Man creates life-sized sculptures of late Thai king’s dogs
The late monarch’s two loyal companions immortalised in fibreglass - smoking pipes and all
By Pichaya Svasti
For almost 20 years, Khun Tongdaeng, the monarch’s favourite pet dog, stayed beside King Bhumibol Adulyadej as friend and guard. Khun Tongdaeng died nearly a year before the king’s passing on October 13 last year, but her love and loyalty is everlasting and is now reflected in her life-size sculpture, which has been placed at the royal crematorium at Sanam Luang.
The sculpture is the work of Chin Prasong, who had created the bronze sculptures of Khun Tongdaeng and other dogs for the king during 2010-2016. After King Bhumibol’s passing, Chin was asked by the Fine Arts Department to mould the fibreglass statues of Khun Tongdaeng and the king’s second pet dog, Khun Jocho.
The statue of Khun Tongdaeng is 86cm tall and placed on a 10cm-tall base. The statue of Khun Jocho, a Boxer, with a smoking pipe in his mouth as depicted in old photos, is 96cm tall and also installed on a 10cm-tall base.
“I am proud to serve King Bhumibol another time. It is an honour and blessing for me. I always think of his kindness. I went speechless when I was assigned this task; it is the ultimate honour.
Tongdaeng, a female dog, was born a stray on Nov 7, 1998, in the Medical Development Clinic Alley, Rama IX. She was later adopted on Dec 13 the same year by King Bhumibol, who presided over the opening of the clinic.
Tongdaeng was clever, well-mannered and loyal to the king until the last day of her life. She died at the age of 17 years, one month and nine days at Klai Kangwon Palace in Hua Hin district, Prachuap Khiri Khan, on Dec 26, 2015.
It took three months for Chin to complete the statue of Khun Tongdaeng and a month for the statue of Khun Jocho. He had proposed four styles – standing, sitting, sitting and lifting two front feet and lying down – and Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn chose the sitting pose.