, with an appendix on Thai ceramics. The numerous plates include fine photogravures after Fournereau's photographs taken on site, and reproductions of his finely drawn manuscript site plans. Michel Louis Lucien Fournereau (1846-1906) was a French architect, archaeologist and photographer. In 1886 he went to Indochina where he made a detailed study of Angkor Thom and began the work of rescuing Angkor Wat from the jungle. He made a photographic record of the sites, and a number of plaster casts of sculptures for the Musée du Trocadéro.