Some people would be offended if you suggested painting Homer Simpson amongst the apostles, tucking into Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Last Supper. And try as you might, you’ll never get away with adding the image of Sponge Bob Square Pants on to Michael Angelo’s Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel. However, hidden amongst the ancient murals painted on the walls of a Buddhist temple in Thailand, you will find the popular Japanese cartoon character Doraemon.
For the uninitiated, Doraemon is a blue, earless robot cat from the 24th Century. The character first appeared in Manga comics in 1969 and has since starred in TV, films, musicals and video games. He was even called the ‘Cuddliest hero in Asia’ by Time Magazine.
Doraemon is hugely popular throughout Asia and Thai artist Rakkiat Lertjitsakun is extremely fond of him, so much so that he decided to add him and his schoolboy friend Nobita Nobi into his latest commission – the ancient murals on the walls of Wat Samp Pa Siew in Suphan Buri, Thailand.
“Inserting hidden messages into temple paintings is an age old tradition,” explained Rakkiat. “Years ago they would hide depictions of sex in the murals; nowadays it’s a blue cartoon robot cat.”
The inclusion of Doraemon has become a national sensation in Thailand. Many people think it’s a wonderful idea and they can’t wait to rush to the temple to look for him ‘Where’s Waldo’ style. Others are not so happy, with a few calling for the return of the old traditions.
“If hiding images of sex in the murals was good enough for our grandparents, it should be good enough for us,’ complained Phat Maanruning. “We need a return to the old ways. Stop hiding blue cats in the murals and stick to hiding boobs and fanny.”