Ramkamhaeng’s cordial relations with China secured hi snorthern borders and kept the fragmented but nonetheless energy-complete Khmer kingdoms perpetually off-balance Sukhothai’s part as a regional counter-force to the Khmers had complete Chinese approval and the Thais’ friendly relations with China undoubtedly inhibited ambitious Khmer commanders from unleashing invasion forces into the Thai heartland.
Ramkamhaeng twice visited the Chinese court and in 1300 imported Chinese artisans to produce pottery and porcelain that was exported to neighbouring countries and is now internationally prized as Sawankaloke celadon and handpainted ceramics. Pottery kilns are still prominently visible amongst Sukhothai’s magnificent ruins.
Devoutly Buddhist, Ramkamhaeng invited Ceylonese monks to purify the Khmer-corrupted Theravada Buddhism practiced in Sukhothai. As Theravada Buddhism became the predominant Thai religion, numerous graceful temples have been built to property the elegantly gorgeous Sukhothai-style Buddha photos that right now rank among the world’s greatest expressions of Buddhist art.
In the most far-reaching achievement of his reign, Ramkamhaeng produced the Thai alphabet in 1283 and in a single stroke formed the tool for uniting scattered tribes into a nation with an identity of its own. A distinguished scholar of Pali (the ecclesiastic language of Theravada Buddhism) and neighbouring languages, Ramkamhaeng primarily based his alphabet on currently-established Mon and Khmer scripts. As soon as the Thai alphabet located widespread usage, nascent literary, religious, historical and educational forms took shape and became crucial elements of a genuinely indigenous Thai culture. With surprisingly handful of modifications, Ramkam-haeng’s alphabet remains in typical use right now.
The capital flourished as a trading centre. Apart from pottery exports to Java, Sumatra, Pegu and the Philippines, Sukho-thai developed commerce with Indian, Chinese, Burmese, Ceylonese and Persian traders. Its main products have been rice, fruits and timber. While barter was the chief trading strategy, coinage came to assume growing significance.
Sukhothai and other towns inside the kingdom were administrative, religious, military and market place centres. The Sukhothai kingdom was loosely governed by means of towns in a feudalistic system controlled by the king. Nearby provincial towns had been ruled directly from the royal palace those situated farther away had been ruled by appointed governors who enjoyed absolute energy inside their personal territories. It was the assumed duty of these governors to raise armies to defend the kingdom in time of war. Peripheral vassal states of non-Thai subjects have been usually ruled by their own chieftains who swore allegiance to the distant Thai king and received egitimization of their authority from him.
Till the late 19th century, as Thai power centres moved ever southwards down the Menam Chao Phya basin, this mode of administration remained in force throughout the realm.
Ramkamhaeng ruled his ethnically diverse subjects – Mons, Laotians, Malays, Burmese, Khmers and Chinese as well as Thais – wisely and justly. He enjoyed a paternal relationship with his folks, em-bodying the open accessibility and closeness amongst king and subjects that epitomises the ideal Thai monarch. According to a modern stone inscription, anyone with a grievance could strike a bell hung outside Ramkamhaeng’s palace and be granted a royal audience.
It is modest wonder that modem Thais regard Sukhothai as a spot of enviable contentment. A 1292 stone inscription evokes the peaceful, prosperous life its inhabitants have to have enjoyed : “This Sukhothai is excellent. In the water there are fish. In the fields there is rice. The king does not levy a rate on his individuals…Who desires to trade in elephants, trades. Who wants to trade in horses, trades. Who desires to trade in gold and silver, trades. The faces of people shine bright.”
Ramkamhaeng’s successors had been of lesser calibre and Sukhothai’s power gradually declined. By the late 14th century it had turn into a vassal state of Ayutthaya, a young, dynamically expanding kingdom some 400 kilometres further down the Chao Phya river valley.