Wat Jin (Chinese Monastery) might be a disappeared temple. It appeared on Phraya
Boran Rachathanin's (1926) map. The first Fine Arts Department tourist map (1957)
mentioned a Wat Tha Non Cheen (Wat of the Chinese Harbour) in an approximate area.
It was also listed on the Fine Arts Department tourist map of 1997. There are some
contradictions as to its exact location. Nevertheless, this temple would have been located
along Khlong Nai Kai (present Khlong Makham Riang) on the property of where a
Women's Dormitory stands today. Khlong Pratu Jin - now buried - once flowed through
this area along an east-west axis toward the Chinese Gate (Pratu Jin).
It isn't clear when Wat Jin was originally founded. Chinese maritime traders settled in this
harbour/warehouse area along a road known as China Street. China Street is
documented on the French map by Sieur de La Mare (1751). Engelbert Kaempfer
added in 1727 that China Street was made of brick and included some of the best
houses in the city (p 44). In addition to the Chinese population, these houses also
belonged to French, Dutch, Muslim, and English merchants.
It is not clear what this temple looked like, nor do we know if it was just a basic joss
house or shrine. No trace of it can be seen for certain. There exists a rectangular mound
just north of Wat Tha Ma in which a temple was once located. There are a few sections
of Buddha images stacked next to a tree as evidence. A second rectangular mound can
be seen east of this site, but it has eroded down to only a few bricks. One of these
locations might be the remains of Wat Jin, but more research is needed to be sure.
This temple probably "disappeared" as a new population moved into the neighborhood
during the Ratanakosin period. Given its location near the harbour, it could have been a
casualty from the period in which King Rama I and King Rama III removed to Bangkok
to build a new capital. During the post-Ayutthaya period, a teacher training college for
women was located close by. This explains why this old temple is situated on a women's
dormitory property today.
|Text by Ken May - April 2009
The site is located in Geo Coord: 14° 21' 0.88" N, 100° 34' 29.19" E.
Making an assessment off all the monastic structures, in the zone demarcated by Chikun
Rd, Pa Thon Rd, Pridi Banomyong Rd and U-thong Rd is rather difficult, as the position
and name of the structures varies on different maps. On a 19th century map there are 15
structures counted, while on the 20th century PBR map there are 13 mentioned. There is
inconsistence in the names and the positions. Even maps drafted by the Fine Arts
Department, what I presume, based on excavations in the zone, shed no light on this
matter. Positions of monastic structures can be asserted, but their ancient names will
remain questioned forever.
|Photograph, maps & addendum by Tricky Vandenberg
November 2010, May 2014
|(View of the former location of Wat Jin)
|(Extract of a begin-20th century map)
|(Detail of a 2007 Fine Arts Department GIS map -
Courtesy of the Fine Arts Department - 3th Region)