Everything shines at Louis XIV’s court, also known as the Sun King! But on this day, 1st September 1686, the arrival of the extraordinary Siamese embassy increased the brilliance of the Versailles castle by placing at the base of the throne, the Mondop. This mobile structure contains the royal letter written to Louis XIV on a golden blade.
The magnitude of this event has manifested across a list of gifts brought to France ; porcelain, jade, furniture made out of lacquer and silk to impress Louis XIV and his guests. The three traditional Asian inclinations for greeting greatly amazed the 1500 spectators that were attending the ceremony.
The Siamese canvases with the blue and white squared patterns would rapidly become a trend amongst the French nobility.
On the Sun King’s side, he also charmed the ambassadors with the Hall of mirrors, intentionally designed to dazzle visitors. With its 73 meters in length, the gallery is covered with 357 mirrors, with exactly 21 mirrors on each of the 17 arches of the room. The mirrors contain no imperfections and reflect the power of the King of France. King Naraï the Great is not mistaken: he ordered his ambassadors to purchase several thousands mirrors to decorate his palaces in Ayutthaya and Lopburi. Some of these mirrors were used to decorate the walls of the Sawan Thanya Maha Prasat Pavilion in Lopburi, and were later displaced in the main stupa of Phra Phutthabat.
The mirrors you're looking at today have been manufactured and gifted to our Embassy by Saint-Gobain, the French company formerly know as Manufacture Royale des Glaces back when Louis XIV was king. The company kept up its high-standards and requirements for technical excellency to this day.
- The mirrors listed above were made and donated by Saint-Gobain. Saint-Gobain is the successor company to the Manufacture Royale des Glaces which itself made the mirrors for the Hall of Mirrors. For more information on Saint-Gobain, please click here.
- It seems that these mirrors inspired the engravings of the Almanach of Nicolas Larmessin kept at the BnF (Bibliothèque nationale de France).
Please find below a map of Thailand where the historical ruins of Ayutthaya and Lopburi are located.