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Gift from Siam king marking Russia's last coronation on display in Tomsk

By Svetlana Skarbo
22 February 2016

Rare and sacred Buddhist books were presented to mark the crowning of Nicholas II in 1896.

A copy of the sacred Buddhist texts in the Pali language, Phra Krai Pi Dok. Picture: Tomsk State University

The tomes are being displayed at the scientific library of Tomsk State University. Some 39 books in the sacred Buddhist script in the Pali language were gifted by the Siamese monarch Chulalongkorn, or Rama V.

Only 1,000 sets were published in 1893, and 20 of these were brought to Russia for the coronation. 

Galina Kolosova, head of department of manuscripts and rare books at the library, said: 'One set was sent to the library of the Emperor's Tomsk university.'

She explained:  'All the books have partly leather covers, there is a golden coat of arms of the Kingdom of Siam on the top cover. The frontispiece of each book has a lithographic portrait of the king wearing national costume. 

'The complete set is stored at the department of manuscripts and rare books of the scientific library.'

Gift from Siam king marking Russia's last coronation on display in Tomsk
Gift from Siam king marking Russia's last coronation on display in Tomsk. Pictures: Tomsk State University


The official record states that 'a copy of the sacred Buddhist texts in the Pali language, Phra Krai Pi Dok, in 39 books has been delivered from His Majesty the King of Siam.'

He was the fifth monarch of Siam - modern day Thailand - under the House of Chakri. 

His reign from 1869 to 2010 was characterised by the modernisation of Siam, including government and social reforms, and territorial cessions to the British Empire and French Indochina. Yet he successfully saved Siam from the threat of colonisation by Western powers. 

Nicholas II was the final Romanov tsar to rule Russia, abdicating from the throne amid revolutionary fervour in 1917. 

Gift from Siam king marking Russia's last coronation on display in Tomsk


Gift from Siam king marking Russia's last coronation on display in Tomsk

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