Concept

Democracy Monument

Summary
The Democracy Monument ( Anusawari Prachathipatai) is a public monument in the city center of Bangkok, capital of Thailand. It occupies a traffic circle on the wide east–west Ratchadamnoen Avenue, at the intersection of Dinso Road. The monument is roughly halfway between Sanam Luang, the former royal cremation ground in front of Wat Phra Kaew, and the temple of the Golden Mount (Phu Kao Thong). The monument was commissioned in 1939 to commemorate the 1932 Siamese coup d'état (also called "Siamese Revolution of 1932" or just "1932 Revolution") which led to the establishment of a constitutional monarchy in what was then the Kingdom of Siam, by its military ruler, Field Marshal Plaek Phibunsongkhram. Phibun saw the monument as the focal point of what he envisaged as a new, Westernized Bangkok, "making Thanon [road] Ratchadamnoen the Champs-Élysées and the Democracy Monument the Arc de Triomphe" of Bangkok. The monument was designed by Chitrasen Aphaiwong, an architect whose brother, Khuang Aphaiwong, was a leading member of Phibun's government. The Italian sculptor Corrado Feroci, who became a Thai citizen and used the Thai name Silpa Bhirasi from the Second World War on, initially to avoid Japanese military ire, executed the relief sculptures around the base of the monument. He also provided the main sculpting for the renowned Lady Mo monument in the northeast Thailand city of Nakhon Ratchasima. The building of the monument was highly unpopular at the time. Local residents and shopkeepers (mostly Chinese) were evicted from their homes and businesses with 60 days' notice. The widening of Ratchadamnoen Road to create a ceremonial boulevard involved cutting down hundreds of shade trees, a serious matter in the days before air conditioning, given Bangkok's torrid climate. The focal point of the monument (Figure 1 below) is a carved representation of a palm-leaf manuscript box holding the Thai Constitution of 1932, on top of two golden offering bowls above a round turret.
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