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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.
Asia is the biggest continent on Earth, a darling little gem floating around in space.Hm, what is Asia? Who's in on it?China and India are safe bets for Asian nations. Korea, Japan, Thailand, you're fine.Europe? No. Europe would sort of be on the "Asian continent" if not for those pesky Ural mountains dividing things up in the middle, and then also the whole lineage of kings and wealth and nations and the EU and all that "give me my respect" stuff.Russia would probably be happiest as its own continent, so for now we'll leave it in "Eurasia" and just hope the natural gas supplies keep flowing.Pakistan and Afghanistan are dang close to Asia, but politically they show up in "Middle East" news stories an awful lot. Verdict: Eurasia.I guess we'll actually have to consider everything from Turkey on eastward to be "Eurasian", although the moniker seems overlappitory of the territory.The Asian economy is now officially raging like a wild furnace of lava that consumes everything in its path. Japan has had the largest individual economy in Asia for decades, but it is forecast that both India and China will outstrip Japan within twenty years.China is the largest holder of United States debt and is positioned to become the world's next superpower, provided that Godzilla doesn't return and decide to stomp everybody back into the Shang Dynasty.Text by Steve Smith.