Suan Pakkad Palace, also known as the Cabbage Patch Palace is an impressive museum contained within a group of five traditional teak houses. The name suan actually means garden and the name pakkad means cabbage. This immaculate palace was originally the home of Prince and Princess Chumbhot, the latter being one of Thailand’s leading gardeners and art collectors.
The houses were transported to Bangkok from various parts of the country and assembled here in the 1950’s on what was once a cabbage patch. But now the ground on which they stand has become one of the best-landscaped gardens in Bangkok. Princess Chumbhot was known to have amassed exotic plants from all over the world as well as a wide variety from the jungles of Thailand.
Art and Artifacts
Every building has been converted into a museum and cumulatively contain an amazing collection of art and artifacts that once belonged to the royal couple. The eclectic assortment ranges from ancient Khmer sculptures, betel-nut sets and pieces of fine antique lacquered furniture, to Thai musical instruments and exquisite shells and crystals. There is a first-class collection of whorl-patterned red and white Bronze Age pottery that was excavated from tombs at Ban Chiang in Northeast Thailand.
The Lacquer Pavillion
One of the principal highlights here is the recently renovated Lacquer Pavilion which was originally built by Prince Chumbhot. It stands on stilts at the back of the grounds near a reed pond.
The pavilion is an amalgam of two early 18th-century or late 17th-century temple buildings, one inside the other. One is called a ho trai or library and the other is a ho khien or writing room. They were retrieved from Bang Pa-In and Ayutthaya.
The interior walls are beautifully crafted and charmingly decorated with black and gold lacquered murals. The upper panels depict many scenes from the life and times of Buddha while the lower panels show scenes from the Ramakien.
However, some scenes in the tableau on the back wall portray some rather grisly details of what appear to be graphic battle scenes. There are some gruesome depictions of hell and there’s the earth goddess drowning the evil forces of Mara.
Other murals here include ordinary Thai life with everyday market scenes and with what looks like foreign traders on horseback exchanging goods. The work here is thought to have been executed just before the fall of Ayutthaya in 1767.