Professor M. C. Subhadradis Diskul is a noted archaeologist and scholar on the art history of Thailand.
He is well known as a leading Thai intellectual of cultural studies whose activities are worldwide. He was born in Bangkok, the son of H.R.H. Prince Damrong Rajanubhab, who is known as the "Father of Thai History." After graduating from Chulalongkorn University, one of the most respected institutions of learning in Thailand, Professor Diskul joined the Department of Elementary Education, Ministry of Education. Influenced by his father, Professor Diskul took interest at an early age in Thai cultural assets abandoned at the nation's temples and ruins. He then went to Europe to study archaeology, art history and examples of preservation and restoration of cultural assets.
Professor Diskul further obtained the title of curator at l'Ecole du Louvre in Paris and studied methodology at the Institute of Archaeology, University of London in England. On his return from Europe, he promoted research and studies on archaeology and art history in Thailand employing scientific methods. While having numerous achievements in scientific studies, Professor Diskul committed himself to the preservation of cultural assets in his homeland. In recognition of such accomplishments, he was appointed Professor of the Faculty of Archaeology at Silpakorn University in 1964 and took leadership in the country's academic circles. He then successively held positions including Dean of the same department, Dean of the Graduate School and Rector of Silpakorn University as well as devoting his energy towards training young scholars. Furthermore, Professor Diskul contributed to the establishment of various national museums, so that the nation's cultural assets could be utilized and exhibited, and the enhancement of local cultures in Thailand.
Among his academic achievements are: the establishment of archaeology and art history from the viewpoint of the Thai people, the in-depth study of Thai history, the re-evaluation of chronological division in Thai art history and studies of the Khmer-styled ruins located in Northeastern Thailand. Such scholastic achievements by a Thai national attracted much attention and Professor Diskul became the first scholar to re-examine Thai history and culture in detail and put it in the context of Southeast Asian studies. He has a number of original works in print including "Arts in Thailand" and "Sukhothai Art", which both received high acclaim throughout the world. In 1983, Professor Diskul made a keynote speech at the 31st International Congress of Asian and North African Studies and has established his status as a leading scholar of archaeology and art history in Southeast Asia.
Since 1987, as Director of SPAFA (Regional Center for Archaeology and Fine Arts of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization), Professor Diskul has actively organized a number of seminars and workshops to enhance the preservation of traditional cultures in Southeast Asian nations. He has devoted himself to training experts on cultural assets ranging from historic sites to traditional music. His achievements in educating numerous specialists and forming local networks in the field have been highly acclaimed by international institutions such as UNESCO.
Professor Diskul has successfully placed the scholarship of archaeology and Southeast Asian art in the context of world history, based on the Southeast Asian value system, and proved the diversity of the cultures indigenous to the region by employing scientific methods. At the same time, he has brought the standard of Southeast Asian studies to an international level. These accomplishments by Professor M. C. Subhadradis Diskul greatly contribute to the understanding of Southeast Asia and therefore, make him particularly worthy of receiving the Grand Prize of the Fukuoka Asian Cultural Prizes.