Wat Phan Tao, Chiang Mai
Wat Phan Tao (built 1846 onward)
Wat Phan Tao means “The Monastery of a Thousand Kilns”. According to the noted scholar Michael Freeman, this is probably due to the fact that the site was used for the casting of Buddha images intended for Wat Chedi Luang, which is adjacent to the monastery. The building was originally constructed not as a monastery, but as a royal palace building (ho kham) for the ruler of Chiang Mai, Chao Mahawong, who used the structure from 1846 to 1854. It originally stood on stilts, but these were removed when the building was refurbished as a monastery in 1876. Some traces of Chao Mahawong’s habitation can still be seen; for example, the front gable end is decorated with the image of a peacock standing over a sleeping dog. The dog is the zodiac symbol of Chao Mahawong’s birth year. The dog image is also present in the pediment of the left window on the front facade, though it is absent on the right side.