Founded in the 14th century by Mangrai, Lan Na was one of the first major kingdom in Thai history. The northern city of Chiang Mai was its capital and the center of Theravada Buddhism. From the 15th century, the kingdom became renowned for its Buddhist scholarship, literature and art as exemplified by this superb bronze head of the Buddha.
The Lan Na kingdom remained independent until was conquered by Myanmar (Burma) in the 16th century. It wasn’t until the 19th century that the Siamese regained control over the area.