A “Foreign” Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Difference in Nineteenth-Century Siam by Leslie Ann Woodhouse B.A. (Mills College) 1990 M.A. (University of California, Berkeley) 2001 A dissertation submitted in partial satisfaction of the Requirements for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in History in the Graduate Division of the University of California, Berkeley Committee in charge: Professor Peter Zinoman, Chair Professor Andrew Barshay Professor Penelope Edwards Spring 2009

A “Foreign” Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Identity in Nineteenth-Century Siam Copyright 2009 by Leslie Woodhouse

Abstract A “Foreign” Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Identity in Nineteenth-Century Siam by Leslie Ann Woodhouse Doctor of Philosophy in History University of California, Berkeley Professor Peter Zinoman, Chair

The reign of Siam’s King Chulalongkorn (1868-1910) is possibly the best-studied period in Thai history: a watershed era when Siam undertook its transformation from kingdom to nation-state within a context of intense European imperialist competition in Southeast Asia. Yet the roles played by women in this period – particularly the women of the Siamese palace – remain largely unexamined. The deployment of a patriarchal dynastic model in Thai historiography, as well as an Orientalist tendency to exoticize it as a “harem,” discount Siam’s all-female “Inner Palace” as a purely domestic space and thus outside the arena of legitimate political activity. This project aims to restore the domestic arena of Siam’s Inner Palace to our understanding of traditional Siamese power structures. It does so by focusing on the life of a woman who functions as the exception that proves the rule: a “foreign” consort named Chao (Princess) Dara Rasami, who came to the Siamese court from the neighboring kingdom of Lan Na in the mid-1880s. Using her nearly thirty-year career as a royal consort as a lens for looking into the lifeways of the Inner Palace, I examine the crucial political 1

and social roles played by consorts in the Siamese palace. As an ethnically different woman from a neighboring kingdom, Dara herself acted in two important capacities. Firstly, Dara Rasami functioned as both a hostage and a diplomat for her home kingdom in Chiang Mai, ultimately earning a somewhat higher status for her home region under Siamese rule. Secondly, as a representative of cultural difference within the palace, Dara’s performance of Chiang Mai identity was encouraged as part of Siam’s “modern” discourse of “siwilai,” or a hierarchy of civilizations of which Siamese culture was seen as the pinnacle. As such, Dara Rasami’s story provides a fresh perspective on both the socio-political roles played by Siamese palace women, and Siam’s responses to the intense imperialist pressures it faced in the late nineteenth century.


............................................ 52 b......... 100 b. Historiography of Lan Na and Thai History.....1 Environmental and Cultural Background of Lan Na......................................................................................................... Sex and Reproduction............ The Siamese Palace in Thai Literature and Historiography............ What Went Wrong: Or... Water and Hygiene............................. 17 Appendix 1: Glossary of Frequently-Used Thai Terms........... Introduction................................................................................2 Materials.......................................................................... Culture and History...........4 Lan Na’s Elite Women and Agency: Thipkraisorn and Ubonwanna................................. Constituting Lan Na: Environment............................................... 3 b.............................. Rumors and Realigning Allegiances.. Chao Chet Ton: Reviving Familial Alliance and Inventing the Khon Muang... 47 a............................... Methods and Approaches ........................... 96 3.................. Residence and Status in the Palace ..................................... 101 c............................................. 85 3........... Women in the Historiography of Thailand ............... Food and Supplies..... 103 i ....... 9 c..... 3 a............. Status and Circulation in the Siamese Palace................................................................................................................ The Structure of Lan Na Rulership in the Early Nineteenth Century.................................. Siam’s Need for A Second Chiang Mai Treaty......... 29 2........ 93 a........................................................................................ 24 2..... viii Abbreviations Used for Archival Sources.......1 Tracing Thai Historiography and Re-Orienting Thai History ............ 26 a........ 1848-51 ....................................... iv Notes on Transliteration and Translation ... The 1873 Chiang Mai Treaty: Undermining Traditional Relationships .....Table of Contents Dedication................................................... The 1850s..... 56 c.................................................................................2 Space....... 67 2........................................................................ 100 a. 11 1.................................... 1 1................. Founding Figures and Family Rule.................3 Chapter Themes and Arguments ................................ 78 Illustrations ...................... 79 Chapter 3.... x Chapter 1....................... 15 1...........................3 Shifting Economies................................................. Gender and Status in the Siamese Palace........................... 73 Appendix 2: Kings of Lan Na’s Chao Chet Ton Dynasty ....................... 80 3....................5 Dara Rasami................ iii Acknowledgments ...................................................3 The Fundamentals of Life in the Inner Palace ................... Into the Palace: Space............................................................. 22 Chapter 2....................................2 Rebuilding Lan Na’s Population and Economy: 1775-1850 ................... Shifting Allegiances: Mid-Nineteenth Century Lan Na........p............1 Binding the Kingdom Via the Circulation of Bodies............................................................................................................................. Male and Female........... 37 b............... 64 2.. Continued: Rumors of Lan Na Overtures to the Burmese.......... 33 a.............. Siamese Intervention Gone Wrong: The Chiang Tung Wars............................... 42 2............... 58 d.....................

................................ 232 5..... 130 3...................................................... 196 Illustrations ............................. 159 c.....................................................................................................2 Performing Ethnicity: Sartorial and Bodily Expressions (and Consumptions) .................... 135 Appendix 3: Kings of Siam’s Chakri Dynasty ........ 177 c................................. Loyalty and the Politics of the Personal in The Siamese Court ................................... 184 4...................... Entertainment and Amusements ... Siamese Dance-Drama during the Fifth Reign (1878-1910) ..................4 Diplomatic Gestures: Deploying Dara Rasami’s Ethnic Difference .. 231 5................................................................................................. 144 4......................................................... 151 b................................ Textile Traditions of Lan Na ...................... Dara Rasami Returns to Chiang Mai: An Outsider at Home.................................................. 248 Bibliography Archives Consulted .................................................................... 138 Illustrations .............. 151 a..................... 165 d....................................... 269 ii ........ 187 a............................................................................................ 254 English-Language Sources........................... Illness and Death. Dara Rasami as a Colonial Proxy: The 1906 Visit of a Shan Princess.................................3 Drama and Performing Difference within Siamese Siwilai ......5 Dara Rasami: “Self-Orientalizing” or Strategically Essentializing?.......................................................... Domesticating Siam’s Peripheries through Lakhon Rong Drama................ 190 4.............................................................. 120 3.............. 246 Illustrations ........7 Conclusion .................d..5 Language........... Dara Rasami and Ethnic Difference within the Siamese Court .............................................................................................................. 199 Chapter 5...................... 108 3................................................... 105 e....................................................................................................................................... Dara Rasami’s Musical and Dramatic Interests..................................................... 187 b.......... 146 4.................................... Siamese Court Textiles and Dress .... 170 4.............................. 245 5.......... Male Bodies in the Inner Palace.................................................................................................4 The Palace as a Cultural Crucible ...........4 Opportunities for Further Research....1 Royal Circulations: Moving the Siamese Court in the Early Twentieth Century............................1 Dara Rasami’s Last Years at Suan Dusit and Return to Chiang Mai........................... 174 b.....6 Transgression and Punishment in the Inner Palace.................... 106 f.......3 After Dara Rasami: The Decline and Fall of Palace Women in Siam............. 255 Thai-Language Sources............ 139 Chapter 4.................................... 242 5........................................ 110 3...............5 Concluding Remarks.................. Dara Rasami and Making Lan Na Dress Siwilai ..........................................................2 Dara Rasami’s Later Life and Role in Chiang Mai’s Contemporary Memory................................ Death and the Disposition of Remains....... 239 5.......................................... Deploying Northern-ness: Dara Washes the King’s Feet with Her Hair.. 173 a......... Dara Rasami and Performing Lan Na Identity in the Siamese Court................. 107 g..........................

with love and gratitude and for Warunee – khien sanuk! iii .Dedication for David.

I also thank Mabel Lee. feedback and support. I might never have successfully navigated the circuitous process that ultimately brought me to this topic. At Berkeley. even though I was not one of your advisees. and has long assisted me in thinking through the similarities and differences between the iv . To Professors David Hollinger. Gene Irschick and Wen-Shin Yeh. Without his advice. for her professionalism and unflagging cheer in helping me clear innumerable administrative hurdles over the past several years. If anything. Graduate Assistant to the Department of History. First and foremost. Peter’s support has been backed up by that of Berkeley’s Department of History and Graduate Division. whose financial and moral support over the course of my graduate education have been invaluable (particularly their recent grants in support of my foreign travel and research).Acknowledgments Every dissertation is a product of years of research. as this project came together only after two years’ fruitless work on another topic before I stumbled upon Chao Dara Rasami. There are accordingly a few people to whom I owe special thanks for their academic and moral support over the years. I owe a nearly double debt to my supporters. for first introducing me to Thai language and culture. Peter Zinoman. a number of professors inside and outside the History department have aided in my progress. I would like to thank my advisor. I must thank my first Ajaan at Berkeley. Susan Kepner. thinking and writing which would not have been possible without the support of a host of people and institutions – and this dissertation is no exception. I thank you for your kind counsel and periodic encouragement. and her generous feedback on my endeavors over the course of my Berkeley career. Andrew Barshay has supported my endeavors since I began my graduate studies as a master’s student in the Asian Studies program.

I appreciate the warm welcome given me at the Thai Khadi Institute by former director Ajaan Piriya Krailerk. Miss Wanida. and director Ms. A number of Thai institutions and individuals also deserve credit for their assistance in my research. and for the continuing consideration of Ajaan Anucha Thirakanont. Thanks also to Volker Grabowsky. A number of colleagues in the extended academic community have also assisted me in the development of my project. who was a late addition to my dissertation committee. Penny. who provided feedback and encouragement on early drafts. Miss Butsyalek and Miss Phanawan provided excellent direction and advice. My thanks also to Craig Reynolds. as did Miss Jantorn in the v . and for taking your membership on my committee so seriously. for referring me to Ajaan Warunee Osatharom. who later became my Thai mentor. acting as a sort of surrogate advisor to me while mine was abroad this past year. At the Thai National Archives in Bangkok.“modern” monarchies of Thailand and Japan. The wonderful people at TUSEF Thailand helped me settle in during my Fulbright year (2004-05). Thanks firstly to Ajaan Thongchai Winichakul. I also thank Mike Montesano for applying his understanding of Thai culture and politics to a critical read of my chapters. Miss Pannee Panyawtthanaporn and Yada Sommarat of the National Research Council of Thailand generously assisted me in gaining permission to use both the National Archives and the restricted-access archive of the Royal Secretariat. I can’t thank you enough for taking me on. A special thanks goes to Penny Edwards. especially Miss Siriporn. Pornthip Kanjaniyayot. Her thoughtful comments and suggestions have greatly improved my chapters. the Institute’s current director. who kindly referred me to his student Ratana (Jaeng) Pakdeekul in Chiang Mai. Penny went well above and beyond the call of duty expected of an “outside” committee member.

her sense of humor and compassion that make her a great mentor whose friendship I treasure. and her assistant. Miss Daruni Somsri. In addition to vi . has continued to give generously of her time and friendship every time I have visited Chiang Mai. Miss Balima. My research assistant. and her introduction to the staff of Payap University library’s Northern Thai collections. Ajaan Warunee Osatharom of the Thai Khadi Institute at Thammasat University. the head archivist of the Royal Secretariat. director of the Chiang Mai branch of the National Archives. for their assistance in accessing the Royal Archive’s materials related to Dara Rasami. and providing insights from her own research into Chiang Mai’s history. Chumsri Wongwirachai. who is herself a graduate student researching historical gender roles in Laos and Lan Na. my ajaan thi brueksa. who personally squired me around Chiang Mai to gather data on the history of Dara Academy. Ever since I was her student in the 2006 AST (Advanced Study of Thai) program. my deepest thanks to my Thai mentor. I also thank Miss Tum. Miss Unchalee Sermsongsawad. A special thanks to the aforementioned Ratana (Jaeng) Pakdeekul. Ajaan Kreuk Akornchinaret and Ajaan Aroonrut Wichienkieeow both provided invaluable information and resources that opened up new perspectives on Dara Rasami’s place in local history and memory. gave invaluable help in translating handwritten Thai documents into readable form. I also thank Ajaan Ratanaporn Settrakul of Payap University for her support of my topic and her encyclopedic knowledge of northern history. Last but not least. Many thanks also to Mrs. Thanks also to Ajaan Tej Bunnag. In Chiang Mai.photographic collections office. Though her intimate knowledge of the Thai archives make her a tremendous resource. for his kind efforts to expedite my permissions to the Royal Archive in the summer of 2007.

Lastly. Janpanit Surasin. and gave generously of her own knowledge of local Chiang Mai culture. who made me feel at home in Bangkok during my Fulbright year (2004-05). support and seemingly limitless patience.” Khun Phonthip (Fulbright). Martina Nguyen. and that we will work together again soon. and Lisa Tateosian. whose friendship and support have made all the difference. has since also become a true friend with whom I have exchanged many new insights into both Thai and American culture. I hope your dissertation is progressing well. Lastly. without whom these past two challenging years would have been a lot less bearable. I thank Sato for her quiet companionship and calming presence. vii . I must express my deep appreciation of my wonderful Thai friends and teachers. I especially recognize the friendship and support of Laurie Ross. for long chats about my topic and close reads of my chapters. I thank the friends and family members who have provided such tremendous emotional and moral support over the past few years. and Thitiwan (Pao) Lertphiya. Marady Hill. to my husband David. Jaeng also connected me with several key people in Chiang Mai. goes my deepest appreciation for his love.conducting a bit of oral history concerning Dara Rasami’s links to her own family members. Jaeng. Special thanks go to my “monkey sisters. Thanks to my father-in-law. My SEASSI ajaan. who also lent his computer skills to the creation of many of my maps and illustrations. Ray Lucas.

Notes on Transliteration All translations from Thai sources are my own unless otherwise noted. Within the body of the main text. ฐ. ฟ ม ร ล. ศ. ฒ น. ท. ณ บ ป ผ. outlined in the table below. ฆ ง จ ฉ. Vernacular character ก ข. for the greater convenience of subsequent Thai scholars. I have transliterated all Thai terms. ฮ Romanization when initial or medial: k kh ng ch ch y d t th n b p ph f m r l w s oh h Romanization when final: k kh ng t t n t t t n p p p p m n n w t oh n/a viii . ธ. where Thai-language texts are cited in footnotes. ทร. ฑ ต. ษ. ภ ฝ. ส อ ห. ฎ. ฏ ถ. I provide the first reference (and bibliographic entry) in Thai script. However. ฬ ว ซ. ช ญ. พ . I use a slightly modified version of the ALA-Library of Congress rules for the Romanization of Thai orthography into English. ย ด. ค.

................................... ae โอะ............................................. อัย................................... เอิ ................................... อี ... ieow ฤ ........................... แอ็.................................. โอ...............ua ใอ.................. ออ .......................................... oei เอือย...................... ia................................ แอ ................ เอ็................. อ......ueai อวย .... ไอย......................................... เอือ ..................................oe เอียะ. iu เอ็ว............................................................ 1997 Edition: http://www.............................uai อิว ....... ..html ix ..............................gov/catdir/cpso/roman.. ry ฦ........ เออ....... เอ .... อื ..........o เออะ............................ oo เอะ.............................................. อั....... eo แอว ...................loc......... อู ........ อาย...............................................Vowel Romanization Vowel Romanization อะ........ly Adapted from the American Library Association/Library of Congress Romanization Tables..... ui โอย..................................... อัว.............ai เอา...... ว ................................................... oi เอย ............................................ e แอะ.. ไอ.......... ee อึ...... เอาะ......... a อำ ...... เอีย............... a อา ..............................ao อุย .......................uea อัวะ....................................................................am อิ...................... เอว .....ue อุ..... ออย .. อาว ..... iya เอือะ......aew เอียว ..............

Foreign Office Records (subset of the B.L. documents) x . U.&S. Kew. Bangkok British National Archives.K. B. or B. National Archives of Thailand (หอจดหมายเห็ตุแหงชาต). N.A.L. Bangkok National Library of Thailand (ห้องสมุดแหงชาต).A.K.L.ABBREVIATIONS USED FOR ARCHIVAL SOURCES: N.L.) British Library.T. B.A. London. Bangkok Archive of the Royal Secretariat (สำนักราชเลขาธิการ).N.L.O. S.R. U.T. F. L/P. Political & Secret Documents (subset of B.O./F.N.

this topic promises to shed new light upon an otherwise well-studied period of Siamese history.: Southeast Asia Program Publications. Wolters1 Chapter 1 This dissertation concerns the life of an ethnically non-Siamese woman who became a consort of the Siamese king from the late nineteenth. 229. daughter of the king and queen of Lan Na. fleshing out the social contours of a heretofore two-dimensional historical picture composed solely of political and economic dimensions. 1 Page 1 . as the British moved into northern Burma. Firstly. there is little scholarship that acknowledges – let alone focuses upon – the polygynous system of marital alliance that formed a major part of Siam’s political landscape until 1925. Cornell University.Y. Introduction “A gender-oriented study should do more than put women into history. From the mid-1880s to 1910. Secondly. The focus of this study is princess Dara Rasami. Southeast Asia Program. Dara Rasami’s story demonstrates the centrality of the Siamese palace as an intersection of personal and regional politics in pre-modern Siam. As suggested by the Wolters quote above. History. 1999. a tributary – but sovereign – kingdom ruled from Chiang Mai. Ithaca. Revised Edition. Culture. It should also throw light on the history – male as well as female – into which women are put…” – O. Oliver W.Woodhouse Chapter 1. today part of northern Thailand. This topic is significant for several reasons.to early-twentieth centuries. after political tensions between Siam and Lan Na Wolters. and Region in Southeast Asian Perspectives. and the French into the upper Mekong region of Laos. N. her early career within Siam’s ‘Inner Palace’ embodied the function of provincial consorts as both diplomats and hostages to the Siamese king.W. As such. Dara Rasami provided crucial political linkage between Siam and Lan Na. Later on.

and also the relationship of changing attitudes about royal polygamy to the See Nongyao Kachanachari’s ดารารัศมี พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี [Dara Rasami: Biography of Chao 2 Dara Rasami] (1990). the funerary volume published in conjunction with Dara Rasami’s cremation. Dara Rasami performed a significant role as an “Other within” as part of siwilai. or a Siamized hierarchy of civilizations. they do not offer critical assessment or interpretation of the events. Page 2 . This study is not. and the roles of consorts both foreign and domestic in Siamese politics. in the final years of the Fifth Reign in the early twentieth century. Though these sources present Dara Rasami’s biography in copious detail. Here. Saengdao na Chiang Mai’s พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี [Biography of Phra Rajajaya Chao Dara Rasami](1974). Dara is a unique figure who provides an intimate window into the ways in which Siamese elites reconciled traditional political practices and family alliances with Western notions of modern statecraft and ethnic identity in the late nineteenth century. particular events from Dara Rasami’s life and career will function as lenses through which to critically re-assess the intersection of several seemingly disparate historical strands.2 Rather. These include the history of gender in Siam and mainland Southeast Asia. Through her participation in palace dance-drama. and the European colonial aspirations in the region which threatened them. a biography. The details of Dara Rasami’s life have already been well-documented in a handful of Thai-language sources. the contingent political fortunes of Siam and its neighboring polities. Dara Rasami’s role in palace politics shifted from political hostage to cultural informant. I propose to examine her life in the larger context of Siamese and Lan Na history.Woodhouse Chapter 1 had been settled through Siam’s implementation of a centralized administrative system. strictly speaking. the shaping of “modern” notions of Siamese identity and ethnic difference. As such. and Chao Gaew Nowarat’s พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี [Phra Brawat Phra Rajajaya Chao Dara Rasami] (1934). in order to illuminate new facets of the political and social history of Siam’s Fifth Reign era.

who was himself both a product and a practitioner of polygyny4.1a.” 3 Page 3 . Though Damrong himself wrote biographical accounts of several royal consorts.Woodhouse Chapter 1 political fortunes of Siamese women in contemporary Thai society. In this model of “modern” history. particularly Chapter 12 on Damrong’s descendants. his familiarity with the Western distaste for polygyny led him to studiously avoid focusing upon the institution of royal polygyny in his historical accounts of Siam the nation. 1. The seminal English-language political histories of late nineteenth and early twentieth century Siam focused largely on the activities of its “modernizing” monarchs: King Mongkut (Rama IV). Western historians continued the elision of polygyny from Siam’s political history in twentieth century scholarship. Women in the Historiography of Thailand Modern Thai historiography was constructed by Siam’s royal elites on the model of nineteenth-century European histories which celebrated the nation-state. 4 Prince Damrong was one of King Chulalongkorn’s many half-brothers. his son Chulalongkorn (Rama V) and Hong Lysa.1 Tracing Thai Historiography and Re-Orienting Thai History 1.” Prince Damrong Rajanuphab. as Hong Lysa succinctly puts it: “The male-associated activities of building and defending the country against hostile neighbors and colonial threats dominated the historical narrative.” Journal of Southeast Asian History 30.”3 Ironically. See Finestone (2000). As the focal point of these intersections. and maintained a total of eleven wives and consorts in his household. no. in which women hardly featured at all. “Palace Women At the Margins of Social Change: An Aspect of the Politics of Social History in the Reign of King Chulalongkorn. who share the surname “Diskul. many of these narratives are attributed to the “father of Siamese history. 2 (1999): 310-24. ultimately producing thirty-three children. Dara Rasami’s life and career illuminate new aspects of these wellstudied – but heretofore incomplete – histories.

Steven Greene’s Absolute Dreams (1971. those that center on the reign of Chulalongkorn consider it as an era of modernization.6 Leonowens continued to capitalize on her unique experience in exotic erotic Siam: The Romance of the Harem (1872). brought her literary fame in both England and the United States. and Maurizio Peleggi’s Lords of Things (2002).Woodhouse Chapter 1 grandson Vajiravudh (Rama VI). in the words of feminist historian Joan Scott “[p]olitical history has… been enacted on the field of gender. Joan Wallach. Leonowens plays upon the contemporary “hot button” issue of slavery to align her portrayal of the women of the Inner Palace with those of the decadent harems of India and Ottoman Turkey – already a Scott. Rev. If. Berkeley: University of California Press. The English Governess at the Siamese Court: Being Recollections of Six Years in the Royal Palace at Bangkok (1870). 5 Page 4 . Her first book. even though whether she was indeed English or a governess has since been called into serious question. Historians of this earlier generation may well have become suspicious of the topic of palace women by the lone precursor of such a history: Anna Leonowens. These works include David Wyatt’s 1969 The Politics of Reform in Thailand: Education in The Reign of King Chulalongkorn. 2008. Of these works. ed. Tej Bunnag’s The Provincial Administration of Siam. New York: Columbia University Press. Gender and the Politics of History. Bombay Anna: The Real Story and Remarkable Adventures of the King and I Governess. examining it in terms of the systemic administrative changes undertaken by Chulalongkorn and his team of half-brother ministers. Walter Vella’s Chaiyo! (1978). In these texts. Gender and Culture. it is in passing if at all.”5 then these ostensibly political histories are missing a crucial element. 6 See Susan Morgan’s introduction to 1991 edition of The Romance of the Harem (ix – xxxix) or Morgan’s recent biography of Anna Leonowens. 1999. If royal women or consorts are mentioned in these works. 1892-1915: The Ministry of the Interior under Prince Damrong Rajanubhab (1977). 1999).

7 In Leonowens’s Siamese harem. Daughters of Development).]: Duke University Press. 7 Page 5 . Family Life in a Northern Thai Village). Ironically. 1982) or sex workers (Khin Thitsa. mothers and children (van Esterik. A shining example is Jean Gelman Taylor’s The Social World of Batavia (1983). [N. 8 The well-known musical “The King and I” was adapted from Margaret Landon’s 1944 Anna and the King of Siam. historians have long recognized the value of examining gender in its historical social constructions. it was typically outside the field of history.Woodhouse Chapter 1 well-established and marketable genre by the 1870s. The feminist scholars who emerged in the later 1970s and ‘80s were more often anthropologists and sociologists focused on observing and evaluating Thai culture in the present. factory workers (Sinith Sittirak. Empire. they tended to focus on non-elite women: rural and tribal women (Sulamith Heins-Potter. Women of Southeast Asia. every woman was a slave. subject to the whims of a tyrannical and capricious king. In Place of Origins: Modernity and its Mediums in Northern Thailand). 1996. As was consistent with the Marxist-influenced thinking of the time. or for the alleged decadence and political illegitimacy of the Siamese harem. When women finally began to become visible in scholarship on Thailand. which analyzed the See Inderpal Grewal’s Home and Harem: Nation. elsewhere in Southeast Asian studies. The Thai objections to these works and their subsequent adaptations into film and musical forms8 have led to their outright ban in Thailand. Both the musical and all film versions have been banned in Thailand. than historians examining the social constructions of the past. a novelization of Leonowens’s “English Governess” text. spirit-mediums (Rosalind Morris. and the Cultures of Travel. including the 2000 film version starring Jodie Foster and Chow Yun Fat.C. Western historians have avoided tracing Anna’s footsteps into Siam’s Inner Palace for more than a hundred years since her departure from Siam. Cleo Odzer. Providence and Prostitution: Image and Reality for Women in Buddhist Thailand. Whether out of distaste for Anna’s naked selfpromotion. Gender. Durham. Patpong Sisters).

and continues to inspire my own work. been tackled.” Lysa Originally entitled “Predicaments of Modem Thai History. it has no counterpart in Thai studies. 2 (1999): 310-24. Lysa’s work in the late 1990s yielded two important articles on Siamese palace women. producing a hybrid society within the confines of the walled trading city at Batavia. Here she identifies a pronounced gender bias in contemporary Thai popular historical treatments of concubines and prostitutes. “Palace Women at the Margins…” in the Journal of Southeast Asian History 30. who are alternately romanticized and demonized in ways that elide how gender roles of the past were constructed. Unfortunately. 122-140. In the late 1990s.10 In “Of Consorts and Harlots in Thai Popular History” (1998) Lysa takes on contemporary Thai interpretations of the nature of prostitution and concubinage in the past. historians Craig Reynolds and Hong Lysa recognized this critical absence in Thai scholarship. In a 1999 article. In the 1999 article “Palace Women at the Margins of Social Change: An Aspect of the Politics of Social History in the Reign of King Chulalongkorn. or the correlation of class or status to gender roles. 9 Page 6 . Reynolds noted that “not even in the elitist historiography of the Thai elite has this.”9 As if in response to Reynolds’s point. 2 (1998): 333-53. very little scholarship has focused on how and when these roles were constructed. 10 “Consorts and Harlots” was published in Journal of Asian Studies 57.” in Seditious Histories: Contesting Thai and Southeast Asian Pasts (2006). and the rich opportunities for research on the subject of palace women. the most obvious topic in women’s history.1 (1994): 76. This work still stands out as an exemplar of social and gender history.” South East Asia Research 2. no.
 Reynolds’ essay was reprinted as “Engendering Thai Historical Writing. Though much ink has been spent considering the various contemporary social roles of non-elite Thai women. No.Woodhouse Chapter 1 social and economic linkages provided to Dutch traders through their Javanese wives. much less the relationship of womens’ contemporary political currency to the Siamese past.

Scot Barme’s Woman. is a history of Thailand which focuses directly on gender. finally.Woodhouse Chapter 1 presents the stories of several Inner Palace women. More recently. Barme’s narrative picks up where mine leaves off: just as the social acceptability of polygyny and palace women themselves are simultaneously disappearing from Siamese society. Lysa’s work marked the pathway I have followed into the social history of Siamese palace women. University of Hawai'i at Mânoa. Here. is Tamara Loos’ Subject Siam: Family.”11 a topic which was later developed by Tamara Loos (see below). and provides a clear analysis of how gender categories were constructed over time through legal proceedings. however. Barbara Watson. Law. Perhaps the most important recent intervention in Thai historiography. clearly demonstrating the significance of their stories to Thai social history. and Colonial Modernity in Thailand (2006). Her seminal work provides the necessary opening for further work on gender in nineteenth-century Siamese history – an opening without which my work might not exist. Man. through court cases and legal documents. Bangkok (2002) analyzes how gender roles were debated and constructed in 1920s and ‘30s Bangkok. both elite and non-elite. Following these interventions. the topic of gender and women has been embraced by historians of Thailand in recent years. A 2000 essay by Koizumi Junko introduced an analysis of gender in Thai legal categories in an article entitled “From A Water Buffalo to A Human Being: Women and The Family in Siamese History.and twentieth-century Siam. 11 Page 7 . Loos’ analysis of court cases concerning interactions between men and women expands on Koizumi’s work to explore the evolution of legal categories as they related to gender and family in nineteenth. See Andaya. 2000. Other Pasts: Women. Honolulu: Center for Southeast Asian Studies. Gender and History in Early Modern Southeast Asia.

Laos. In the recent Lost Goddesses: The Denial of Female Power in Cambodian History (2008).Woodhouse The subject of this dissertation also contributes to the emergent genre of Chapter 1 scholarship focusing on elite women. This scholarship includes a few edited volumes of comparative work. such as the edited volume Servants of the Dynasty (2008). and their historical significance. Barbara Andaya’s monograph The Flaming Womb: Repositioning Women in Early Modern Southeast Asia (2006). Not least of these are the texts working to reexamine Asian harems. This field is expanding to include cross-cultural considerations of palace women. provides an amazingly broad comparative look at women across Southeast Asian cultures. My work also adds to the growing body of historical scholarship specific to the arena of women and gender in Southeast Asia. These and other histories have begun to tease out the social and political dynamics of these heretofore unseen and misunderstood feminine worlds. Europe. as well as illuminating new aspects of the global histories into which women figure. The Imperial Harem (1993). Most recently. there are still many opportunities for scholars to examine the palace women of Burma. and more recently Ruby Lal’s Domesticity and Power in the Early Mughal World (2005). Page 8 . and Vietnam. In terms of country-specific works. Gender and History in Early Modern Southeast Asia (2000). Central America and Africa. Trudy Jacobsen performs a new intervention in Cambodian gender history by examining the roles of women in ancient Angkorean statecraft. which includes essays on palace women from Asia. such as Leslie Pierce’s work on women in Ottoman history. These histories – and my own – are beginning to take seriously the task of restoring women to history. Other Pasts: Women. such as Power & Difference: Gender in Island Southeast Asia (1990).

consorts had.Woodhouse 1. . 13 Hong Lysa (1998). which also captures the imagination of contemporary Thais as a sort of golden age of Thai history. The women are presented as models of virtue and exemplary behavior in their relationship with the king. สี่แผ่นดิน [Four Reigns]. Page 9 . องค์การสื่อสารมวลชน แห่งประเทศไทย. 2005. Says Hong Lysa of the nature of a number of essays on palace women featured in the contemporary Thai popular history magazine Sinlapawatthanatham: ‘What is understated… is the power that. VCD เสนอโดยสภากาชาดไทย. and there is a correspondingly broad market in Thailand for accounts of the Inner Palace. where King Chulalongkorn figures as the hero of what is seen as an era of successful Siamese self-modernization. these popular works on life within the palace align with a highly conservative. gender-biased. Kittiphong Wirotthamakun’s In the Crystal Palace (2002).12 For the most part. และบริษัท ทูแฮนส์ จำกัด. and of course (former Thai prime minister) Kukrit Pramote’s historical novel. and above all royalist celebration of the Chakri monarchs. The Siamese Palace in Thai Literature and Historiography Chapter 1 Life within the palace walls has been and continues to be a topic of popular fascination among contemporary Thais.” 13 Thus. which has also been made into a Thai television miniseries (most recently in 2004). the best-known are Chunlada Phakdiphumin’s Around the Palace (1992). this popular genre 12 Kukrit Pramote. as the Inner Palace grew to its largest – nearly 150 consorts and wives – during Chulalongkorn’s forty-two-year reign (1868-1910). ibid. This era understandably provides the most fodder for this genre of popular history.1b. 1998). Prayut Sitthipan’s Love in the Royal Court of the Fifth Reign (2000). The vast majority of these accounts focus on the Fifth Reign. . Four Reigns (transl. Of these Thai-language works.

the roles played by royal women still remain poorly understood in western scholarship. enslaved and without agency. A few Thai scholars have recently produced theses which are making a start in this direction: Phonsiri Bunranakhet’s 1997 thesis Nang Nai: Social Life and Roles in Thai Society of the Fifth Reign. or which make any attempt to analyze the social and/or political dynamics at work within the Inner Palace. Sara Miphongit’s 1999 thesis Siamese Court Ladies from the Reign of King Mongkut to King Vajiravudh. the Inner Palace simply could not be regarded as a vector of genuine political power by virtue of its morally degenerate nature. and reifying anachronistic gender stereotypes. The tendency of nineteenth-century Western observers to exoticize and orientalize the Inner Palace was guaranteed to produce a sense of moral indignation and condescension. These works are commendable as the first scholarly attempts to assess the social and political roles of palace women critically. To Western scholars of the nineteenth century. Thus the past decade has seen more critical analysis brought to bear on the subject of palace women. assisted greatly in the perpetuation of the notion of Siamese palace women as members of a harem. Despite the sheer breadth of this category in Thailand. royalist/nationalist viewpoint which underpins most of the popular accounts of the era. These vague notions of the Siamese harem have persisted. that venerable employee of King Mongkut.Woodhouse Chapter 1 recapitulates the dominant narrative of Siamese success in resisting colonization to emerge a modern nation-state. simultaneously eliding the agency and power of royal women. Page 10 . 1851 – 1925. However broad the popular appeal of this literature for Thais. The aforementioned Anna Leonowens. undermining the conservative. Royal Consorts and Wives of Siam. there are few accounts that assess the Inner Palace critically.” and the 2006 publication of Wannaporn Bunyasathit’s earlier thesis.

and their unique role in linking Siam’s peripheries to its center. Page 11 . Thus. Historiography of Lan Na and Thai History To explore the history of Princess Dara Rasami and her homeland. which in many respects is not Thai at all.Woodhouse Chapter 1 allowing even twentieth-century historians to write about Siamese political history without considering the important linkages performed by the women within the Inner Palace. and the changes they experienced over the course of the Fifth Reign. My analysis will suggest that women’s roles within the Inner Palace reveal how the circulation of women traditionally worked via bodies – and how it shifted during the Fifth Reign to a new focus on discourse – to bind together the Siamese polity. Dara Rasami’s life within the Inner Palace also illuminates for us the importance of the circulation of women in the political economy of Siam. Chiang Mai. By making such a claim I aim to undermine the hegemony of nationalist 14 Reynolds (1990).14 A woman like Dara Rasami provides a convenient and unique window on the life and times of Siam’s last (and certainly largest) generation of palace women. throughout Siam’s history. Lysa (1999).1c. is in a sense to re-open a significant aspect of Thai history. Her presence as an ethnic and cultural outsider in the palace additionally raises the question of how many other “foreign” consorts featured in the Inner Palace. a sustained critical analysis of the social and political roles of Siam’s palace women has not yet been attempted in Englishlanguage scholarship. and what these women signified in the context of the Siamese palace. 1. as Hong Lysa and Craig Reynolds have noted. As a princess-consort coming from a neighboring tributary kingdom.

The relationship of Lan Na to this constellation is a crucial factor in shaping its cultural and religious orientation and. Dara Rasami’s story reopens this gap. exposing the hidden differences of Thailand’s distinct regional histories. episodes of Lan Na’s cooperation with the Siamese are co-opted as part of the teleology of Siam’s avoidance of European colonization. Thus in many histories of Thailand as a nation.W. ultimately. Wolters. In these histories. Besides Wyatt’s classic text Thailand: A Short History (1984). which encompasses the history of Lan Na as part of that of Siam. to denote “…networks of relatively isolated but continuously occupied dwelling sites…” 15 Page 12 . which elide the differences and difficulties experienced in Chapter 1 incorporating many parts of Siam’s formerly independent peripheral territories.Woodhouse histories of Thailand. Although from the 1780s onward Siam regarded Lan Na as a largely independent northern tributary whose interests largely aligned with its own. the Lan Na kingdom’s historical economic and cultural links anchor her within a broader constellation of interdependent mandala15 in a northern inland region of mainland Southeast Asia which stretched from Burma to southern China. though Thai- I use the term mandala here in its original sense. and its seamless selftransformation into a modern nation-state. as coined by O. The region labeled “northern Thailand” today was in the past an ethnically and linguistically distinct polity known as Lan Na (which translates literally as “a million rice fields”) with a discrete history of its own – one which included periodic conflicts with the Siamese. few English-language works have devoted themselves exclusively to the history of the region until very recently. its history. and the gap smoothed over. the former sovereignty and independence of Lan Na kings are largely erased.

A. languages and archaeology of the region beginning in the 1960s. a descendant of the Chiang Mai merchant family of the same name. It is now a museum of northern culture on the grounds of the Siam Society in Bangkok. Andrew Turton.B. and livelihoods of the upland and lowland peoples of Lan Na. contributed greatly to the creation and increasing visibility of Lan Na studies as an emerging field of study – especially among anthropologists – in the mid1980s.org/facilities/kamthieng. Hans Penth. in 1898-99: The Yonok Chronicle.html) Ajaan Kraisri (b. The scholarly momentum of Lan Na studies has slowed since it first gained visibility during that seminal era. Gehan Wijeyewardene. (See website: http://www.17 His works.B. 16 Page 13 . religion.siamsociety. p. along with his personal relationships with a number of western scholars like A. This text was the first used to teach ‘northern Thai’ history when Chiang Mai University first began teaching the subject in 1964. with Chiang Mai University (CMU) and Rajaphat University (formerly Chiang Mai Teachers College) as focal sites. the Khamthieng House. At the same time. from Harvard.Woodhouse Chapter 1 language scholarship on the region was first sparked in the mid-twentieth century. The above group of scholars produced a significant body of works focused on the culture. however. Among the Chiang Mai scholars still working on local history. government. (Saraswati 2005. Griswold.16 Arguably the first truly native scholar to provide modern scholarship on Lan Na history and culture was Kraisri Nimmanhaemin. Phraya Phachakitkorachak [Chaem Bunnag]. a successful businessman who earned an M. interest in Lan Na history and culture has experienced something of a local resurgence in northern Thailand. Richard Davis. and culture are such well-known figures as Thanet Charoenmuang (government and political The first recension of Lan Na/northern Thai chronicles was published by a Siamese scholar-administrator. 1912) passed away in 1992. to the Siam Society in 1990. a western-educated businessman whose work for the National Culture Council of Thailand and the Siam Society resulted in some of the first scholarly texts on the arts. Ronald Renard and others. was responsible for the donation of his ancestral family home. 7) 17 Ajaan Kraisri.

bringing out a more comprehensive. the most comprehensive work of history available which focused exclusively on Lan Na was Saraswati Ongsakun’s 1986 Thailanguage work. Saraswati embarked on a major revision and translation of the work. entitled Brawatisat Lan Na (A History of Lan Na). Nonetheless. Independent scholar (and Chiang Mai resident) Ronald 18 Saraswati Ongsakun. 2005. and cultural history. The translations of these chronicles. which drew on her comparative analysis of several different chronicle manuscripts to provide the most comprehensive account of Lan Na history to date. These and other scholars have contributed to a growing body of Thai. a handful of other western scholars also focus on the unique place of Lan Na in studies of the region. CMU). provide essential rescensions of Lan Na historical documents that begin to supplement (and complicate) the picture of Siamese history for western scholars. Page 14 . only the Chiang Mai and Nan chronicles are available in English. A History of Lan Na. Rajaphat University).18 In addition. CMU). Though there are an increasing number of Thai-language translations of northern chronicles. undertaken by David Wyatt and Aroonrat Wichienkieow in the 1990s. CMU). Anan Ganjanapan (economic & environmental history. CMU). Aroonrat Wichienkieow (history. After the initial print run of a thousand copies sold out. English-language version of the text in 2005.(and local-) language scholarship on Lan Na economic. Chiang Mai: Silkworm Books. and Anchalee Singhanetra (geography/sociology. and historians Saraswati Ongsakun (history. they remain fragmentary in terms of informing our understanding of Lan Na regional history as a whole. political. Payap University).Woodhouse Chapter 1 science. Until recently. and Ratanaporn Setrakun (history.

His recent collaboration with anthropologist Andrew Turton. The archival records of the Inner Palace are sparse.T. and the documents which do exist provide extremely limited data on a few isolated pockets of royal life (legal cases and medical care. Methods and Approaches The absence of palace women in the scholarship is due in some part to the challenges which face the researcher attempting this task. The object of this dissertation is thus to draw upon the above works in combination with new archival research and analysis in order to present a new consideration of Lan Na’s political relationship with Siam. See N. an annotated version of The Gold and Silver Road of Trade and Friendship: The McLeod and Richardson Diplomatic Missions to Tai States in 1837. There are several possible reasons for this While Hong Lysa and Tamara Loos have mined the documents on palace judicial cases fruitfully. German historian Volker Grabowsky has also published a number of excellent articles in the Journal of the Siam Society and elsewhere.2 Materials. More recently. the archival files on illness and death amongst palace women of the Fifth Reign could provide a scholar of the 19 history of medicine in Thailand with enough material for a fascinating thesis.5 ว.A. R5. provides contemporary scholars with a rare western traveler’s snapshot of Chiang Mai and Lan Na culture in the early nineteenth century. Page 15 . which continue to fill the lacunae in English-language historical scholarship on Lan Na. กระทรวงวัง. เบ็ดเตล็ด. and Dara Rasami’s particular significance to this formulation in the later nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.Woodhouse Chapter 1 Renard has published a number of articles focused on aspects of Lan Na culture and history since the 1970s.99.19 The habit of keeping personal diaries and daily journals so common among Western royal figures in the same era was not practiced by Siamese royals. ร. in particular). 1. I will also examine the role of marital alliance in shaping this relationship.

1998. Sulak. a niece of King Chulalongkorn. such personal accounts could actually have been dangerous for palace women to keep. Another important source is oral history: interviews with surviving palace ladies and other royal descendants. critiques and complaints to oneself. Four Reigns. textiles. who was interviewed by prominent Thai social critic Sulak Sivarak. Chiang Mai. or in the context of historical fiction (such as Kukrit Pramote’s Four Reigns20). Given the high status of the inhabitants of the Inner Palace. museum collections. Many details of life within the Inner Palace can be found in memoirs of women who lived and worked there.. like Mom Chao Jong Jitra Thanom Diskul. [Thailand]: Silkworm Books. I suspect that the cultural importance of being “up-to-date” results in the irrelevance of the past. which are memorial volumes published in conjunction with an individual’s funerary events. This is where rumors become especially important: as anonymous reservoirs of memory which could circulate freely without consequence to their originators. 20 21 Page 16 . Bangkok: Khlet Thai Ltd. Tulachandra. 1986.Woodhouse Chapter 1 absence: while illiteracy or inconvenience could be the culprit. It simply may have been safer to keep one’s secrets. Sivarak.21 Last but not least. By S. many of which reside outside the walls of the traditional archive. rather than risk that written words fall into the wrong hands. Cremation volumes. To construct a comprehensive picture of the social world of the Fifth Reign’s Inner Palace requires the scholar to draw data from a broader range of source materials. are another source of accounts of life inside the palace. due to their royal subject matter.Includes an Appendix of Her and Her Father [Prince Damrong]. Sivarak . and photographs (of which there are many for the Fifth Reign) Kukrit Pramoj. Interview With Mom Chao Jongjitrathanom Diskul. and a consequent devaluation of the act of recording the minutiae of daily life. however. transl.

Thus each chapter is followed by an Appendix of maps and images which are referenced in the preceding chapter. Thus the research for this dissertation has drawn from a wider sort of archive. I utilize the notion of the Inland Constellation of city-states in order to escape from the Bangkok-centric notion of Chiang Mai (and its neighboring polities) as “northern.to late-nineteenth century. and the anxiety caused by European colonial Page 17 .” as they are only so in relation to the (southern) Siamese capital.” I attempt to include as many visual images as possible to aid the reader in imagining the space and environment of the Siamese palace afresh. The resulting marital alliance of Dara Rasami and King Chulalongkorn. Chapter Two begins by familiarizing the reader with the geography and early history of Lan Na as part of a greater Inland Constellation of city-states between Burma and northern Vietnam. 1. Lan Na’s loyalties to Siam came into question as Britain consolidated its colonial presence in Burma. bringing together written. In keeping with my use of a broader cultural “archive. and Burmese loggers increasingly conflicted with Lan Na’s rulers.3 Chapter Themes and Arguments Following this introductory chapter. The background elucidated in this chapter is intended to demonstrate Lan Na’s cultural. oral and visual “documents” to construct a cultural history of the Fifth Reign. intended to cement the political relationship between Lan Na and Siam. geographic and economic distinctiveness in contrast to that of Siam. At that time. The emergence of rumors that the Queen of England wanted to adopt the young Lan Na princess – Dara Rasami – prompted the Siamese king to make an offer of engagement to Dara’s family. and set the scene for the events of the mid. illustrates the contingency of the historical moment.Woodhouse Chapter 1 provide another tremendous resource for the cultural historian of this era.

Woodhouse Chapter 1 encroachment in the region surrounding Siam. In Chapter Three. Chiang Mai.” and the mapping technologies by which Siam’s political landscape was re-shaped during the Fifth Reign. Thailand & Southeast Asian ed. Chapter Three examines Dara Rasami’s career in the world of Siam’s Inner Palace. The chapter closes with Dara Rasami’s arrival in Bangkok and entrance to palace service in 1886. the real political power relationships created and expressed within Siam’s Inner Palace were largely invisible to Western eyes. In reality. in which the peripheries were represented quite literally by women’s bodies. This metaphor also speaks to Thongchai’s notion (from Siam Mapped) of the “geo-body. and the idea that high status equated to invisibility in the See Thongchai Winichakul.” in which value accrues via circulation and movement (or the restriction thereof). I intend this notion to animate the idea that pre-modern Thai statecraft depended on a currency of human bodies – particularly those of palace women – as an important part of its political economy. Thailand: Silkworm Books. the palace-within-the-palace where the king’s wives and consorts lived. Seen as an oriental odalisque. 1994. I utilize a metaphor based very loosely upon Marx’s theory of money: the notion of the “circulation of bodies. 22 Page 18 . This female-only environment. Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of a Nation. which was off-limits to the male Westerners of the time. was assumed to be a harem in the same sense as those of Ottoman Turkey or Mughal India. the Inner Palace represented the physical expression of the king’s political reach: a microcosm of the polity. I explore the notions of circulation and social currency which governed the seclusion of elite women.22 I problematize that characterization by showing that the bodies of palace women – and Dara Rasami in particular – continued to function as political currency throughout the Fifth Reign era.

in the early twentieth century. I posit that Dara Rasami performed the role of an “Other within” Siamese elite society.” Here I utilize Spivak’s notion of strategic Page 19 . the Inner Palace represented a cultural crucible within which Siamese culture was produced. Here I also consider Dara Rasami’s social and political importance. and through different gestural forms. Dara Rasami’s early palace career reflects the politically central role played by such provincial consorts. Chapter Four explores the various ways in which Dara Rasami performed ethnic difference within the palace in her later career: in particular. against which notions of cultural hierarchy could be formulated. At the same time. particularly in terms of space and proximity to the king himself. I also consider the various ways in which her life (and that of the Lan Na ladies-in-waiting of her household) in the palace was shaped by the distinctly Siamese customs that informed the culture of the Inner Palace. and how her life in the palace – as a hostage for her home kingdom’s loyalty – ultimately depended upon Siam’s king himself. As the Siamese worldview aspired to “modern” notions of the hierarchy of civilizations – or siwilai – Dara Rasami provided an immediately accessible elite nonSiamese Other. her participation in dance-drama productions. through her hairstyle and dress. Dara’s experiences demonstrate that palace women’s roles in elite culture took on new meaning in creating and expressing notions of siwilai. Even as her own value as a political pawn declined towards the end of the nineteenth century. As the highest stratum of Siamese elite society. she retained enough agency to “write back” against Siamese discourses of her “Lao-ness.Woodhouse Chapter 1 traditional Siamese worldview. or the Siamese hierarchy of civilizations. Through such cultural expressions as a Siamized Madame Butterfly.

Thus. 1925-1935). Within a single generation after King Chulalongkorn’s death. Page 20 . Rama VII. and the nearly twenty years between her retirement to Chiang Mai in 1914 and her death in 1933. as Siamese politics became “modern. A brief look at Dara’s later life and activities in Chiang Mai reveals her ongoing interest in growing and maintaining elements of Lan Na’s cultural and economic uniqueness. This chapter traces the final years of Dara Rasami’s life at Suan Dusit palace following King Chulalongkorn’s death in 1910. This chapter also deals with how Dara Rasami has figured in popular memory in Chiang Mai in the decades since her death. After 1932. Lan Na and its people. when Siam became a constitutional monarchy.” and royal polygyny was phased out.Woodhouse Chapter 1 essentialism to explain how Dara’s discourses ultimately improved her own status as well as popular Siamese perceptions of her homeland. polygyny had fallen out of vogue with Siam’s monarchs (beginning with King Prajatiphok. This ambiguity has affected how her memory has been maintained (or not) in contemporary Chiang Mai. the new political system provided no equivalent new spaces for women to participate. While one would imagine that Dara would be considered an insider figure – as a member of Chiang Mai’s old royalty – the many years she spent in Bangkok appear to have rendered her a cultural outsider after her return in 1914. which are traced in Chapter Five. and the many activities she pursued to promote the cultural. and no equivalent generation of consorts arose to follow them. Strategic essentialism also assists in understanding the events of Dara’s later life. elite Siamese women suffered a great loss of political – if not social – currency. As the consorts of Dara’s generation lived out their days secluded in their residences. palace women faded from Siam’s political scene. educational and agricultural interests of Chiang Mai’s people. The political fortunes of Siam’s elite women were subject to a similarly ambiguous fate.

This analysis of Dara Rasami’s political and cultural roles as a consort during Siam’s Fifth Reign aspires to do more than simply “put a woman into history. this analysis of Dara Rasami’s life and career provides fresh historical perspectives on the regional history of Southeast Asia. and the role of the Inner Palace as a crucial intersection of the two.” Rather. ibid.”23 23 Wolters. their social value has not: the surnames of their royal descendants continue to dominate the high-society pages of Bangkok’s newspapers and magazines today. Thus Dara Rasami’s career illuminates anew the history – of Southeast Asia and beyond – “into which women are put. Siam’s political history. Page 21 .Woodhouse Chapter 1 Though their political cachet has declined.

A traditional form of Siamese dance-drama. Iem. or self-governing territory. A form of punishment in the palace judicial system. used universally for members of Lan Na royalty. Name of a trouser-like. this form was updated into lakhon rong (sung drama) and lakhon ram. who lived/worked in the outer (or Front) palace. lakhon – Lan Chang (Lan Xang) Meaning “A million elephants. whose capital was Chiang Mai. A member of the all-female guard corps of the Inner Palace. chao chom – chao chom manda – chaofa – chongkrabaen – dit sanom – fai na – fai nai – klone – “Kok Oh” – Official title of a Siamese consort (in the Inner Palace) with no children.” This was the nickname for the four youngest Bunnag sisters – Aab. During the reign of King Chulalongkorn. chao ba.Woodhouse Appendix 1: Glossary of Frequently Used Thai Terms in this Text anachak – Bunnag – chao – A territorial domain. Term denoting a male member of the Siamese administration or royal family. used for all other king’s children). Chapter 1 Important family of Persian origin. with a long history of political and marital ties to Siam’s royal family. chao bannok – Literally “forest person” and “person from outer village” respectively. They were so called because their names all began with the Siamese vowel อ (“Oh aung”).” this term denoted the northern Lao kingdoms of Viengchan and Luang Prabang. Honorific title. Official title of a Siamese consort with one or more children. wrapped fabric garment worn by both men and women in nineteenth-century Siam. Term denoting either the female inhabitants or the physical area of the innermost level of the palace. Literally “the Oh Group.” This term denotes the area ruled by the Chao Chet Ton dynasty. Title reserved for children of the king by a woman of royal blood (as opposed to phra ong chao. and Uen – who were consorts to King Chulalongkorn. Lan Na’s territory now constitutes the northern Thai provinces of Page 22 . Erb. now Laos. similar to house arrest. Lan Na/Lanna – Literally “A million [rice] fields. These terms were used to distinguish Siamese “others” from Bangkok elites within the framework of siwilai.

Mahat Thai – mandala – muang – phasin – phra ong chao – prathet sarat – siwilai – Suan Dusit – tamnak – teen-jok – uparat – yokkrabat – Vimanmek – Page 23 . Literally “Castle in the Clouds. Term used by both Siam and Lan Na for the rank “second king. worn by Lan Na women. Denotes a skirt-like. Neighboring but sovereign kingdom paying tribute to Siam.Woodhouse Chapter 1 Chiang Mai. including Chiang Mai and Laos. Title used for king’s children born to non-royal consorts.” Name of the large. Translating to “Celestial Garden. Palace ministry of the Royal Pages Corps. Chiang Rai. Used by the Lan Na and Thai people to describe a city or town and the neighboring villages it controlled. luntaya – Mahat Lek – A wave-like weaving pattern used in Burmese and Lan Na textiles.” siwilai was a set of discourses through which Siamese elites re-ordered their worldview along the lines of European notions of a hierarchy of civilizations. Lamphun. Siamese term denoting “palace residence. and Mae Hong Son. A Thai-language adaptation of “civilization. above. who were responsible for communications and other clerical tasks in the Middle and Outer Palace. Coined by Oliver Wolters to describe the nature of Southeast Asian polities. Relates to mandala. Ministry of “the interior” which informally became the ministry dealing with Siamese administration of the northern territories. wrap-around textile worn on the lower body. Phayao. with power radiating outwards towards vaguely defined peripheries.” Term denoting a Siamese administrator in a provincial post.” Lan Na term denoting the intricately woven textile making up the bottom third of the phasin skirt. Phrae. and their typical orientation towards a city center. The Mahat Lek provided the major gateway to palace careers for males of noble and royal families. multi-story house built of golden teakwood located in Dusit Palace grounds. Lamphang. Nan. sometimes overlapping with neighboring mandala.” Dusit was the new palace northeast of the “old” palace in the Rattanakosin district. traditionally worn by women of the Lan Na territories.

To understand the significance the history and culture of Lan Na requires the scholar to supplement – and to some extent “write back” against – the dominant narrative of Siamese/Thai history. Thenceforth. I should seize those domains which have not submitted and bring them into the orbit of my power… – Wyatt & Aroonrut1 This chapter will explore the historical and cultural context which gives meaning to Dara Rasami’s later role as a political link between Siam and Lan Na. fearless…a veritable lion. “My country is truly newly founded. Constituting Lan Na: Environment. 1 Page 24 . and recontextualize its regional role in relation to the waxing and waning of other regional “polestar” states. The land was unstable. China. and has few people. To the south there were tigers. as there was no lord or ruler to take charge. this chapter will provide a brief historical sketch of the Lan Na kingdom. Thailand: Silkworm Books. the king was endowed with great majesty. Chiang Mai. to the north were elephants. all wild and overgrown. The sovereign king of the great and glorious capital of Ayutthiya Dvaravati [Bangkok]… issued a royal order granting full authority to a king to come and rule over Chiang Mai. Beginning with a short survey of the region’s geographical and ethnographical landscape. To this end. there were but few leaders and few followers.Woodhouse Chapter 2. valorous. The ways in which culture and kinship informed Lan Na’s politics will be discussed. including Burma. as well as the structure of Lan Na’s ruling classes relative to the rest of its society. He was an expert in warfare. all of Lan Na Chiang Mai was in chaos: villages and fields were deserted. and Siam. David K. and Aroonrut Wichienkeeo. 1998. this chapter also aims to provide the reader with a basic understanding of Lan Na’s cultural and political distinctiveness from Siam. Culture and History Chapter 2 At that time. Wyatt. He thought. The Chiang Mai Chronicle.

Chulalongkorn. the nineteenth century brought increasing division among Lan Na’s elites. and Lan Na’s princess Dara Rasami. and 3) the use of familial Page 25 . The skyrocketing value of the teak trade with Burma. Two examples of this will play important roles in this narrative: King Kawilorot’s rumored friendliness with Burma in the 1860s. One important part of Siam’s efforts to formally reassert its suzerainty over Lan Na was the arrangement of a new marital alliance between Siam’s king.to latenineteenth century. Several themes will recur in this chapter: 1) the difficulty of political consolidation and control in Lan Na. these tensions were often expressed in the form of rumor. sorely challenged the loyalties of Lan Na’s ruling elites to Siam. and the rumors circulated in the mid-1870s regarding Queen Victoria’s interest in adopting princess Dara Rasami. and how they led to increasing conflicts with Siam.Woodhouse Chapter 2 This information will in turn serve as background to the chapter’s main focus: the significant historical events and changes in Lan Na over the course of the mid. Though the leaders of Lan Na traditionally embraced policies which bound the kingdom through family bonds. recently fallen under British rule. they also prompted Siam’s efforts to bring Lan Na under tighter control in the latter decades of the nineteenth century. 2) the prevalence of multiple or graduated sovereignty among these inland polities. coupled with a series of disastrous mid-century military interventions by the Siamese. To minimize Lan Na’s exposure to Siamese retaliation. As European involvement in mainland Southeast Asia began to accelerate during this period. particularly Lan Na. new tensions arose between Siam and several of its tributary vassal states. due to geographic and demographic factors. Such rumors of defection and disloyalty had a dual effect: while they netted Lan Na’s elites gains in status and promotions from the Siamese elites in Bangkok.

” muang and mandala in his seminal text.” which denotes the polities’ inland location and landlocked status. New York: Cambridge University Press.Woodhouse Chapter 2 connection. These mandala. I propose a new label: the “Inland Constellation. the particular political and environmental challenges of this physical landscape produced a cohesive Tambiah elaborates the concepts of the “galactic polity.]. Cambridge [Eng. and the pull of neighboring states. Whether or not geography is destiny. and the satellite polities – or muang 3– under their control were linked by commonalities of geography.”2 This grouping is intended to provide a convenient shorthand for a shifting group of city-states. 1976. and 4) Lan Na’s deployment of rumor as a means of exercising political influence in Siam. and references Stanley J. 3 I will follow Tambiah’s usage of the term muang. which “…refers to centered or center-oriented space (as opposed to bounded space) and typically stands for a capital or town or settlement with the surrounding territory over which it exercised jurisdiction. whose peripheries often overlapped. from the Pinyin) in China’s Yunnan province. As this region is “northern” only in terms of its spatial relationship to Bangkok. fluctuating with the waxing and waning of the political strength of capital cities at their centers. as the dominant means of establishing political alliances and loyalties amongst neighboring polities within the Inland Constellation. Tambiah’s notion of the “galactic polity. 2. here I will attempt to “write against the grain” of Thai history.1 Environmental and Cultural Background of Lan Na Since the dominant nationalist Thai historiography depicts the history of Lan Na only as part of the larger story of the construction of the Thai state.” (112) 2 Page 26 . northern Thailand. This area has at one time or another included parts of what is today upper Burma. re-framing Lan Na’s history and culture within the context of the surrounding inland region. particularly via marital alliance. or mandala. and northern Laos. economy and religion. Sipsong Panna (or Xixuang Banna. World Conqueror and World Renouncer: A Study of Buddhism and Polity in Thailand Against a Historical Background.

Lan Na’s historical territory comprises the eight northernmost provinces of Thailand today: Chiang Mai. The Ping River was used by the Chiang Mai nobles (and Jao Dara Rasami) in their semi-annual travels between Chiang Mai and Bangkok. Page 27 . Thailand: Silkworm Books. However. including: 1) proximity to a large river. Chiang Rai. Phayao. Phrae. and a host of tributaries to the Chao Phraya River in the west. 2005. travel and communications in the region. and 3) the presence of a mountain 4Saraswati Ongsakun. thickly forested mountain ranges interspersed with narrow. the terrain rises sharply to high. which provides a continuous waterway between Chiang Mai and Bangkok (during the rainy season). and Sandy Barron.5 The mountainous terrain provided rich resources for both hunter-gatherers and small-scale agriculturists. Lampang. Translated by Chitraporn Tanratanakul. These geographic factors made it essential for settlers to choose sites which could remain largely self-sufficient for much of the year. and Mae Hong Son. (See Illustration 2. 2) quality soil for cultivation. Lamphun. A city-positioning technology called chaiyaphum evolved to codify the ideal features of a new city’s location. Yom. 5 These rivers include the Nan. China and Siam. ed. Wang. transl. acting as vectors for trade. and Ping River. Dolina W Millar. editors. Nan. flat river valleys.1 for a historical map of the region. it also made overland travel difficult and slow-going. These north-south mountain ranges are extensions of the Yunnan mountain range of southern China and the eastern Himalayas.Woodhouse Chapter 2 cultural environment highly distinct from (though sometimes influenced by) those of Burma. and even movement on the waterways was largely limited to the rainiest months of the year (typically July through December).4 The physical characteristics of the Inland Constellation’s terrain are markedly different from those of central Thailand.) Starting north of today’s city of Sukhothai. The snowmelt waters winding through these ranges flow into the Mekong River to the east. History of Lan Na. 13. Chiang Mai.

translating to “a million rice fields. 6 This city orientation. 1450-1680. 17. 4 November (1992): 797-823. meaning “land of a million elephants. most Lan Na village economies depended on the exchange of local crops and goods with nearby towns. Chiang Saen and Phayao. New Haven: Yale University Press. 1988. Despite the mountainous terrain separating them. The kingdom’s name. shared by Chiang Mai. As Katherine Bowie notes. Such flows oriented Lan Na’s cultural and economic exchanges toward a markedly inland sphere. Saraswati. Lan Na. Katherine. from crafts and textiles to religious concepts and practices.Woodhouse Chapter 2 to the west. Lan Xang (or Lan Chang). Such trade facilitated a continual flow of cultural and religious elements among the towns of the Inland Constellation. Lan Na’s small river valley communities were necessarily connected to each other via trade.” Journal of Asian Studies.” a la Anthony Reid’s formulation9). 8 See Bowie. “Unraveling the Myth of the Subsistence Economy: Textile Production in Nineteenth Century Thailand.8 In reality. but also provided villagers with higher ground – the safety of the nearby sacred mountain – in the event of periodic floods. was sparsely populated in comparison to the flatlands of the Chao Phraya River basin further south surrounding the historical Siamese capitals of Ayutthaya and Bangkok. no. versus the markedly maritime orientation of the Siamese entrepot-kingdoms of Ayutthaya and Bangkok (which we could think of as part of a “Maritime Constellation. refers to the many rice-growing valleys claimed by the polity. Southeast Asia in the Age of Commerce. the self-sufficient northern village was largely mythical. 6 7 Page 28 . 9 Reid.” Saraswati. Anthony.”7 The environment of these riverine highlands and valleys. 15. The term Lan Na can be seen as a parallel to the name of the old Lao kingdom. while resource-rich. reflects the ideal Lan Na environment: one which supplied enough water for settled rice-agriculture on the valley floor. as well as seasonal visits by overland caravans traveling between Burma and China.

themselves ethnically Yuan. Lue Yuan and Lawa. Today it is known by local residents as phasaa muang (“muang language”). 11 The language of the Yuan ruling elite was also adopted by the multi-ethnic khon muang. although central Thai has been the official language in the region since the 1930s. and it is still widely spoken.1. Though resettled groups’ linguistic and ethnic heritage was never entirely erased. Forbes & Henley’s Khon Muang: People and Principalities of Northern Thailand. or kham muang (“muang words”).10 Though these (and other) distinct ethnic groups are still present in the area. which distinguished the residents of Lan Na cities from their upland counterparts. and Karen. which arose in the mid- For more complete consideration of the qualitative cultural differences between these groups and their historical origins. town or city). This supra-ethnic category emerged in the early nineteenth century as Lan Na’s rulers. and thus outside the scope of a discussion of Lan Na’s historical ethnicities. allowed for considerable ethnic differentiation amongst its upland peoples. 10 Page 29 .11 As a layered identity which allowed relocated highland peoples to retain elements of their ethnic distinctiveness. khon muang came to denote a shared identity amongst Lan Na lowland city and village dwellers over decades of intermarriage and exchange. Among the groups historically found in the region are the familiar names of the Mon. Founding Figures and Family Rule Though the region has long been settled by the aforementioned groups. Akha. it was subsumed under the khon muang identity. “people of the muang. the first significant polity was the Buddhist city-state of Hariphunchai. 2. and most recently Hanks & Hanks’s Tribes of the North Thailand Frontier. coupled with its sparse population.” a muang being a village. such as the Khoen.Woodhouse Chapter 2 The steep terrain of Lan Na’s mountainous environment. Please note that the Hmong and Mien were later arrivals to the region. Shan. as well as a host of other lesser-known groups. attempted to forge a coherent identity for an ethnically multifarious population recently resettled from the hinterlands. please see Seidenfaden’s The Thai Peoples. for our purposes the most important category of Lan Na identity is that of khon muang (lit.a.

Hariphunchai represented the northernmost point of the Mon empire of Lawo (or Lopburi). Santa Barbara.13 stories of her Buddhist piety and cleverness in dispatching undesired suitors/conquerors persist in local culture. 1998. 13 Since the earliest chronicle of the period. from Angkor Wat to East Timor. From there. Ngern Yang’s king Mangrai (ca. was only written down in the late fourteenth century. Though little contemporary evidence remains of its mythical founder. 99. and the debate as to the historicity of the person of the Queen. NY: State University of New York Press. The Legend of Queen Cama: Bodhiramsi's Camadevivamsa.14 Between the weakening of the kingdom of Pagan in upper Burma by Mongol invasions. The tale of how she arranged a marriage between her twin sons and the daughters of a neighboring rival king foreshadow the important role of marital alliance and familial rule in the later Lan Na kingdom. Calif: ABC-CLIO. SUNY series in Buddhist studies. Bodhiramsi. 1239-1311) conquered the declining regional center of Hariphunchai and founded a new capital at Chiang Mai in 1292.Woodhouse Chapter 2 eighth century. a Translation and Commentary. Pages 19-22 give a full discussion of the questions surrounding this manuscript’s production. Albany. p. 2004: Southeast Asia: A Historical Encyclopedia. allowing the king of Ngern Yang (a kingdom based at Chiang Saen) to expand southward. Hariphunchai remained a sacred mandala center whose religious significance endured for the Lan Na dynasties that followed. a power vacuum opened in the area stretching from northern Thailand to eastern Burma. Angkor. it is unclear whether Hariphunchai had direct links to Angkor. The founding of the first Lan Na empire arose within a web of relations between the three major political players in the region at the end of the thirteenth century: Burma. the Chamadevi Vamsa. Queen Chamathewi. He then proceeded to consolidate control Lopburi was the site of early Mon/Dvaravati culture before the Khmer influences of the ninth to eleventh centuries. See Donald Swearer and Sommai Premchit.12 Even after the Lawo empire’s decline in the eleventh century. Located on the site of what is today the town of Lamphun. and China. and the decline of Angkor. Vol. 12 Page 30 . it is impossible to determine whether Queen Chamadevi existed. See entry for “Lopburi (Lawo)” on page 793 of Keat Gin Ooi. 14 Saraswati.

The reader may recognize the first as the eponymous author of the Ramkhamhaeng Inscription. King Ramkhamhaeng's Inscription: A Historical Art Analysis. king of Phayao. and Piriya’s theory as to its role in modern Thai nation-building. and were said to have shared a genial friendship. 29. included the villages of the northerly Chiang Rai basin and later Nan.]. Bangkok: [n. Sukhothai and Phayao joined forces with Lan Na to defeat the invading Mongols. 2004. 15 Page 31 . Mangrai was able to repel the Mongol invaders that had laid waste to southern China on their way to upper Burma. for a recent challenge to the authenticity of this inscription. Thus emerged the first iteration of Lan Na empire. whose capital was Phayao. expanding into Lampang and Chapter 2 commanding tribute from the neighboring Thai Lue. 18 Ibid. With their help. was located midway between Lan Na and the growing Siamese polity of Ayutthaya.17 In 1287. the king of Sukothai. and This inscription features the famous description of Sukhothai as a prosperous. eastern Shans. 16 Sukhothai and Ayutthaya were in growing competition and conflict over the course of the later fourteenth and fifteenth centuries.” See Piriya Krailerk.16 The mandala of king Ngam Muang. According to Lan Na chronicles. 17 Saraswati.p. and the Lao at Luang Prabang. Sukhothai’s capital city. Mangrai could not have established – much less expanded – the new kingdom without an alliance with two nearby rulers: Ramkhamhaeng.18 In the face of their vigorous resistance in upper Burma and Chiang Mai (and the inconveniently timed death of Kublai Khan in 1294) the Mongols withdrew. Phitsanulok. and Ngam Muang.Woodhouse over the remaining polities in the Ping River valley. and ruler of Sukhothai. peaceful kingdom with “fish in the rivers/ and rice in the fields. Ramkhamhaeng and Ngam Muang had known each other as youths educated in the monasteries of Lopburi.15 A former Angkorean outpost whose Mon-Khmer population had melded with an influx of Tai settlers.

No. alliances were re-configured from one generation to the next. only the king at the center (Chiang Mai) could appoint the new rulers of satellite muang. and their old allies died off. 19 20 Page 32 . 1984: “Northern Thai Succession and the Search for Matriliny. Thailand: Silkworm Books. 285 . 58. Thus.19 Given the success of this alliance. In addition to arranging his own marriages to a number of local women to consolidate his local authority. 4. See Thongchai Winichakul. bringing the loyalties of the satellite city into alignment with his capital at the center. Mangrai also arranged marital alliances between his sons and the daughters of neighboring kings. the peripheries of the Lan Na mandala were always in flux. In addition to the abovementioned “three kings” alliance. 72. 21 This pattern of “out-marriage” of royal sons to the daughters of local nobles is consistent with Lan Na’s cultural pattern of matrilocality. 14. however. 1994.” Mankind Vol. were difficult to maintain over generations. and paid tribute to states it considered superior in the regional hierarchy. Also see Gehan Wijeyewardene. As muang evolved local interests that were at odds with those of the capital. Chiang Mai. Siam Mapped: A History of the Geo-Body of A Nation. and the many tributary relationships that Lan Na utilized. By reserving this authority at Chiang Mai.21 Though the royal families of each city retained local status and prestige. we can see early Lan Na as situated solidly within a system of “multiple sovereignties”(as described by Thongchai Winichakul):20 A state which commanded tribute from weaker polities. forged political and military alliances with its equals. Such family alliances. Mangrai’s rule is known for promoting a style of rulership which depended on familial connection. and ever vulnerable to the ambitions of Saraswati. and would be utilized by later Lan Na rulers as well (which will be seen later in this chapter).Woodhouse Chapter 2 Lan Na agreed to send tribute to China.292. the Lan Na king could maintain the loyalty of local rulers despite the geographical obstacles to quick communication and the movement of troops.

the ruling elites of troublesome Lan Na cities were often deported wholesale to Burma. 105. sandwiched between Lan Na and the growing Siamese capital of Ayutthaya. With each local ruler cut off from the support of others in the network. Under Burmese rule. 2. leaving Lan Na on its own in fending off increasingly irresistible challenges from the Burmese. growing both in population and territorial reach over the following hundred years. allowing the Burmese to divide and rule. Lan Na became desirable to the Burmese as a northern base for their incursions into central Siam. soon became vulnerable. As hostilities between the ascendant kingdoms of Ayutthaya and Ava (northern Burma) flared in the sixteenth century. Page 33 . no one muang could amass enough power to challenge Burmese suzerainty. Lao or even Viet rulers.2 Rebuilding Lan Na’s Population and Economy: 1775 . Sukhothai had fallen to Ayutthaya’s greater military might. the Burmese took advantage of political instability in Lan Na to colonize the region. which they continued to rule indirectly for the following 200 years. Sukhothai. The three kingdoms alliance prospered at first.22 By the fifteenth century.Woodhouse Chapter 2 neighboring Shan. Whatever noble families remained in the various Lan Na cities were not permitted to intermarry.1850 The conquest of Chiang Mai in 1565 marked the start of a 200-year period in Lan Na history which is best understood as one of indirect colonial rule and cultural continuity. Nonetheless. and the alliance of the three kingdoms fell apart after a few generations. in the 1560s. This policy effectively undermined the old networks of marital and kinship ties between the numerous muang. the hold of these 22 Saraswati. Finally.

with control very loose in the other outlying muang of Nan. their efforts to impose cultural changes upon the people of Lan Na were felt to be increasingly oppressive by the mid-eighteenth century. arranged for his sister. to marry the Siamese noble Chao Phraya Surasi (whose older brother later became the first Chakri king). Thus when Lan Na’s Chao Kawila made overtures to Siam’s general Taksin. and. he rapidly sent troops to assist them in Chiang Mai and Lampang.23 Following their victories. and Lampang. The Siamese had themselves attempted to capture Chiang Mai in 1770. 130. Sri Anocha. 24 This alliance would serve to promote the reputation of Lan Na well. as Sri Anocha is credited with personally leading the suppression of the rebellion of Phraya San of Cambodia towards the end of the Thonburi period. In gratitude. instead crediting Phraya Chakri’s troops and leadership.Woodhouse Chapter 2 colonials was strongest in Chiang Mai and Chiang Saen. Saraswati. Lan Na’s leaders. to preclude further Burmese attacks on Siam. around the same time. ignores Kawila’s role in the victories.24 After The Siamese version of these events – as written in Prince Damrong’s Siam’s Wars with Burma (1977) 483485. Chao Kawila and Cha Ban of Lampang. Thus the re-establishment of Lan Na was co-opted to become part of the founding narrative of the Siamese nationstate. Though the Burmese overlordship of Lan Na was largely confined to the uppermost levels of rulership. Chao Kawila and his six brothers were promoted by Taksin to positions of official rulership. marking the start of the new Chao Chet Ton (“Seven Lords”) dynasty in Lan Na. Kawila gave his niece as a consort to general Taksin. approached the Siamese as their best option to successfully oust their Burmese overlords. 23 Page 34 . With this opening. The growing unrest amongst Lan Na’s people found expression in sporadic rebellions on the peripheries. See Grabowsky (1994) for further discussion of this issue. Phrae. but a vastly depleted local population. but it was only when the Burmese faced Chinese invasions to their territory in 1771 that Lan Na’s remaining nobles were able to oust the local Burmese official from Chiang Mai.

which Wyatt describes as being “more like a principality” of Siam. more closely integrated into the Siamese system than nominal tributaries like those in the Malay peninsula or the Lao kingdoms. as the Lao periodically did to China and Vietnam. Vol. The Siamese divided these mandala into four types. from the outermost of Siam’s peripheries to the center at Bangkok. At the same time. etc. Having suffered decades of warfare and wholesale deportation of its populace. See Kenneth Landon’s 1944 article. however. however. and thus the king of all Lan Na. Ibid. who made Kawila the king of Chiang Mai. Kawila and his brothers were further promoted by King Rama I. by “working from the outer layers inward.” that is. while the sultanates of Kedah and Trengganu had paid tribute to Malacca and Johore and later. “Thailand’s Struggle for national Security. Great Britain. and required several years of rebuilding before Kawila could take up residence there once again. 158. 1944). Lan Na was ranked a third-circle polity. their status as an ascendant regional center in their own right had been regained. No.).. with a little help from the Siamese. the capital inherited by Kawila was nearly desolate. Bangkok rose as a new polestar state in the region. 5-26. Lan Na. shifting the orientation of the northern constellation once again. Having managed to Wyatt. 4.]: Yale University Press. as Wyatt puts it: “In looking at Rama I’s empire as a whole. 1 (Nov. one of its remarkable features is the large number of power centers that existed. 25 26 Page 35 . In this scheme. With their decisive defeat of the Burmese. David K. Thailand: A Short History. while maintaining control over the many tributary mandala at their peripheries (Lan Xang. New Haven [Conn.Woodhouse Chapter 2 Phraya Chakri assumed the throne in 1782. Phnom Penh. 1984. and the establishment of both a new capital and dynasty. These polities are described as still paying tribute to other states than Siam.” in The Far Eastern Quarterly.26 From Lan Na’s perspective.”25 The ongoing challenge for the fledgling Chakri dynasty would be to keep old enemies like Burma at bay.

anachronistically positing Siam’s strength as a nation. even Siam’s tributary states seemed willing subordinates in a Bangkok-centered world. Siam left Kawila largely to his own devices in the re-population and governance of the core cities of Lan Na at the end of the late eighteenth century. 155. Perhaps the telescope can be turned around. Kawila expressed his gratitude by marrying two of his close female relatives to Siamese royalty.Woodhouse Chapter 2 rally the remaining northern nobility as well as Siamese military assistance to oust the Burmese after 200 years of colonial control. his alliance with the Siamese likely echoed that 27 28 Wyatt (1984). the relationship was symbiotic: Siam depended upon Lan Na to guarantee the security of its northern frontiers. 27 Though this relationship has frequently been characterized as unequal. so to speak. to change our view to Chiang Mai’s perspective. and ignoring the relative vulnerability of Bangkok as a fledgling mandala at that historical moment.”28 However. and the Burmese kingdoms of Ava and Pegu. As Wyatt describes it. I posit that Lan Na’s tributary relationship to Siam was less unequal. nor did it unseat local authority in favor of that of Siam. Ibid. with Chiang Mai pledging annual tribute as well as military support to Siam in time of war. In Kawila’s eyes. Ayutthaya. “By the end of the eighteenth century. than the historiography of the Thai nation-state typically admits. such as Sukhothai. In terms of how earlier Lan Na rulers had responded to similar polestar states in the past.. Page 36 . such a characterization elides the traditional constellation of relations in which such states had operated for centuries. and far more reciprocal. such a tributary relationship was hardly unusual. ibid.

Additionally. and to re-establish 29 30 Saraswati. While Bangkok re-established administrative control over its peripheries. The ceremony marking the “re-founding” of the city in 1796 was timed to coincide with the 500th anniversary of Chiang Mai’s original founding.Woodhouse Chapter 2 of his Lan Na ancestor. King Mangrai.2a. Lan Na was similarly busy rebuilding and re-populating its abandoned capital. there are a few instructive parallels between the two new kingdoms of Lan Na and Siam.29 From the Siamese perspective. the re-founding of Chiang Mai provided an opportunity for Kawila to link his new dynasty directly to that of Mangrai. 2. Lamphun and Lampang. 135-37. Following the destruction of Ayutthaya. Ibid. Siam was rebuilding its capital and cultural base at Bangkok in the 1780s. with the legendary kings of Sukhothai and Phayao in the thirteenth century: a joining of mutual political interests against a common enemy in which reciprocity was strength. At this point in the early nineteenth century. Kawila and his brothers were working to rebuild and re-populate the core cities of Chiang Mai. Kawila was “…determined to revive the north.”30 whose cities and populations had been decimated by the ongoing warfare and deportations of the prior fifty years. an alliance with the newly re-established Lan Na kingdom would provide a strong guarantee of security against future Burmese incursions from the north – the value of which should not be underestimated in our historical assessment. at the same time. Page 37 . and hence the leader of all other Lan Na kings. Chao Chet Ton: Reviving Familial Alliance and Inventing the Khon Muang As king of Chiang Mai.

N. as cited and translated by Volker Grabowsky (1994). and People Into Towns. tigers and bears were living. Nan. it turned into a place where rhinoceroses. and Lauriston Sharp. Essential to rebuilding Lan Na was a process of repopulation and resettlement called “putting people (or slaves) into cities as vegetables into baskets. famine. According to contemporary chronicles: At that time Chiang Mai was depopulated and had become a jungle overgrown by climbing plants. Lucien M Hanks. 1965. including Chiang Mai itself.“Put Vegetables Into Baskets.32 Kawila’s first step to re-populate the city was to persuade several groups who had fled the Burmese to return: some residents who had fled from Chiang Mai to Mae Hong Son in the 1760s. Grabowsky (1994). Thus. 33 Consequently. Jane Richardson Hanks. Ithaca. of Asian Studies.”31 Over the prior hundred years. Cornell University. and sometimes deported entire villages or cities to Burma (as occurred in the 1763 conquest of Chiang Mai). Both kingdoms relied on the security of their alliance in these rebuilding efforts. only enough for building houses to live in and roads to facilitate communication with each other. 59. There were few people [left]. At Kawila’s return. ed. the Burmese had drawn on the populace for use as soldiers in their attacks on Ayutthaya. “…the severe losses of population caused by war. These efforts occurred in three waves: the first See Kraisri Nimanhaemin. many of the core muang of Lan Na were practically depopulated.Woodhouse Chapter 2 Lan Na’s administrative control over its more far-flung territories of Chiang Rai. and some people who had fled from Tak and Lampang to Siam some twenty years before. and Phrae. elephants. there were no opportunities for clearing [the jungle]. 31 32 33 From the ตำนานสิป ห้าราชวง[Fifteen Kingdoms Chronicle]. Kawila embarked on a series of resettlement campaigns to re-populate Lan Na’s cities.Y: Southeast Asia Program. Page 38 . and epidemics could… hardly be compensated for” by voluntary migration. Dept.” In Ethnographic Notes on Northern Thailand. Though this met with some success.

35 To the east. 133. and other “hill-tribe” peoples among the war captives. A number of these settlements.37 According to Grabowsky. 2003. 7 -8. also repopulated their villages with people from Sipsong Panna. which had also sworn allegiance to Siam but was unconnected with Chiang Mai’s ruling elites. but were viewed as people belonging to a greater Lan Na cultural zone. had established their own ties with Bangkok. and would remain independent of Chiang Mai until later in the nineteenth century. due to the relocation of various groups. The Gold and Silver Road of Trade and Friendship : The Mcleod and Richardson Diplomatic Missions to Tai States in 1837. the second from 1798-1804.34 Though some of these efforts began with the Chao Chet Ton rulers sending gifts to the local elites to entice them to relocate their villages. 37 Grabowsky (1994).Woodhouse Chapter 2 from 1783-86. pp. Turton. coupled with the military campaigns against the remaining Burmese outposts in the region conducted by the Kawila and the next two kings of the Chao Chet Ton group.” Saraswati. Thailand: Silkworm Books. and the final wave lasting from 1808-13. Andrew. and their populations scattered over multiple communities to prevent uprisings. more often than not they ended with military forces rounding up people and forcibly moving them to Chiang Mai. and the Tai Yai from the muang of Sat. who had closer ties to Luang Prabang in the east. Lawa. Volker.” since they spoke mutually intelligible dialects and utilized a similar writing system. resulted in an ethnically diverse population. and Phu. 34 35 Page 39 . Nan.36 These campaigns. See Grabowsky. located in and around contemporary Chiang Mai. These groups were allocated land in the outlying areas surrounding the walled center of the capital city. the Khoen of the Chiang Tung area. These included the Lu of Sipsong Panna.38 There were also numbers of Karen. 38 Ibid. still bear place names See Saraswati and Grabowksy (1994) for slightly different periodizations of these “waves. the resettled peoples “were seen by the Yuan not at all as khon tang chat [“foreigners”]. 36 Nan and Phrae. 74. Chiang Mai. Pan.

and subsequently helping the city successfully fight off attacks from Lamphun in 1732. sometimes called “the Vagabond” in the Chiang Mai Chronicle. 137. who often named them for their home village. 76. 41 Wyatt & Aroonrut. and even consulted with their nobles when promulgating new laws. which would have brought further ethnic diversity to the refounded Lan Na kingdom.39 The nobles of some of these communities appear to have maintained their status following their re-settlement. was originally a hunter “…wise and clever at firing guns and arrows”41 who came to power in Lampang after ousting the corrupt ruler there. was ethnically Yuan. 143. though they could not – after so many generations of deportation and warfare – claim a lineage link to Mangrai.40 Saraswati also notes. only Chao Chet Ton nobles were allowed to live within Chiang Mai’s city walls.. According to Saraswati. Nonetheless. however. Kawila and his brothers claimed lineage of a much more recent king of common origins. like that of the earlier Mangrai dynasty of Lan Na. Saraswati. evidence indicates that the Chao Chet Ton clan treated the incoming groups respectfully. Ibid. but I suggest that these nobles most likely intermarried and/or married their daughters to nobles of the Chao Chet Ton clan. Kawila was one of Thipchang’s seven sons (hence the dynastic name of chao chet ton. Saraswati does not offer any explanation as to how this occurred. Thipchang (or Thipchak). that these migrant noble groups appear to have gradually lost their roles through integration with the local people. 39 40 Page 40 . This ruling group.Woodhouse Chapter 2 that reflect the origins of their original inhabitants.

Woodhouse Chapter 2 or seven-part-rulers). The early kings of the Chao Chet Ton dynasty appear to have been well aware of the pitfalls of personal loyalty and factional rivalry that had contributed to the weakness of earlier Lan Na rulers. Chiang Mai. Disaster then followed. The elder should help the younger and the younger the elder. You should consider your royal possessions. younger or elder. The past calamities of Lamphun. rulership of the other central Lan Na cities of Lampang and Lamphun was cycled among 42 Ibid. Hear this advice: the swan with a single body and seven heads will know only discord. Don’t fail to communicate with each other. which were to be combated by a strong. 164-65. gave his recommendations on rulership to the seven sons (and one daughter) entrusted with governing the kingdom: Thenceforth. Whenever any of the eight of you attain status and happiness. and in all you do. Thus you should carefully consider and understand the fate of those domains. As the kingdom was re-established in 1789. Don’t consider others as superior to your siblings. all of them occurred because of discord among siblings and from failure to heed their parent’s good advice. Page 41 . not as your own but rather as your common wealth. Heed carefully your father’s advice and you will avert disaster. your property and wealth. and they could no longer be countries as in days of yore. With Kawila at the head of Lan Na governance as king of the capital city. and oppressed and harmed each other. who together ruled western Lan Na from the capital of Chiang Mai for more than a hundred years. act like one loving individual. Muang Yong and Nan. and because they vied for the royal wealth of the country. share these.. Chai Kaeo. [Chiang] Tung. All of you should love one another. Though you have the great good fortune to rule in various domains. shared sense of familial cooperation. Kawila’s father. all my children in [Lampang] and Chiang Mai should heed their father’s advice… Don’t fight among yourselves. you must consider them to be a single domain…42 Thus early Chao Chet Ton rule was informed by a keen understanding of the frailties of familial rule.

At the highest level. 2. Theoretically the chao luang. There were three levels in the bureaucratic structure in Lan Na. 1989. the five top officials were referred to as chao khan or chao khan ha bai (five-man ruling council). Together. keeping several minor states as dependencies. and chao burirat (royal son). Phrae and Nan. ruling more or less independently of each other. Kawila’s immediate family supplied three kings to Chiang Mai. Lamphun. several brothers who had at one point or another ruled one of the lesser cities of Lampang or Lamphun returned to Chiang Mai to advise the capital’s court as well. Thus. as in Siam). and Economic Changes in the Northern States of Thailand Resulting From the Chiang Mai Treaties of 1874 and 1883.2. Social. The Structure of Lan Na Rulership in the Early Nineteenth Century From the time of King Kawila until the provincial administrative reforms enacted by Siam in 1892. chao ratchabut (crown prince). 1963.b. 97. Northern Illinois University. 17. 44 Ratanaporn Sethakul. they constituted the most influential members of the ruling family. Vol. เพ็ชร์ล้านนา [Gems of Lanna. who was also called chao chiwit (Lord of Life) as in Siam. between 1774 and 1825. came to power. chao ratchawong (royal lord).43 This group was made up of the chao luang (king). and the other two ruled Lamphun. The kings of these cities were autocratic. comprised of Kawila’s sons and nephews. and four others: chao ho na (“front palace king. There were five major states: Chiang Mai. Lampang.Woodhouse Chapter 2 the other brothers.44 Prani Siritorn na Pattalung. “Political. Featuring the Life Stories of Important Individuals From the Golden Age of Lanna/Thai].” Doctoral dissertation. had absolute power.” also called chao uparat. Chiang Mai: Suriwong Printing. the political structure in the north remained consistent. who was the supreme ruler. 1. another two to Lampang. It wasn’t until the 1820s that the next generation. 43 Page 42 . with a pattern of elder-to-younger-brother succession.

”46 Such candidates typically also shared the factor of family ties.Woodhouse Chapter 2 As such. All decisions on matters of finance regarding state administration. 47 Ratanaporn 1989. with power divided between individuals who were either related by marriage and kinship ties. Edinborough and London: William Blackwood and Sons. 1890. Holt S. secondly. King Rama I. observed the factors which counted for a noble’s appointment to the rank of high king. and now chiefly. business capacity. Samnak Naiyok Press.45 Western explorer Holt Hallett. the number of his serfs and slaves. 17. He acted as a broker between his local elites and the Bangkok suzerain. visiting Chiang Mai in the 1860s. no matter See Tamnan Phun Muang Chiang Mai [Foundation Chronicle of Chiang Mai]. lastly. 46 See Hallett. for example. upon his interest at the Siamese court. as cited in Ratanaporn 1989. the chao luang: “The succession to the throne primarily depends upon the person chosen by the court and people being of princely descent – all such are called chow or prince. or who were given authority because of their leadership qualities. upon his influence and wealth. 104.” or State Council). 21. integrity. the chao luang was the chief spokesman for his state in its dealing with other states. 45 Page 43 . Bangkok. made up of thirty-two men drawn from the lesser nobility.47 Just below the chao khan ha bai was a second level called the khao sanam luang (meaning “those of the royal field. 1971. consulted Kawila when he appointed the chao muang (rulers of muang) of the Lan Na cities of Tak and Thoen. A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in the Shan States. exercising decisive power in nominating the chao khan ha bai and other important offices to Bangkok for approval – though it appears that the Siamese court almost always deferred to him. and his popularity with the serfs.

August 23. and ensuring that more important disputes were referred up the chain of command to the chao in the muang. distinctions were recognized on the basis of one’s official administrative position (described above). Ratanaporn. like their elite Bangkok counterparts.”50 With few gradations of rank amongst the northern chao. F. were customarily made with the concurrence of the sanam.48 Hence Lan Na rulership possessed a fairly communal character – but one accordingly vulnerable to the development of factions and clan rivalries among the branches of the noble families. Thailand. The children of a Lan Na chao. Though there was a hierarchy of command from the chao luang on down to the lowest rank. however.O. As in Bangkok.L. Below this level were the village heads who were under the nominal authority of either the king himself or the State Council. These chiefs acted locally to supply the chao with manpower and supplies.Woodhouse Chapter 2 how slight.. and in some further-flung areas. these rights applied only for the duration of the official’s service. May 1875.49 These village-level headmen were also responsible for keeping order as well as judging minor disputes. 628/10/157. Chiang Mai. 20. The most important difference between this system of rule and that of Siam. could inherit the rank of chao. land rights could be granted only by the king. 50 Personal conversation with Ajaan Ratanaporn. who granted rights over lands to his chao officials as compensation – but in Lan Na. 48 49 Page 44 . This distinct difference leads some scholars to call the system “soft sakdina. there was not the same strict gradation of rank or “point system” as was used in the Siamese sakdina system. 2007. to collect taxes and duties. and could not be inherited. lay in the relationship of noble rank to control of lands. B. Report of Captain Hildebrand’s Visit to Chiengmai. Higher ranking chao.

As Hildebrand notes in 1875. 52 Ratanaporn. Consequently. With the regular flow of interstate traders and seasonal long-distance caravans between upper Burma and southern China. no. Temples and Elephants: The Narrative of A Journey of Exploration through Upper Siam and Laos. November (1992): 797-823. Such official positions. from the village to the royal palace – but their continued social status and economic well-being depended on their hold on a restricted number of high administrative posts. Many of the wealthier chao became moneylenders “because they felt a need to make as much money as possible while they were in a position to. Whether by cause or effect. were by no means guaranteed. the chao yai controlled nearly every level of government.51 Thus. as we will see later on in this chapter. Katherine. 28. 1985. The chao yai were mostly granted land rights over a certain territory and its residents. while chao noi might not have any lands of their own. chao khan or chao noi (little lord). much less authority over others. these chao often became major players in local trade.Woodhouse Chapter 2 though.” Journal of Asian Studies 4. Bangkok: White Orchid Press. as cited in Bowie. 159. the disruption of such trade flows was to be avoided when at all possible – a factor which. a household’s slaves could Calavan 1977. Carl. such noble traders could derive a healthy income. however. “Unraveling the Myth of the Subsistence Economy: Textile Production in 19th Century Thailand. becomes increasingly significant in the interactions between Lan Na and Siam in the 1850s. 51 Page 45 . 53 Bock. the number of slaves owned by a chao also tended to correlate to their level of wealth.53 Given such opportunities to accumulate capital. Thus it was not unusual for them to charge rates as high as thirty-six percent per year on the money they lent.” 52 since after they left office their flow of income effectively stopped. were classed as chao yai (literally “big lord”).

and other lesser lords had 70-100 each. Amongst the Shans.54 D. many chao noi were forced to look to other means of supporting themselves. showing that the chao luang (king) had 1. with chao landholders collecting land rents as well as tribute Bowie 1992.500 slaves. ibid. Hence. A number of western observers provide accounts of the use of slaves and their labor in Lan Na.O. averaging 15-20 each. a chao’s investment of wealth in such indentured servants could be returned many times over through the profits made by the trade of their produce.000 slaves. 155. who hired younger chao as local guides. so the number of Lan Na chao was continually expanding. F. 57 Bock... 54 55 Page 46 . B.Woodhouse Chapter 2 produce “a considerable amount of goods” from which the chao could profit.L.55 Colquhoun provides a detailed breakdown. The ranks of Lan Na’s nobility did not decline over time like those of the Siamese.”57 Though sakdina was “softer” than in Siam. Thus. as cited in Bowie 1992. ibid.J.56 As most chao males practiced polygamy. the chao hua naa (second king) had 1. 69/62/1875. the third-ranking lord had 800 slaves. 257. 56 Colquhoun. English explorer Carl Bock. the relationship between landholder and peasant was largely the same. The lesser-ranking rural elite (phrayas) also had slaves. there were always many more chao (particularly from the highest-ranking chao yai families) than official roles for them to assume. Edwards notes that the ruling lords had 300 slaves engaged in weaving alone. 1885. Archibald Ross. wrote that male chao youths “are so common a commodity in Lao that the authorities can afford to give them to me as guides. and so poor that they do not think it in poor dignity to undertake the duty for the sake of the small gratitudes attached to the office. London: Field & Tuer.

According to one missionary. 21 and also Hallett. “Spirit worship or…the fear of spirits is the curse of this land. In Chiang Mai. ‘Letter from Wilson in Chiang Mai. Payap University Archives. See Ratanaporn.58 Ratanaporn also explains that this patron-client system was reinforced through the special relationship of the ruling elites to ancestral guardian spirits.) The ruling elites also provided protection from worldly dangers. As the Chao Chet Ton re-established political stability.3 Shifting Economies. 2. 15 March 1875 (cited in Ratanaporn 1989). Its influence is everywhere… It has prescribed a ceremonial for every undertaking and every want in life.”59 As Ratanaporn explains. Given the geographic isolation of many northern villages. 60 Ratanaporn. it is not surprising that many people would desire the patronage of a chief or chao. who were thought to be capable of causing illness. Hence. (An example of how such spiritual currency could be manipulated by Chiang Mai’s elites will be discussed later on in this chapter. drought. as insurance against calamities both spiritual and worldly. 1865-74.Woodhouse Chapter 2 and corvee labor from the peasants farming their land. Shifting Allegiances: Mid-Nineteenth Century Lan Na Just as Lan Na seemed to achieve political and economic equilibrium once again. these spirit cults could sometimes be manipulated so as to favor the groups in power. the re-populated river plains surrounding Chiang Mai embarked on an era of economic and cultural resurgence. 58 59 Page 47 . was pervasive in the region. Belief in these spirits. the political landscape within and far beyond Chiang Mai continued to change. and other misfortunes. 134-35.’ Siam Letters III. the ruling elites – the only ones permitted to perform the ceremonies propitiating these ancestral guardian spirits – maintained their legitimacy “by serving the ritual function of mediating between”60 the peasant communities and the spirits of the state. such as bandits or warfare. 22.

his son fled to Bangkok for protection.61 Though the escalation of this competition for power was eventually settled by the intervention of the rulers of Lampang and Lamphun. Volker. the cooperative nature of Kawila’s family rulership would never return to the peace it had known before. Manipur. the ascendancy of a rival branch of the royal family – called the Pho Huen (lord of the house) – was assured. the dispensations of the 1824 Treaty of London gave control of Ceylon. however. Malacca. Andrew. In India. Suwannakham. 61 Page 48 . See Saraswati 2005 for more background on this issue. his authority was challenged by a cousin. Lan Na would enjoy twenty years of peace and increased prosperity. The Gold and Silver Road of Trade and Friendship : The Mcleod and Richardson Diplomatic Missions to Tai States in 1837. 2003. leaving the throne to the Pho Huen uparat (or second king). Phutthawong. Kham Fan. 62 See Grabowsky.Woodhouse Chapter 2 close to thirty years of cooperative rulership in Lan Na by the Chao Chet Ton princes came to an end after the death of only its second king. The world beyond Chiang Mai was beginning to experience several major changes as well – changes which would drastically alter the balance of power among Lan Na’s friends and enemies. and took the form of a religious building contest. his cousin’s efforts to exceed the king’s donations constituted a challenge to the king’s political fitness to reign. in 1823. In faraway England. Thailand: Silkworm Books. managed to maintain their positions. Though his younger brother. Turton. Chiang Mai. Thammalangka. On Kham Fan’s death in 1825. Singapore and Penang to the British. and Assam – resulted in As the king was supposedly the greatest patron of the Buddhist sangha. and Phuttawong’s reign was later recalled as a golden age. The remaining Chao Chet Ton members of the fiveman chao khan ha bai (governing council).62 However. was next in line for the Chiang Mai throne. British rule over the still-independent territories east of Bengal – Tripura. Following this brief dynastic conflict.

Moulmein. This offense has been interpreted variously by Siamese and Lao historians. Chao Anu. Following their victory. Page 49 . which shared a common boundary with Chiang Mai: the Salween River. Perhaps influenced by news of the 1826 British conquest of Burma. aided by the concession of both coastal and inland territories in the Treaty of Yandabo of 1825. launched a military offensive southward towards Bangkok. 5. and Bassein.63 Lan Na and Siam’s old enemy. Burma. Britain was able to conclude favorable terms of trade with Siam in 1826 following the heavy losses of the Burmese in the first Anglo-Burmese War. In addition to the trade ports of Mergui. culminating in the first Anglo-Burmese War (1823-26). the British quickly established a presence in Burma.64 At the same time. or a pre-emptive strike against “Thai aggression” 63 64 This trade treaty was the Burney Treaty of 1826. had fallen to a formidable new power: Great Britain. concluded by Henry Burney. Was it an attempt to re-establish the ancient kingdom of Lan Xang. Siam was experiencing problems with its eastern neighbors as well. and Burney’s subsequent negotiations with Bangkok. For the first time. Though earlier diplomats had been unsuccessful in concluding trade treaties with Siam. an effort to “liberate” thousands of Lao who had been re-settled by the Siamese in Nakhon Ratchasima in the 1770s. the king of Vientiane. Lan Na and Siam were directly confronted with a Western colonial power as an immediate neighbor. Grabowsky and Turton.Woodhouse Chapter 2 conflict with the westward-pushing Burmese Konbaung dynasty. the British also gained control of the territory of Tenasserim.

Laos. As for Chao Anu himself. Singapore: Oxford University Press. See Maha Sila Viravong’s History of Laos (New York: Paragon Book Reprint Corp.Woodhouse Chapter 2 aiming to dismantle Lao independence entirely?65 In any case. which would directly damage the moral position of the [Siamese] king. Grant Evans (2002) casts the episode as part of an ongoing ‘competition for resources in the Mekong basin” between Siam.” More recently. where he was imprisoned publicly in a large cage. Chiang Mai had supplied troops to the Siamese in their battles against Chao Anu. Chao Anu’s campaign was treated as aggression by the Siamese. such a response signaled that Bangkok would not tolerate internal challenges to its increasingly centralized power. 1964). Thai-Malay Relations: Traditional Intra-Regional Relations from the Seventeenth to the Early Twentieth Centuries. Chao Anu died. Crows Nest NSW.68 Siam communicated a clear message as to the fate awaiting any vassals who were foolish enough to display open disloyalty to Bangkok. who responded harshly. for a persuasive argument that it was the Siamese preoccupation with a possible British intervention that encouraged Chao Anu to make his attempt.66 Why did the Siamese treat a former vassal so brutally? Various reasons are suggested by historians. 1998) argue that there never was a “Chao Anu rebellion. but “particularly a Buddhist one. 66 Grant Evans. the Siamese deported the entire population of Vientiane (by conservative estimates. 65 Page 50 . he was captured in 1828 and taken to Bangkok. 1988. at least 100. 68 Though according to Saraswati. 56. Mayoury and Pheuiphanh (1989.” but only a “war between Bangkok and the Lao. After several days of direct exposure to the caustic forces of both the blistering sun and the derision of Bangkok’s populace. Australia: Allen & Unwin. Cambodia and Vietnam. there were still nobles in eastern Lan Na who sympathized with Chao Anu. A Short History of Laos: The Land in Between. 28-29. Siam objected to losing a neighboring tributary state.”67 Secondly. in an environment of increasing European pressure on both its eastern and western frontiers. and into the interior of Siam’s Khorat Plateau.000 people) from the east bank of the Mekong River westward. 2002. Firstly. Besides destroying the city. 67 Kobkua Suwannathat-Pian. whose loyalties were somewhat divided over the episode. For Lan Na.

the dispersal of Vientiane’s population sent many Lao refugees into Lan Na territory. A few nobles of the Lan Xang royal family even found refuge with relatives living in the Shan township of muang Nai. in fact. Phuttawong. land under wet-rice cultivation increased.Woodhouse Chapter 2 At the same time.70 Besides encouraging the already-established Chinese caravan trade. From 1826. Teak logging by British merchants (and Burmese British subjects) began to make its way into Lan Na during this period. p. The influx of new populations. and sparked trade in new items that would quickly become major revenue streams for the Lan Na nobility: cattle and teak. arriving in March of 1825. Lan Na’s king sent a number of letters to the British at Moulmein. would only enhance Lan Na’s growing economic prosperity. the situation appears to have been quite the contrary. who was known for his more conciliatory attitude towards Ava (see Brailey). Ibid. 8. but until the 1870s (when the Burmese forests began to be depleted). Upon the conclusion of the First Anglo-Burmese War. requesting formal contact. The earliest letter. as it was not unusual for See Grabowksy and Turton (2003). the renovation of Moulmein by the British as an inland trade center brought an increased flow of trade between Chiang Mai and Burma.. coupled with the new presence of the British in Burma. and Lan Na’s population expanded into areas which had hitherto been deserted frontier zones in the north. 69 70 Page 51 . the British troops at the Moulmein garrison required a steady supply of beef. During this period.69 The British presence in the region did not appear to threaten the Lan Na rulership. could have come from either the ailing Khamfan. where British officer Richardson recorded meeting them in 1837. however. 10. cattle would dominate Lan Na’s trade with Burma. or his successor. presumably to establish trade relations.

in Grabowsky and Turton (2003). 74 See Saraswati.” as they were called.71 The “Shan bullocks. 1974.Woodhouse Chapter 2 soldiers to get a ration of a pound of fresh beef per day. the average demand was about 700 head of cattle per year. and the ecological exploitation of Burmese forests that also occurred under British Imperialism there. were considered to be higher quality beef than either buffalo meat or that of the cows to be had from Madras or Bengal. When the garrison was smaller. when its export to Burma was forbidden by the anti-Burmese Lan Na king Mahotraphrathet. some of Chiang Hung’s nobles had fled to Chiang Tung. 73 See Charles Keeton’s King Thebaw and the Ecological Rape of Burma.000 head per year. 71 72 Page 52 . 1878-1886.500 – 3.72 Cattle would remain the most profitable export from Lan Na until the mid-1850s. for an in-depth exploration of this and the subsequent era in Burma. where they obtained Burmese support – thus drawing Burma into the region anew.3. when it grew larger in the later 1830s the demand ran to between 2. 78. 157-159. Ibid. 1848-51 In the late 1840s.000 rupees to buy cattle. for example. In 1841. as the forests of upper Burma became overharvested. Siam had begun to feel uneasy about Lan Na’s northernmost boundary with Burma. The Lan Na muang of Chiang Hung (or Chiang Rung) had requested assistance in quelling civil unrest sparked by a succession crisis.a.000 head. and their worth was accordingly higher. a sum that could purchase up to 5. Thus the teak trade’s value in Lan Na only surpassed that of cattle in the 1860s. [1st ed ed. the muang of Chiang Tung (sometimes rendered Keng Tung).74 The Siamese chronicle of the time quotes Siam’s Figures cited from British annual reports. the Political and Commercial Struggle Between British India and French Indo-China in Burma.. Delhi]: Manohar Book Service. around two hundred Moulmein traders were said to be waiting in Chiang Mai with 100.73 2. Siamese Intervention Gone Wrong: The Chiang Tung Wars. At various points in this crisis.


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king Rama III as stating, “If we can subdue Chiang Tung, Chiang Rung will be ours.”75 To this end, the Siamese king authorized Chiang Mai to conscript a total of 7,500 men to attack Chiang Tung, but the expedition was a failure due to a political rift between the two Lan Na princes commanding the troops.76 By the time Siam’s King Mongkut inherited this enterprise from Rama III in 1852, Chiang Rung had requested assistance once again, and this time, the Siamese king’s ministers considered Siam’s reputation to be at stake. Additionally, the Siamese felt that Burma’s involvement in war with the British provided a window of opportunity that was not to be missed: In fact, the situation we have to deal with in Chiang Tung is temporary because this year there is fighting in Burma as well as a revolt by the Chinese…in the Ho territory…However, the Lao [meaning Lan Na – ed.], both commoners and nobles, think they understand the situation of this distant territory and foolishly accept that Burma is powerful and probably will quickly chase off the English and protect Chiang Tung… With regard to our side, there is war between Burma and England and our wish to be victorious over Chiang Tung. There is a narrow window of opportunity this year. What shall we do? … If we remain inactive without making a success of it, we will lose prestige. Countries that know about past events will think that we are cowardly, have little power, and cannot make war. …Therefore, we must act with determination to maintain our prestige.77

Chao Phraya Thipakorawong, พงศาวดารรัทนาคสินธ์ ราชการที่๓ [Chronicles of the Third Reign of the Rattanakosin Era] vol. 2, Bangkok: [n.d.], 140-143. 76 According to Saraswati, the conflict arose because the rajabut’s troops reached the city first, and attacked immediately in a bid for glory; when this attempt failed, the uparat deliberately delayed sending reinforcements, due to his antagonism towards the rajabut. Lan Na’s King Mahotraprathet even complained to Bangkok about the situation, which led to King Mongkut’s 1856 participation in the appointment of the next Lan Na king – to prevent such problems in the future. (Saraswati, 144-45) 77 From Vajirayan Library, Archives of the Fourth Reign, Lesser Era 1214, No. 76 (a), “[King Mongkut] to Prince Wongsathirat, regarding troops in Chiang Tung,” as cited in Intornchaisri, “Royal Policy Regarding the Building of Internal Stability in the Tributary States, During the Reign of King Mongkut (B.E. 2394-2411),” master’s thesis, Department of History, Sri Nakkarin Wirot University (Bangkok, Thailand), 1978, 156.

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This time, the conscriptions from cities throughout Lan Na, plus troops sent from Bangkok, totaled 30,000.78 Though King Mongkut sent his own brother, Prince Wongsathirat, to head up the new offensive on Chiang Tung, the effort was plagued by both tactical and supply problems. The commanders chose an approach to the city that the Lan Na chroniclers described as “low and disadvantageous,” and there had been a bad harvest in Chiang Mai that year, so food supplies ran out.79 By the time the troops from Bangkok arrived to relieve the Lan Na forces, they heard that the Burmese were sending reinforcements, and withdrew, ending the attack. Meanwhile, in Burma, with Britain’s victory in the Second Anglo-Burmese War of 1853, its trade monopoly in Burma’s rice-rich delta region was solidified, forcing Burmese king Mindon (r. 1853-1878) to seek out new sources of royal income. King Mindon was often positively described by Western observers as a forward-looking, “modernizing” monarch (much like his Siamese contemporary, King Mongkut, r. 1851-1868). In response to the situation, he endeavored to find ways to generate income surpluses within his base in upper Burma’s dry zone, which had heretofore depended on the southern delta region for its rice supplies. Mindon’s response to the British seizure of these rice surpluses was twofold: He established industrial factories at Mandalay, and encouraged trade with southern China, the Shan States, Lower Burma, India, and European countries as well.80 Due to these efforts, the later 1850s saw a marked increase in the level of trade (and the number of Burmese traders) flowing from upper Burma to Chiang Tung and into southern China.

Saraswati, 163. Ibid. 80 Ibid., 7.
78 79

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Siam’s final attempt to take Chiang Tung in 1854 was also unsuccessful. Though Mongkut and his ministers wanted more badly than ever to take Chiang Tung once and for all, it proved impossible to gather the 30-40,000 additional soldiers that the Siamese estimated were needed. Many conscripts fled, leaving the commanders with fewer than 10,000 troops, and the timing of the new offensive coincided with the start of the rainy season, making overland travel difficult and ox-cart transportation of provisions all but impossible. By all accounts, the hearts of the Lan Na nobles and troops just weren’t in it: sources describe the lack of support by the nobility and abysmal troop morale as the main reasons why the effort was finally abandoned.81 In material terms, however, Siam’s losses were paltry compared to those endured by Lan Na. Not only had the Chiang Mai rulership’s requests to delay the final attack been ignored, but their cities had been the ones to bear the cost of the manpower lost in the offensive. Siam, Lan Na’s supposed protector, had failed them, and at a high cost. Additionally, Lan Na still had both family and economic links to Chiang Tung, which they could ill afford to cut off as it was growing rapidly as a trade center. Thus, the period following the Chiang Tung Wars of the early 1850s found Lan Na scrambling to recover from significant human losses it suffered through Siam’s failed attempts to prove its military strength, and to repair its relationship with an important trade partner in the region. As for Siam, they had “lost face” to both Burma and Lan Na, and gained nothing on their northern frontier. If anything, the necessity of King Mongkut’s intervention in matters of


Ibid., 164.

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Lan Na’s succession in 1855 only highlighted the insecurity of Lan Na’s boundaries, and the increasing contingency of the situation with the British in Burma. 2.3.b. The 1850s, Continued: Rumors of Lan Na Overtures to the Burmese In the late 1850s, Burmese loggers, now nominally British legal subjects, made their way into Lan Na’s forests in increasing numbers, cutting logs to send to Moulmein (Burma) for processing and sale. As in Burma, where the king himself held a monopoly on logging, the nobles of Lan Na were the holders of the rights to log Lan Na forests, which were traditionally viewed as a local resource, not a source of commercial income. At first, there were no fixed fees for cutting trees in Lan Na; individuals negotiated a per-tree price, which was collected by officials and divided three ways: between the forest owner, the collecting official, and finally the ruler himself.82 During the 1850s, however, the policy changed as the forest trade rapidly expanded. Under Chiang Mai’s King Mahotraprathet, the fees were revised and separated into three categories, depending on the size of the tree cut. For example, a tree measuring eight- to ten-hands’ breadth cost one rupee; eleven to thirteenhands cost two rupees, and fourteen to sixteen hands cost three rupees. These fees went up over time, presumably as the forests of Upper Burma ran out in the 1880s; by 1896 (when Siam’s Department of Forestry was established) the fee was up to twelve rupees per tree.83 The rising value of these teak forest leases led to a corresponding rise in the number of disputes with the nobles of Chiang Mai. King Kawilorot (the sixth Chiang Mai king and last son of Kawila to rule) was involved in a number of legal disputes with British-Burmese

N.A.T. R. 5, M. 16/10: Report of Phra Ong Pen’s Journey to Review Forestry, November R.S. 112 [A.D. 1893]. 83 Saraswati, 169.

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parties in Chiang Mai, for which he was summoned to Bangkok to defend himself in court. Though he ultimately won his case, the handling of the matter by the Siamese resulted in the northern chao leaving Bangkok “resentful” and with hurt pride.84 Absent any other means of controlling Kawilorot, Siam’s king, Mongkut, decided to adopt a policy of appeasement towards the northern ruler. In 1856, rumors begin to swirl about the loyalties of the Chiang Mai king. According to Brailey, Kawilorot found the anti-Western attitudes of the Burmese elite more satisfying than the conciliatory stance of the Thai.85 After a round of communications passed between Kawilorot and the Burmese king at Ava, King Kawilorot allegedly ordered the execution of his Burmese interpreter. Kawilorot’s subsequent gift of elephants to this Burmese king resulted in a return of gifts, and his activities were reported to Bangkok – by two members of the chao khan ha bai belonging to a rival faction in the court. Unfortunately for them, when Kawilorot was called to make his case to Mongkut at the Bangkok court, he managed to convince Mongkut that his activities were innocent, and carried the day. The nobles of the rival faction, in turn, were held in Bangkok where their questionable loyalties could be more closely monitored.86 This episode showcases Kawilorot’s dissatisfaction with Lan Na’s place in Siam’s tributary scheme, and his possible plan to re-align Lan Na with a powerful old neighbor who had had its own recent troubles with western interests. Ratanaporn claims that “Kawilorot seems to have given up his thoughts about becoming a Burmese tributary

Ibid. Brailey, 141. 86 Ibid.
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Chulalongkorn. and the elimination of his political rivals in Chiang Mai. they learned the power of the rumor. On his annual visit to Bangkok that year. as we will see later on in this chapter. his brilliant – if duplicitous – performance in Bangkok resulted in both his own vindication. and given the reign name of Ratanaporn Settrakul. Department of History. had finally been crowned. Secondly. Firstly. two other major political events occurred. Chulalongkorn University. her father Inthanon officially succeeded the recently-deceased Kawilorot to the throne in Chiang Mai. he received the title of chao luang (high king of Chiang Mai). in Lan Na. The 1873 Chiang Mai Treaty: Undermining Traditional Relationships The year of Princess Dara Rasami’s birth.Woodhouse Chapter 2 because of several practical considerations. by which threats could be made indirectly to the Siamese without foreclosing the possibility of denial.”87 Thus even if Kawilorot’s original plan to align himself with Burma’s northern king failed.3. having spent five years under a regent following the death of his father. Secondly – and perhaps more importantly – Lan Na had learned the expediency of playing (British) Burma and Siam against each other in effecting Lan Na’s interests. “The International Court in the Northern Part of Thailand (1874-1937). 1873. 159. 87 Page 58 . 1981. This episode taught the Lan Na nobility new lessons in how to manage their role in the region’s shifting political balance of power. 2. These important lessons were passed down to the next generation of rulership. Mongkut. [whose] forces had already twice defeated Burma. in 1868.” Master's thesis. … [I]t was not certain that the Burmese could shield Chiang Mai from Great Britain. the young Siamese king. Firstly.c.

totaling hundreds of thousands of rupees. 69/55: Journal Kept by Captain Lowndes. describes the frequent overlap of these tracts. Brailey. for seven years. his visit was not entirely triumphant: not only did Chapter 2 Inthawichyanon not receive the higher title he was hoping for (phra chao) on this occasion. plus nearly as much in bribes and fees charged by nobles. and double-leasing on the part of nobles.88 British officer Thomas Lowndes. British Burma. the British government in India was actively campaigning for an agreement that would guarantee their subjects some protection in their timber dealings in Lan Na. so a seven-year period was granted for repayment. 88 89 Page 59 .N. sent from upper Burma in 1871 to survey the situation in Chiang Mai.Woodhouse Inthawichyanon. Whilst on a Mission to the Zimme Court (Lowndes’ Journal). but he was also saddled with fines from legal cases left over from the prior king’s reign.A. F. 27th March to 30th May 1871. However. This annual payment was to be made in teak: one hundred logs per year. 201. By 1873. These fines. and many unresolved lawsuits resulted in the British desiring Siamese intervention. This fine reflects the increased importance that the teak trade had earned in Lan Na – but also the increasing concerns of the Siamese over the dealings of the Lan Na nobility in teak-related disputes with British-Burmese loggers. By 1851. B. were too much for the new king to pay at one time. the annual income to the Chiang Mai nobility from timber leases had spiraled to nearly 150.000 rupees.O. thefts.89 Conflicts over these problematic timber leases.. Superintendent of Police.

and ultimately their sovereignty itself. [And since] they also 90 Page 60 . a new system of taxes and monopolies was introduced. a system of “dual government” was established. The kha luang was a high-level Siamese administrator appointed to investigate and judge all legal cases advanced by British subjects involving Lan Na or Thai subjects. the Siamese countered that the British should then build in at least four months of additional time. and also that of Ratanaporn Settrakul (1989). Thirdly. 92 Criminals were to be tried in the Thai courts regardless of their nationality. The second provision established a permanent police force. There were several provisions of the 1874 Chiang Mai Treaty.93 While it is not within the scope of this chapter to explore these events fully. 93 Ratanaporn explains that the British Indian government had “long considered Thailand as part of its sphere of interest particularly since problems there mostly concerned British subjects. to send the request to Chiang Mai. Lastly.91 Thus. the interested reader may find a complete account of the British-Siamese diplomatic affairs surrounding the Chiang Mai Treaties in Brailey’s 1968 dissertation. 181. 91 Brailey. 182. Firstly. 92 Ratanaporn. p. with a full-time resident Siamese kha luang or commissioner stationed in Chiang Mai. new regulations were put in place to control the leasing of teak forests. and allow enough time for the king’s journey down to Bangkok.90 Though the British actually did request that the Chiang Mai king participate. the case would be sent to the British officer in Yoongzaleen (Burma) for review. with posts along the Salween River to prevent thefts and banditry on loggers traveling through the area. economy. Chiang Mai nobles were excluded from the drawing up of a treaty which affected their judicial practices.Woodhouse Chapter 2 The first Chiang Mai Treaty was concluded rather hastily in 1874. and if a British subject was not happy with the Chiang Mai court’s decision. between the British Indian government in Calcutta and the Siamese in Bangkok.

Some of the other measures introduced by the Treaty would ultimately undermine other aspects of Lan Na’s economy and society. both from Bangkok and Yunnan. S. But the notion of non-interference was extended to prevent him from becoming entangled in local family politics as well: by forbidding the marriage of Siamese officials to local women. Chinese were nearly frequently disagreed with [Bangkok consul] Knox’s actions…the Calcutta officials responded delightedly” to the opportunity to refer unresolved or contested legal cases from Chiang Mai to Burma. The new tax farms and monopolies in particular “struck at the old order” of Chiang Mai’s rulership. and instructed to refrain from taking bribes. 95 Ratanaporn. 94 This act was entitled Phra Ratchabanyat Samrap Kha Luang Chamra Khwam Hua Muang R. as it required a substantial up-front investment. 174. while undermining the system of blood ties that had traditionally bound neighboring kingdoms.94 Thus the local Siamese administrator was to avoid becoming entangled in the familial structure of the peripheral state – the traditional mode by which alliance was accomplished. and the Chinese merchant class had the advantage of larger cash reserves than the common khon muang populace was typically able to gather. 201. 188. The new tax farming system in Lan Na facilitated Chinese participation. Thus in the auctions of the new monopolies. Page 61 .95 New Chinese immigrants. had been flowing into provincial Siam and Lan Na since the 1855 Bowring Treaty. 92. Thus the circulation of male Siamese bodies from Bangkok to it peripheries served to insert a new element of central Siamese authority into the political landscape. engaging in business. Ratanaporn (1989). the Siamese administrator was forbidden from levying corvee labor for his personal affairs. Under the Act of Provincial Commissioner Justices of 1874. and gambling. as cited in Ratanaporn.Woodhouse Chapter 2 The Siamese kha luang was also forbidden from interfering in local affairs.

under the prior system. this rice-whisky monopoly was quickly rescinded through the efforts of Mae Chao Thipkesorn and her spirit-medium sister. betel nut. 99 Ratanaporn.A. Memo on Taxes and Monopolies by Gould. 628/157. ivory. betel. 100 Ibid. cotton. tobacco.100 With the institution of new taxes and monopolies.98 As these Chinese traders and tax collectors were essentially outside the traditional systems of patronage and trade. commoners paid their taxes with goods in kind. 215.97 Chinese traders were outsiders who were both exempt from the traditional patronage system. 98 Ratanaporn. These monopolies. Chao Ubonwanna. and cloth. these Chinese traders would become so numerous in Chiang Mai as to constitute a separate social class. including guns and ammunition. or chilies. pork. and were bought up mainly by Chinese taxfarmers “hitherto unknown in the state. 203. came a Brailey. Between MacLeod & Richardson’s reports of the 1830s and Lowndes’ report of 1871. such as rice. and rice-whisky. which included sticklac. however.Woodhouse Chapter 2 always the highest bidders. 9th April 1885. 96 97 Page 62 .” Chinese traders were not obliged to trade as fairly with local people as local traders were. As we saw earlier in this chapter. F. Due to their “social and spatial distance from the local people. 207. By the later 1870s. B.”96 The Siamese commissioner added a few other monopolies of his own to this list. however..O. not much had changed in this system but the amounts. tobacco. their presence cost local elites their ability to mitigate the impact of tax collection on the phrai (peasants) in hard times. safflower. were worth several thousand pounds annually.N.99 Additionally. and able to travel freely (unlike local traders).

with one-third to pay for the administrative expenses of the kha luang himself.”103 The Siamese commissioner also benefited by arranging a number of tax farms and monopolies to benefit both himself and the Bangkok king.O. Hildebrand’s Report.101 A comparison of two travelers’ accounts from before and after the institution of the new tax system is instructive here.000 rupees a year in the late 1870s. 101 102 Page 63 .N. however. 628/10/157. but rather plain.O. these houses had become “edifices with so many gables atop them that they looked like small villages. B. 103 B. 69/55.. In this way.A.A. Lowndes’ Journal. went into the pockets of the senior chao. the monies brought in by monopolies on gambling and cloth brought the Chiang Mai king’s income to roughly 280. In Captain Lowndes’ 1871 account.N.Woodhouse Chapter 2 new group of collectors who would insist on cash payments..104 Thus the Chiang Mai Treaty of 1874 had the effect of increasing the incomes going into the pockets of the ruling elites. Yet the new Chinese tax collectors were the ones who became identified with the exploitive taxes and monopolies. and became complacent in their alignment with the Bangkok Ibid. F. 1876. wooden houses with tile roofing. He also persuaded the Chiang Mai king to divide the new tax and monopoly incomes into three parts. F. 205. Besides the income from teak. which were increasingly burdensome on the common populace of Lan Na. Most of the income derived from the new tax farms and monopolies. he mentions that the houses of the chao luang and chao ho na were “merely substantial. 1871. 104 Ratanaporn.”102 By the time of Hildebrand’s visit in 1876. through exploitive tax measures meted out upon the common people. the chao were insulated from criticism by the common people.

212..105 Thus the Chiang Mai Treaty of 1874 set in motion a number of policies which began to undermine the traditional social and economic ties between the Lan Na nai (commoners) and phrai (nobles). with some frustration at his inability to get satisfactory responses from Phra Narin. in early 1874.3.. Siam’s Need for A Second Chiang Mai Treaty Under the First Chiang Mai Treaty of 1874. the British were to periodically send an official from Burma to Chiang Mai to adjudicate cases which had not been satisfactorily settled in the Siamese court. What Went Wrong: Or. which amounted to buying off the senior chao. 210-11. The first British officer. which “virtually spelt the epitaph of the 1874 Treaty arrangements. there was no new British official visit to Chiang Mai until 1879. the Bangkok government managed to keep the chao from being concerned with the loss of their political power and social status. However. 2.106 Due primarily to indecision on the part of the British colonial offices at Calcutta as to how to best proceed. 107 Ibid. 105 106 Page 64 .d. 210. Phra Narin. Hildebrand.”107 Ibid. more intrusive policy in 1883: the Second Chiang Mai Treaty. Brailey. was deployed to Chiang Mai almost immediately upon the conclusion of the treaty to adjudicate legal cases in tandem with the new Siamese commissioner. By increasing the income they derived from the new tax system. It also marks the beginning of Lan Na's long transition to a cash economy.Woodhouse Chapter 2 administration. But its failure to enforce British claims in Lan Na forests eventually results in an even stronger. Hildebrand left after only three months in the city.


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Phra Narin’s mission in Chiang Mai had two main objectives from the Siamese point of view. The first was to settle Chiang Mai’s supposed border dispute with Chieng Tung; the second was to ensure the repayment of Chao Inthanon’s debt (the fines from various teak-logging lawsuits levied in 1874) to the Siamese treasury. On the first count, the Siamese still feared that the northern rulership’s relationship with Chiang Tung and the Burmese was too close. Chiang Mai’s nobles had become friendly with the Shan who were settling in and around the deserted city of Chiang Saen. Not only had “a number of amicably-worded letters passed between Chieng Tung and Nai on the one hand, and Intha[wichya]non on the other,”108 but the Chiang Mai king had even sent a “friendly mission” to Mandalay in January of 1874.109 Chao Inthawichyanon’s debts also figure into Siam’s new presence in Chiang Mai. In the past, the only regular payment that Chiang Mai had made to Bangkok was a triennial tribute payment. It was part of Phra Narin’s responsibilities to ensure the collection of the loan repayment, which was in the form of one hundred teak logs per year for seven years. This payment plan completely altered the financial situation of the Chiang Mai nobility, who had come to depend on their leases of teak forests as a major source of income. As taxation had hardly changed since the 1830s (recalling Lowndes, MacLeod & Richardsons’ accounts), such a diversion of royal income had to be made up somewhere. Unsurprisingly,

Ibid., 213, citing Siam Repository, Vol. 6. (1874), pp. 461-2, and Edwardes’ report, 17th June 1875 in B.N.A., F.O. 69/62.

Ibid., citing ประชุมพงสวดาน [Collected Chronicles] Vol 3, 127-29; Brailey notes that Phra Narin made sure these envoys also reported to Bangkok on their return in January 1875.

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the Chiang Mai king was most agreeable to the Siamese kha luang’s suggestion that he grant a host of new monopolies upon his return from Bangkok in 1873. But Phra Narin himself was not immune to the temptations of his high post. Local Christian missionary Dr. Cheek accused Phra Narin of “…systematically robbing this country and prostituting his office.”110 Cheek estimated that the Siamese commissioner was making between 20- to 30,000 dollars annually “on the side” by 1879. Phra Narin also appeared susceptible to bribery when it came to lawsuits. The British consul at Bangkok, writing to his London superiors about a legal case sent to Chiang Mai in 1880, describes that “after some subterfuges on the part of the above-mentioned Commissioner [Phra Narin], the Plaintiff was abruptly informed that the proceedings have been burnt and that consequently the case was at an end.”111 Moreover, the commissioner was known to be an opium-smoker, and the keeper of a “harem which grew to almost unmanageable proportions,”112 despite the legal proscription forbidding Siamese officials to become involved with local women. Despite their optimism following the enactment of the 1874 Treaty, the British were still not satisfied with legal procedure in Chiang Mai, and lobbied the Siamese government anew for a revised treaty. The timing was right for a new treaty, as the British government finally found the money to station a vice-consul permanently in Chiang Mai in 1883.

Brailey, 216. Ibid., 220; cites B.N.A., F.O. 69/107, Palgrave to Lord Granville, 19th August 1880. Brailey notes that the case was finally dropped by the Indian Government in 1881. 112 Ibid., 216.
110 111

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Ultimately, the setup of the international court in 1883 under the Second Chiang Mai Treaty became the “model for the Siamese modern court system.”113 But the new Treaty and court system did not score points with the Chiang Mai nobility. The loss of timber-related legal cases directly impacted the coffers of Lan Na’s nobility, and the Siamese were perceived as being to blame. As new tensions arose between King Inthawichyanon (r. 1871-1893) and less sympathetic Siamese commissioners, so did a renewed awareness of the potential benefits of playing the British/Burmese against the Siamese. 2.4 Lan Na’s Elite Women and Agency: Thipkraisorn and Ubonwanna In this section, we will explore the roles and status of women in Lan Na, and the nature of women’s role in royal succession practices. This is turn will provide a cultural and historical frame for the lives of Chao Thipkraisorn and Chao Ubonwanna, Chao Dara Rasami’s mother and aunt, respectively, and a discussion of their possible ambitions for Dara Rasami in the political relationship between Lan Na and Bangkok. On Kawilorot’s death in 1871, the Lan Na throne passed not to his son, as Kawilorot had no male heirs; rather, it passed to the husband of his eldest daughter, Chao Thipkraisorn. Thus, succession passed from Kawilorot through his eldest daughter, to be held (at least nominally) by her husband. Although such a practice may seem unusual compared to European primogeniture, Inthawichyanon’s succession is consistent with practices in earlier Lan Na history. Perhaps the best example of these earlier practices is

Engel, David and Frank Reynolds, eds. Code and Custom in a Thai Provincial Court. Tucson: University of Arizona Press, 1978, 32.

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King Mangrai, founder of Lan Na, who married his sons “out” to the daughters of nobles in neighboring Lan Na towns in order to consolidate political control. Perhaps this historical mode of rule contributed to the unique pattern of royal succession which emerged during the latter part of the Chao Chet Ton dynasty. This pattern, identified by anthropologist Gehan Wijeyewardene as “son-in-law succession,” flowed from father-inlaw to son-in-law, through the prior ruler’s daughter.114 This pattern was practiced by both royal and common families within La Na, and traced its evolution over the first hundred years of the Chao Chet Ton kings.115 Though no solid marriage data is available until the fifth king of the Kawila dynasty (King Mahawong), the succession from that time onward adheres to the pattern of the successor marrying the prior king’s daughter. For example, King Kawilorot married the daughter of his predecessor, King Mahawong; the pattern recurred again in the late 1860s with Kawilorot’s daughter, Thipkraisorn. According to both Brailey and Prani, Thipkraisorn was allowed by Kawilorot to choose her spouse – and thus the next ruler of Chiang Mai.116 Though Inthanon (his name prior to taking the throne) was already married, Thipkraisorn forced him to give up his previously acquired wives. Wrote explorer Carl Bock in 1884: He looked – as he had the reputation of being – a kindly-disposed man, but weak. He was, it appeared, quite overruled by his wife [Thipkraisorn], who seemed to be quite a sufficiently strong-minded individual to make up for his weakness. She was his third wife, and when he married her she compelled him not only to enter the priesthood, but to put away all his concubines. He did not

Wijeyewardene, Gehan. “Northern Thai Succession and the Search for Matriliny.” Mankind Vol. 14, No. 4, (1984): 285 - 292. 115 Interestingly, under the Chao Chet Ton dynasty of Lan Na, there were no queens. From that perspective, Thipkraisorn – given her choice of a “weak” spouse to take the Chiang Mai throne – was the nearest example. 116 Brailey, 168.

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wear the yellow cloth long – only seven days – but that was considered long enough to cleanse him.117 Though Inthawichyanon’s lineage was traceable to another of Kawila’s brothers, he was a relative minor among the royal ranks; his marriage to Thipkraisorn raised his status considerably. Thus the custom of male in-marriage to the chief’s daughter linked two branches of Chiang Mai nobility, in order to provide a male successor to the throne. From this perspective, Inthawichyanon’s marriage to the king’s daughter, and subsequent assumption of the throne, was consistent with traditional Lan Na marital practices. In any event, it was no sacrifice of power for Mae Chao Thipkraisorn, as we will see. Lan Na women, both elite and common, benefited from cultural practices which entitled them to a high level of agency and status. Lan Na women retained rights over their property after marriage, and could inherit equally alongside their brothers – though typically ownership of the family’s domestic real estate fell to a family’s youngest daughter.118 In Lan Na social practice, this correlated to a “more general expectation that women remain in the place of their birth, while men may move.”119 Late nineteenth-century western observers also noted that “it was the normal Lao [sic] rule that a man altered his allegiance to the home state of his wife if it differed from his own.”120 This in turn contributed to the largely matrilocal orientation of Lan Na villages. Upon marriage, the Lan Na groom typically moved into his wife’s household for at least the first year following marriage.121

Bock, 226. Wijeyewardene, ibid. 119 Ibid., 288. 120 B.N.A, F.O. 30/33, E.B. Gould, the British Vice-consul in Chiang Mai, to E.M. Satow, May 2, 1884. 121 Wijeyewardene (1984), ibid., p. 263.
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but were “organized into matriclans. trading in timber and textiles produced by the sizable atelier of women weavers working at her residence. 3: Spirit Cults and the Position of Women in Northern Thailand. (1984): 249 . See Paul T. chao Ubonwanna. In terms of the high level of agency enjoyed by Lan Na women. No. Richard. particularly through their roles as spirit-mediums. No. (1984): p. 4. her brother-in-law chao Bunthawong.”124 In addition. Cohen. he is the king in name only. Brailey mentions that one faction in the Siamese court favored the uparat. Gehan Wijeyewardene. 1883 in Woman’s Work for Woman and Our Mission Field. mae chao Thipkraisorn was the real power behind the throne in Chiang Mai.” Mankind Vol. [where] muang matrilocal ideology is closely linked to a matrilineal mode of descent. perhaps no better exemplars can be found than Kawilorot’s daughters.262.”122 These matriclans were organized around women who maintained the clan’s relationship with their ancestral spirits. 4. there were those who recognized Thipkraisorn’s political ability. Vol. “Introduction to Special Issue No. “Muang Matrifocality.” Mankind Vol. 14. XIII. Mae Chao (queen mother) Thipkraisorn and her sister. Lan Na’s communities were not strictly matrilineal. 264. both women of great personal charisma and political and economic influence in Chiang Mai. 14. Philadelphia. Writes one missionary: “The present queen [Thipkraisorn] is the one who truly has ruling power in her hands.123 This combination gave Lan Na women a higher level of agency than even their relatively high-status sisters in Siam. 122 123 Page 70 . while (Siamese) King Chulalongkorn’s circle favored See Davis. Presbyterian Historical Society. According to Western observers. 124 See Emilie McGilvary’s letter of May 5. 1883. Ubonwanna was also a wealthy businesswoman in her own right. As for her husband. Within both Lan Na and Siam.Woodhouse Chapter 2 Traditionally.

describe Ubonwanna’s friendliness to visiting westerners and their ideas. 129 Bock.126 Kawilorot’s second daughter. 127 See especially Hallett’s accounts of several conversations with Chao Ubonwanna in A Thousand Miles on An Elephant in the Shan States. McGilvary. Hallett. Several visitors.129 The message in both cases was the same: that the (Chinese-held) monopoly on rice whisky offended the spirits. who missionary Daniel McGilvary called “ambitious and less-principled” than either Inthawichyanon or Thipkraisorn in 1880. and Colquhoun. particularly the monopoly of arrack. it was soon revoked. 1890. and advised him at once to abolish certain vexatious taxes.” such a monopoly would have negatively affected Brailey. according to both accounts. she boldly told him that the spirits were displeased at his oppression of the people.127 According to some accounts.128” Carl Bock describes another incident in the same time period.Woodhouse Chapter 2 Thipkraisorn. 125 126 Page 71 . in which it is not the uparat. Wilson [an American missionary] stated that when called in to consult the spirits after the late…Second King [uparat] was struck down with sickness.125 Some local observers saw Thipkraisorn as a check against chao Bunthawong. 105. who was ill. 340. who was receptive to the young king’s pro-western stance. and her invitations to share meals and conversation at her home. 145. including Hildebrand. London: William Blackwood & Sons. Ubonwanna. English explorer Hallett states: “As an instance of her [Chao Ubonwanna’s] power. 128 Hallett. but rather Mae Chao Thipkraisorn. or ricespirit. was also a powerful figure in local economic matters. It would appear that in addition to causing offense to “the spirits. Ubonwanna’s capacity as the official royal spirit-medium provided her with unparalleled influence upon Chiang Mai’s political decisions. 167. or second king.

the young Dara Rasami went to live for a time with her aunt Ubonwanna. (ed. How was young Dara Rasami influenced by these two powerful women? We have no direct evidence of Dara’s thoughts or feelings on the subject. these women appear to have prepared young Dara well for the immense 130 131 Ibid. her mother and aunt provided two powerful. as Dara Rasami later took in the children of her deceased nieces and other kinswomen. Though it is suggested that she had to do so out of financial need. giving these two royal sisters an unparalleled level of status and power in Chiang Mai over the course of the later nineteenth century. See Volker Grabowsky’s essay on Ubonwanna in Wongsak Na Chiang Mai. 132 Prani. (How this is reflected in photographs taken during her later life will be discussed in Chapter 4. a certain strength of character and pride is evident in Chao Dara’s demeanor as an adult woman. This pattern will also be evidenced in Chapter 3. Page 72 . Though there is little data that survives to tell us more of the story of these womens’ lives. children were typically sent to live with an aunt or other female relative. 2004.) It is recorded that some time after Mae Chao Thipkraisorn’s death in 1884. high-status role models in her immediate family. 12. Chiang Mai. Thailand: Within Design. the spiritual connections claimed by Ubonwanna appear also to have provided the sisters with a convenient vector of political control. 268.131 I contend that it is more likely in keeping with another Lan Na social practice: upon the death of the mother. young Dara Rasami’s early life was exceptional.Woodhouse Chapter 2 Ubonwanna’s distillery business.130 Thus.) ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lanna Women]. nonetheless. it is hard to ignore the fact of their centrality in Dara Rasami’s upbringing.132 Certainly in the context of her immediate family. Between them. but in terms of her exposure to Lan Na women’s already comparatively high level of agency.

as well as Rangoon (Burma). as you know. for she is. as Dara Rasami’s career trajectory in the palace eventually bears out.9 December 1933]. 2. and the Foreign Office in London (including the “Political and Secret” records housed at the British Library) reveals that Dara Rasami herself registered only faintly on the consciousness of British diplomatic officers in Siam. the consul at Bangkok. Chiang Mai: [Central City].๙ธันวาคม ๒๔๗๖ [Biography of Phra Rajajaya Jao Dara Rasami. Several Thai authors note that no records of such an offer exist in the Thai archive. the only true heiress-apparent of Chiengmai – though it may be said that here. was another important step [in the extension of Siamese control into the region]. some disdain on the part of the British consular officials towards her. พระประวัติ์พระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศมี ๒๖ สิงหาคม ๒๔๑๖ . if any. to Gould. the India Office at Calcutta.5 Dara Rasami. about two years ago. the child. William Archer. but what about the British side? A focused search of the records of the British Consuls at Bangkok and Chiang Mai. The best Thai-language source133 states that “a British official from southern Burma approached King Inthawichyanon [of Chiang Mai] in 1881” to sound him out as to an offer of adoption. the succession is by no means necessarily by descent.Woodhouse Chapter 2 personal and political challenges which awaited her in the Bangkok palace. Still. of the Princess might justly be looked upon as the rightful Saengdao na Chiang Mai. One of the few mentions of her found in the British consular records of the period indicates. even more than in Siam. The marriage of the daughter of the Chief of Chiengmai with the King [of Siam]. 1974. if anything. In an 1888 letter from the British consulate in Chiang Mai. 26 August. 1873 . 133 Page 73 . Rumors and Realigning Allegiances It was around this time (1881-2) that the rumors of an offer of adoption from Queen Victoria to Dara Rasami originate.

it is doubtful that she herself could have invented and perpetuated such a story. such cosmopolitan awareness is not 134 135 136 B. as it hints at other actors and motives. located outside Chiang Mai in Mae Rim)..N. Saengdao. the question of the adoption rumor persists. Inthawichyanon.135 As Dara Rasami was only eight or nine years old when the adoption rumor began to circulate. ibid. and Ubonwanna – and western visitors over the prior decade. B. as do local Chiang Mai sources (such as the museum created from Dara’s last home. the war. F. but I am told that there is thought to be little chance of any issue…134 Chapter 2 Nonetheless. ข.Woodhouse future ruler of Chiengmai. November 12. 69/117. there were others in Chiang Mai capable of concocting the story. Lowndes notes that Inthawichyanon had “…asked about the Queen. one Thai account credits Dara Rasami herself as the source of the rumor. However.. 69/55.N. illustrating that the Chiang Mai nobility were cognizant of England’s Queen Victoria. 12.A. Lowndes’ Journal … (1871). Why would such a rumor have been invented. the fact of the rumor’s untruth makes it even more historically interesting. where did the rumor come from? Rather than undermining its significance.A. Page 74 . F.136 With the numerous contacts between Chiang Mai nobles – especially Thipkraisorn.O. and my own personal affairs” during his 1871 journey to Chiang Mai. Though there is little data to support a definitive answer. If the British never even considered making such an offer. Nearly every Thai-language biography of Dara Rasami mentions it.. and whose interests did it serve? The answer to these questions provides new insight into the imperialist pressures felt by both Lan Na and Siam in the latter nineteenth century. 1888.O.

to act as his emissary to Inthawichyanon.139 The uniqueness of this offer necessitated that Chulalongkorn secured the promise of the Chiang Mai royal family to “[keep] this a private matter. The new commissioner brought diamond earrings and matching bracelet up to Chiang Mai as a gift for Dara Rasami. 137 138 Lawaan Chotamra. ibid. as the accepted practice among Siamese noble families was to “gift” women to the king as consorts. แก้วชิงดวง [Crystal Flowers]. King Chulalongkorn ordered his half-brother (and new commissioner to Chiang Mai). [Bangkok : n. in Wongsak na Chiang Mai (ed. “พระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศม:ี พระประวัติ [Queen Dara Rasami: Biography].138 Such an offer was highly unusual. Holt Hallett notes the western utensils used at a dinner party thrown by Ubonwanna in 1886. 332-34.”140 Certainly it would have been difficult to explain to the dozens of other noble families who had not themselves received such an offer. 2004.137 Most likely Dara Rasami’s parents – Mae Chao Thipkraisorn and Chao Luang Inthawichyanon – invented the story as a means of improving their political currency with the Siamese. along with a letter from Chulalongkorn to her father soliciting her hand in marriage.Woodhouse Chapter 2 surprising. Hallett. ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lanna Women]. Soon after this rumor reached royal ears in Bangkok in 1882. 124- วันประจำ [Royal Daily Record]. Thailand: Within Design. Indeed. 140 Lawaan. According to Thai sources. it nonetheless succeeded.]. this is the only instance in which King Chulalongkorn asked a family to send a consort to serve in the palace.” pp. Chiang Mai. 139 134. prompting Bangkok to upgrade the status of Chiang Mai’s rulership. 125. Chao Phraya Phichit Prichagon.. 334-35. เดือนยี่ (Late July-early August 1883).d.). Page 75 . วันเสาร์แรมสามค่ำ. cites the จดหมายเห็ตุพระราชากิจราย Nattakan Limsataphon. Even if this wasn’t the strategy.

68-72. Prani. should not be discounted entirely. The purpose of this journey was to present Dara Rasami for service as a consort to King Chulalongkorn in the Inner Palace. while otherwise unverifiable. The trip was timed to coincide with the events held to celebrate the appointment of Chulalongkorn’s son. I must qualify this source as problematic. Chulalongkorn also presented King Inthawichyanon with Prani. ibid. Vajirunhit. was received with great fanfare. either documentary or oral (which is not inconsistent with many published historical works in Thailand as a whole). Inthawichyanon was allowed to ride in a prominent position (with the highest members of Siamese high royalty. The work appears to be written from data culled from oral interviews of and apocryphal data related by various informants and/or their descendants in Chiang Mai.Woodhouse Chapter 2 A few years later in 1886. 9. 143 See Saengdao. thirteen-year-old Dara Rasami stepped aboard a houseboat to accompany her father. What is noteworthy here is that Inthawichyanon was the only ruler of a Siamese prathet sarat (tributary kingdom) to participate in these events. according to several Chiang Mai sources. 9-10. Dara Rasami’s arrival in Bangkok. Two months later.141 After her boat was received by King Chulalongkorn at Ayutthaya (about forty miles upstream from Bangkok). as it provides no source for this information. the King’s own brothers and sisters) at the front of the procession of royalty celebrating Crown Prince Vajirunhit’s promotion through Bangkok in November of 1886. it provides unique data which. in January of 1887. down the river on his semi-annual visit to Bangkok. However. Inthawichyanon. to the rank of Crown Prince – events in which Dara Rasami’s father would play a special role. she was feted at the summer palace Bang Pa-In with a grand feast attended by a number of the Chakri nobility. as this source is the only one of its kind in terms of local Chiang Mai history. however. marching seventeenth in the procession of royals. 141 142 Page 76 . Saengdao.143 King Inthawichyanon also participated in the “water blessing” ceremony for the Crown Prince.142 Having safely delivered Dara Rasami to Bangkok.

144 It appears that Inthawichyanon and Thipkraisorn’s gambit – the circulation of rumors of Queen Victoria’s desire to adopt Dara Rasami – had succeeded. is another matter entirely. much to the benefit of the Chiang Mai royal family. though she had been deceased since 1884. however. Ibid. he was the only ruler of any of Siam’s tributary kingdoms to receive this honor during Chulalongkorn’s reign. 144 Page 77 . 145 Had Chiang Mai’s rulers exercised fewer. there were only two more local rulers of the Chiang Mai royal line. and managed to avoid the numerous rebellions that broke out in response.145 This marriage offer demonstrates the increasing pressures on northern territories being felt by Chulalongkorn in the 1880s. did not represent a tidy resolution to the situation. Dara Rasami’s role in this struggle as both hostage and diplomat will serve as a window into the social and political functions of the royal women of the Siamese palace.Woodhouse Chapter 2 the medal of the Order of Chula Chom Klao. they may have had a better chance at resisting Siam’s increasing involvement in the region. In the next chapter. however. Thipkraisorn. Once the young princess was presented to the Siamese monarch. the struggle between the kingdoms would continue to play out in the politics of the Siamese Inner Palace as well. He also requested the promotion of Dara Rasami’s mother. but the Siamese gradually reduced their rulership from that of kings to local “governors.” who ruled alongside the Siamese provincial administrator. and the continuance of Mongkut’s policy of appeasement towards the northern rulership. less exploitive taxes on their populace.. 150. also Phonsiri. After Inthawichyanon’s reign. The King’s offer of engagement to Dara Rasami. Whether these intrigues ultimately worked in favor the interests of their subjects (or the future sovereignty of Lan Na).

Mahotraprathet 6. Chao Kaeo Naowarat Reign Years: 1782-1796 1796-1813 1815-1821 1805-1823 1823-1825 1826-1846 1847-1854 1856-1870 1873-1896 1901-1909 1911-1939 City: Lampang. Chao Chet Ton Dynasty of Lan Na Name: 1.Woodhouse Appendix 1. Thammalangka 3. Kawila 2. Phuttawong 5. Kawilorot 7. Intawarorot 9. Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Lamphun Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Chiang Mai Chapter 2 Page 78 . Inthawichyanon 8. Khamfan 4. etc.

Page 79 .1 ~ Map of the Lan Na Region within Mainland Southeast Asia Chapter 2 Source: Conway 2002.Woodhouse Illustration 2.

and his many consorts. Here the houses of the royal princesses. and relatives of the king. and groups of fine trees scattered over miniature lawns and beautiful flower-gardens. exercising both political and spiritual authority over the state. brokers. . This woman’s city is as self-supporting as any other in the world: it has its own laws. the center of political power in Siam. the king’s power was thought to radiate outward towards the peripheries of the kingdom. 1991. prisons. and Susan Morgan. . its judges. . artificial lakes. his ministers and officials. with their numerous slaves and personal attendants. In this city live none but women and children. Cambridge [Eng. its markets. – Anna Leonowens1 Chapter 3 Anna Leonowens. Not far from this is another semicircular space surrounded by a high wall . with small parks. . the Royal Palace in Bangkok functioned as the sacral. and every function of every nature is exercised by women. or Veiled Women. the wives. and mechanics of every kind and degree.]. 2 Tambiah. merchants. form regular streets and avenues. Siam’s monarch ruled as a dharma-raja (righteous Buddhist king). above provides a vivid description of the nineteenth-century palace in Bangkok. As the home of the monarch.Woodhouse Chapter 3. Into the Palace: Binding Siam Via the Circulation of Bodies The [Siamese] grand palace and royal harem are situated on the right hand as you ascend the river. and by them only. New York: Cambridge University Press. World Conqueror and World Renouncer: A Study of Buddhism and Polity in Thailand Against a Historical Background.2 From this center. Stanley Jeyaraja. Anna Harriette. concubines. 1 Page 80 . Leonowens. one of only a handful of Westerners ever granted access to the Siamese Inner Palace. teachers. and executioners. political and social heart of the polity. 1976. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia. . . The Romance of the Harem. guards. [H]ere stands the city of the Nang Harm. These are the residences of the princesses of Siam . police.

officials and administrators. Why are palace women absent from the picture of Siamese political history? Western historians traced dynastic histories patriarchally. which began with Anna Leonowens in the 1870s.to late-nineteenth century. the absence of women in histories of Siamese political activity points to a dichotomy described by Michelle Rosaldo as a “universal opposition between ‘domestic’ and ‘public’ roles that is See especially Bunnag (1977). without regard to the names or lineages of queens. while providing important foundational literature on Siam’s politics and history. From a feminist studies standpoint. In addition. his advisors.3 This scholarship. Siam’s elite historians in turn minimized the roles of royal women in Siam’s political life. the field of gender studies has prompted scholars to ask “where are women?” in our historical analyses. our understanding of Siamese political power remains incomplete. 1984) on nineteenth-century Thai history. At the same time. the Western notion of the backwardness of polygamy. princesses and consorts.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Though many historical studies have focused on the social and administrative change enacted by Siam’s kings in the mid. Battye (1874). 3 Page 81 . has ignored a crucial component of Siamese political power: the role and influence of Inner Palace women. Terwiel (2003) and Wyatt’s works (1972. In adopting this model of historiography in the late nineteenth century. The established canon of scholarship on nineteenth-century Siamese political history depicts an arena dominated by the male players of the Siamese Palace: the king. dovetailed with the 1970s Marxist emphasis on “history from below” to effectively excise elite women from any legitimate role in Siam’s political or social history. Brailey (1968).

Barbara Watson. applying Rosaldo’s notion of the opposition between “public” and “domestic” is highly problematic in the historical contexts of both Siam and Southeast Asia more broadly. the categories of “public” and “domestic” were much more fluid and flexible Rosaldo.”5 This understanding of “inside/outside” in Southeast Asian cultures helps to explain Siamese palace women’s access to a level of “authority. and Joan Bamberger. Michelle Zimbalist. confined to the domestic sphere. Rather. Honolulu: Center for Southeast Asian Studies. she supports the assertions of Shelly Errington and Janet Hoskins that indigenous gender differentiation as expressed in Southeast Asia was “dialectical. do not have access to the sorts of authority. while the masculine is associated with “outside/above. 1974.” She suggests further that. 235. and Society. Calif: Stanford University Press. and the avenues by which women gain prestige and a sense of value are often shaped and limited by their association with the domestic world. Moreover. Louise Lamphere. given this imbalance. Gender and History in Early Modern Southeast Asia.” She suggests that “inside/below” is associated with the feminine in Southeast Asia. prestige. Barbara Watson Andaya argues that “ideas of female seclusion … in fact tapped deep cultural veins which had long drawn connections between ‘innerness’ and being female. Women. interdependent and relatively egalitarian rather than hierarchical. in nineteenthcentury Siam. Stanford. Other Pasts: Women.4 However. University of Hawai'i at Mânoa. 4 Page 82 . 2000. the exercise of power by women is often seen as illegitimate. and cultural value that are the prerogatives of men. In Other Pasts (2000). 5 Andaya. Culture.Woodhouse Chapter 3 necessarily asymmetrical.” but without making one inferior to the other. and cultural value” as great or greater than that enjoyed by Siamese noblemen. Woman. prestige.

333-353. “Sex in the Inner City: The Fidelity Between Sex and Politics in Siam. 881-909.” in Other Pasts. Rather than position this study to recover the public and therefore political aspects of Siam’s royal women. in order to restore palace women’s considerable influence to the arena of legitimate political power. but also the circulation of women’s bodies to the center as consorts These scholars have contributed several important articles and book chapters to the topic of Siam’s palace women. No. 2. “Of Consorts and Harlots in Thai Popular History. I intend instead to restore the private or domestic sphere of the Inner Palace to our concept of Siamese politics. No. Andaya. ed. 4. Such a re-orientation legitimizes the kinship ties and personal relationships that bound the peripheries of the kingdom to its center not only via the circulation of male administrators outward to peripheral territories. Junko Koizumi’s “From A Water Buffalo to a Human Being: Women and the Family in Siamese History.6 the thrust of my project is very different. To complete our historical picture of Siam’s pre-modern and early modern political world. However.Woodhouse Chapter 3 – if they signified at all – than they have become in the intervening hundred years. while the activities of royal women were rendered entirely within the realm of private domesticity.” Journal of Asian Studies 57. an investigation of the lives and roles of Inner Palace women demonstrates that Siamese political life was far more complex than such a dichotomy allows..” Journal of Asian Studies 64. For generations Western and Thai historians alike have unconsciously reproduced the false dichotomy between public and private: Siamese history and politics were conflated with the activities of men in the public sphere. Though scholars like Tamara Loos. we must complicate our understanding of what constitutes the “public” or “private” spheres. Hong Lysa and Junko Koizumi have in the past decade begun the task of unpacking the political and legal significance of Siam’s elite women. 2000. See particularly Loos’ 2006 article. 6 Page 83 . and Hong Lysa’s 1998 article.

Page 84 . and the circulation of ethnically Siamese male administrators into the peripheral territories. the chapter will conclude with thoughts on the significance of Chao Dara Rasami’s political role as a link between the Lan Na kingdom and Siam in the late nineteenth century. and the binding of the polity through both the collection of ethnically different consorts in the royal palace. and how these political ties influenced their treatment in the palace. To provide this context. and how a palace woman could be punished for breaking the rules. Part three examines the function of the Siamese Royal Palace as a crucible of Siamese culture. It is within this context that Princess Dara Rasami’s role within the Siamese palace becomes visible. The fourth section addresses the political function of those palace women (like Dara Rasami) sent from the kingdom’s peripheries to ensure the loyalties of their home kingdoms. and Dara Rasami’s role in the spatial representation of rank and status within the palace. Lastly. The fifth section will address the issue of transgression within the Inner Palace: how the bodies of elite women were constrained and policed. The next section will address the representation of rank and status in the space of the Inner Palace. this chapter will examine the workings of life within the Inner Palace in order to attempt to understand the entwined issues of social capital and circulation in Siamese court culture. The first section will trace the establishment of Siam’s Royal Palace in the Rattanakosin Era. at the same time illuminating the socio-political relations at work in the Inner Palace.Woodhouse Chapter 3 and queens. and the opportunities it represented for both common and elite women to build careers and social capital within the Palace. the social coding of palace womens’ seclusion as eliteness.

No. and what was its role in this relationship? How did it evolve over time. 7 8 Page 85 . and how did its shape reflect the political concerns of the Chakri monarchy? The chronic scarcity of humanpower in mainland Southeast Asia brought about notions of kingship in which control of populations was paramount.” with outsiders looking to their Inner Palace connections as means of gaining currency with the King himself. “Merit and Power in the Thai Social Order. with each consort/royal woman anchoring her own entourage in turn..e. Hanks. the Inner Palace contained a well-established system of social and political mobility that was rapidly reaching its apotheosis under King Chulalongkorn. What was the role of the monarch – and hence the palace – in Siamese society? Where did the institution of the Inner Palace originate. Male and Female Chapter 3 By the Fifth Reign of the Chakri Dynasty in Bangkok (1868 – 1910).1 Binding the Kingdom Via the Circulation of Bodies. Lucien M.Woodhouse 3. 6 (1962): 1247-61. These entourages provided intersections of influence between the peripheries “outside” and the capital center “inside. hierarchical networks of patron-client relationships. Polygyny (which denotes “a polygamous marriage in which a man has more than one wife”) had been practiced by the monarchs of mainland Southeast Asian polities long See Tambiah (1976). But let us look back for a moment to consider the historical context of the Inner Palace in Bangkok. Siam’s model of traditional rulership adapted the concept of dharma raja7 from their Khmer neighbors.” American Anthropologist 64. the palace functioned as the innermost entourage in Siamese society. i.8 With the king as the ultimate patron of all Siamese subjects. The dharma raja controlled humanpower mainly through the exercise of “entourage and circle” (a la Lucien Hanks).

Siam’s former capital was reduced to a smoldering ruin. as we saw in the last chapter. Siamese palace life essentially re-started in the 1780s. Having recently experienced the total destruction of their former capital. as the Siamese built a new capital at Bangkok. General Taksin gathered the surviving Siamese nobility to establish a new capital at Thonburi. Over the next few years. the Chakri nobility was concerned with consolidating their political loyalties in the region. 2008. the newly established Chakri rulers were intensely concerned with re-building and preserving the security of their new capital.) The high priority of regional security shaped both the population of the Inner Palace and the fledgling Chakri dynasty’s external political practices in the early Bangkok Period. its elite class and much of Siamese literature and high culture decimated. which they proceeded to do in a number 9 Definition of polygyny from New Oxford American Dictionary. Page 86 .9 Like the monarchs of Lan Na seen in the last chapter. the capital was relocated to the east across the Chao Phraya River. Thus. With the Burmese sack of Ayutthaya in 1767. With the succession of the Chakri family to the throne in 1782. As the control of humanpower (or the lack thereof) had been a major problem in protecting the old capital at Ayutthaya. the Siamese royalty had also practiced polygyny throughout the Sukhothai and Ayutthaya eras. (This concern prompted the Siamese to assist the Lan Na rulers in ousting the Burmese from the northern territories as well. and a new palace was built in the Rattanakosin district of what is now considered “old” Bangkok.Woodhouse Chapter 3 before the Rattanakosin (or Bangkok) era began.

1873. 10 13 พระราชบญญาตสำรับข่าหลวงชำระ ความหัวเมือง [Act of Provincial Commissioner Justice].12 At first. Laksana Aya Luang (Crimes Against the Government). They also installed a legal official entitled yokkrabat in each provincial capital. such marriages between Bangkok administrators and local elite women risked replicating the dangerous conditions at the peripheries which had led to the fall of Ayutthaya.”11 Secondly. while the chief minister of the northern region was the Samuha Nayok. 12 The chief minister of the south was known as the Samuha Kalahom. The Organization of Thai Society in the Early Bangkok Period.Y: Southeast Asia Program. thus mirroring and reinforcing the pattern of familial connection established by the circulation of female bodies to Siam’s center. N. King Chulalongkorn handed down the Act of Provincial Commissioner Justice forbidding Siamese administrators from marrying local noblewomen. 11 Clause 139. Ithaca. the Chakri court centralized its administrative control over these new provincial administrators. PK.. 443-444 (as cited in Akin 1969). Vol. pp. creating separate chief ministers to oversee the provinces: the Mahat Thai minister supervising the north and the Kalahom supervising the southern provinces. Though the Chakri kings had taken control of distant provinces out of the hands of local elites.13 This act was intended to prevent the Siamese administrator from becoming enmeshed in the interests of local elites. and replacing them with officials sent from Bangkok.10 Firstly. Akin. p. In 1873. to act as both local legal representative of the King and his de facto spy. vol.Woodhouse Chapter 3 of new ways. 1969. Number 74. 27. removing local princes from their administrative posts. the Siamese administrators to the peripheries were allowed to marry into local ruling families. Rabibhadana. II. 1782-1873. A new law proclaimed that if the yokkrabat wished to travel to the capital (Bangkok). they changed the shape of provincial government. “the [local] governor was expressly forbidden from preventing him. Cornell University. Southeast Asia Program Series. Page 87 .

However. was noted for the number of women in his household. rather they served to prevent them from forming marital alliances with the provincial elites and compromising their loyalty to Bangkok. Hence. the stories of Siamese administrators to Chiang Mai (and elsewhere) who kept large numbers of local women as consorts in their households.14 For provincial administrators and officials from Bangkok. the keeping of consorts or concubines. i.e.” Brailey. and rendered their capital vulnerable to Burmese attack. while the elite women of the peripheries became hostages (and sometime diplomats) sent to serve the needs of the Siamese king in distant Bangkok. reportedly. The makeup of the Inner Palace in the early Bangkok era was shaped by concerns for both external security and internal cultural rebuilding. By these means the new Bangkok rulership worked hard to prevent the problems of provincial control which had in the past proved too easily undermined when threatened by invaders. Phra Narin. without official censure (as we saw in the last chapter). the Siamese need for external territorial security was counter-balanced by an intimately internal one: that of rebuilding the elite class and the institution of the palace itself. one of the earliest Siamese administrators to Chiang Mai. 216.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Notably it did nothing to preclude extra-marital relationships. The following cursory analysis of the Inner Palace population will provide a new perspective on the political role of palace women. As mentioned in Chapter 2. According to Brailey. “One of the best bribes in a case to be tried before him was. these rules were not intended to curtail their sexual behavior. 14 Page 88 . At the same time however. this act also functioned to undermine the older patterns of reciprocal exchange of bodies between the center and its peripheries: Siamese administrators were relegated to the role of perpetual outsider (and harem keeper).. who both shaped and reflected the Chakri dynasty’s political fortunes over time. the offer of an addition to his harem which grew to almost unmanageable proportions.

ศ. 16 See Sara Miphonkit. Here lies an interesting counterpoint: the circulation of male Siamese bodies outward from the center to govern the peripheries. 22. But what is most notable about the makeup of palace women during this reign is the preponderance of women from beyond Bangkok: fully thirty-five percent of the women serving in the Inner Palace in this Reign come from provincial or distant tributary regions. 15 Of the consorts in this Inner Palace. four were the daughters of provincial rulers. 2394-2468 [Siamese Court Ladies from the Reign of King Mongkut to King Vajiravudh A.Woodhouse Chapter 3 At the advent of the new capital at Bangkok. Page 89 .” and three were of unknown origin. “สตรีในราชสำนั กสยามตั้ง แต่รัชกาลพระบาทสมเด็จพระจอมเกล้าเจ้ าอยู่หัวถึ ง รัช กาล 15 พระบาทสมเด็จพระมงกุฎ เกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว พ. as well.D. another seven women were the daughters of various nobility based in Bangkok. two more came from the prathet sarat (tributary kingdoms) of Lan Na and Lan Xang. Thailand.” Master’s thesis. Department of History.) This practice clearly reflects the early Chakri court’s need to re-establish its ties with neighboring regions. with a simultaneous circulation of female bodies from the King Phra Phutta Yotfa reigned 1782-1809. Silpakorn University. See Appendix 1 for a complete list of Chakri monarchs and their reign dates. Bangkok.16 It is understandable given the recent destruction of the court at Ayutthaya that there were few women of royal blood available to serve as consorts during this reign. 1851 – 1925]. Here we can parallel Bangkok’s practice of assigning governors to its provinces with the importation of provincial women into the palace via marital alliance. It appears that the nearest royal relative available was the granddaughter of an Ayutthayan consort. one woman was described as the daughter of “wealthy Chinese. the first Chakri monarch had a total of seventeen consorts. (Let us not forget the marital alliance between Lan Na King Kawila’s sister and the brother of the first Chakri king in the 1780s.

The above accounts illustrate that as Siam’s position in the region grew increasingly secure. Siam’s security was reflected in the Sara Miphongkit. By the Second Reign. Ibid. But in particular. the numbers skew even further towards local nobility.Woodhouse Chapter 3 peripheries towards the center to ensure the loyalties of the outlying tributaries. with twenty-two women from local families versus four from the provinces among the total number of twenty-eight. while the number of daughters of Bangkok nobility rose to thirteen of eighteen royal consorts. the makeup of the Inner Palace shifted from reign to reign. which was in turn reflected in the makeup of the Inner Palace. These circulations indicate the centrality of bodies – echoing Foucault’s notion of blood ties – to the traditional structure of Siamese political power.18 Bangkok began to grow increasingly confident in the strength of its position in the region. that of King Mongkut (1856-1868). Siam recognized the decreased military might of its former rival. however. at the same time Western imperialism began to impinge on Siam’s boundaries.17 By the Third Reign. 17 18 Page 90 . 1809-1824) the Inner Palace counted only three provincial consorts. with a total of fifty-three consorts. this pattern of circulation reflects the inextricability of local elite women’s bodies to the literal reproduction of the Siamese kingdom. (King Phra Phutta Lert La. the extent of the Inner Palace grew as well. which could only be accomplished satisfactorily in Bangkok. Once the new court found its footing. In this reign. See Ni Ni Myint (1983) and Furnivall (1939) for excellent accounts of British involvement in Burma in the nineteenth century. During the Fourth Reign. the population of the Inner Palace surged to its greatest number to date. With the victory of the British over the Burmese in the First Anglo-Burmese War of 1825. As Burma receded as Siam’s biggest security threat in the 1820s. not out in the provinces.

But the vast majority of royal consorts were local women: women from either the royal family itself. who was perceived as younger and more virile.19 (He even complained that he was not given as many women as the uparat (second king). he had access to a sizable pool of royal-born women from which to choose consorts when he succeeded the throne. the population of women – particularly women of royal blood – in the Inner Palace surged exponentially during a relatively short period of time. Having reached a sort of critical mass. Sawang Watthana. Bangkok: Loma Holding Company. Bangkok: Siam Society. 21 Sara Miphongit. 54. 22 Mongkut’s son by Queen Thepsirin was Chulalongkorn. in the Fourth Reign. another was from Cambodia (which at that moment was still under nominal Siamese control). and another Malay (Lingga). they were also the mothers of the next generation’s king and his high queens. M.22 Thus from the start of Mongkut’s reign. A Royal Album. 2000. King Mongkut. Jeffrey.21 Three of Mongkut’s highest consorts granted the rank of high queen were daughters of the prior king. this group was in need of further differentiation. or the noble families of Bangkok. 20 Seni Pramoj. Only two were women of tributary kingdoms (Lan Na and Lan Xang). R. 213. seemed eager to make up for the twenty-seven years he had spent as a Buddhist monk during his brother’s reign. 18-40. and Sunanta Kumarirat. A King of Siam Speaks. 1987. who were Chulalongkorn’s three highest-status wives. however. fathering sixty-five children by thirty-two of his consorts over the span of his seventeen-year reign. that the various ranks of queen began to be utilized. Kukrit Pramoj. the Children and Grandchildren of King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam. Mongkut’s three daughters by Queen Phiyama Wadi were Saowapha Phongsri. who ascended the Siamese throne in 1856 at the age of forty-seven.Woodhouse Chapter 3 ever-shrinking percentage of women from its peripheries present in the Inner Palace. who succeeded the throne to become Rama V.20) Most notably. Mongkut. Though the See Finestone. 19 Page 91 . it was at this point.


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Fourth Reign still demonstrated a long geographical reach, as reflected in the presence of consorts from Cambodian, Lao and Malay kingdoms,23 the makeup of the Inner Palace demonstrates that the locus of Siamese power rested solidly within the Bangkok nobility itself. This trend continued in the following reign, that of King Chulalongkorn. Chulalongkorn’s reign, frequently referred to as the Fifth Reign, was a very long one. Compared to his father Mongkut, who reigned seventeen years, Chulalongkorn (Rama V) reigned a long forty-one years (1868-1910). Chulalongkorn’s Inner Palace grew to 153 consorts, three of whom – like Dara Rasami – came from peripheral, tributary kingdoms.24 Though the number of such provincial consorts represented in the Siamese Royal Palace made up a mere four percent of the (exceptionally high) total population, their number is larger than at any time during the two prior reigns (since the 1830s). What does this indicate about the regional context surrounding Siam in the later nineteenth century? Though Siam’s political position in mainland Southeast Asia in the last quarter of the nineteenth century grew increasingly secure against its old enemies, a new and formidable threat had crept into the picture: European imperialism. As the English gradually moved into Burma to Siam’s west, the French moved into Cambodia on the east, slowly but surely replacing Siam’s traditional enemies with outposts under European imperial control. As I will discuss later on in this chapter, Dara Rasami’s presence in the Inner Palace provided Siam with its own buffer state – Lan Na – against British encroachment.
Mongkut had two daughters by Princess Numan of Vieng Chan (Vientiane), Laos; neither became a consort of the next king (Chulalongkorn). See Finestone, Jeffrey. The Royal Family of Thailand: The Descendants of King Chulalongkorn. Bangkok: Phitsanulok Publishing Co., Ltd, 1989. 24 Finestone (2000), 64-72.

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In a royal culture informed by sakdi na rank and the dharma raja concept, physical space played a central role in the expression of royal power and social hierarchy. The next section will explore how the circulation of bodies within the space of the palace both expressed and reinforced differences in rank among Siam’s palace women.

3.2 Space, Status and Circulation in the Siamese Palace The walls of the Royal Palace in Bangkok delineated three discrete areas. (See Illustration 3.1.) The Wang Na (Outer Palace), contained the offices of administrative and military officials and staff; the Wang Klang (Middle Palace), contained the royal audience halls in which the business of the kingdom was conducted, as well as the king’s residence.25 Lastly, and within a second set of walls, the Wang Nai (Inner Palace) housed the many royal women of the fai nai (Inner Group): consorts and their entourages, children, cooks, servants, guards, and go-betweens. With “…its own laws, its judges, police, guards, prisons, and executioners, its markets, merchants, brokers, teachers, and mechanics of every kind and degree...,”26 as Leonowens described in the epigraph to this chapter, the Inner Palace was an autonomous female world. How do we make sense of gender within the hyper-female space of the Inner Palace? As mentioned earlier in this chapter, Barbara Watson Andaya argues in Other Pasts (2000) that “ideas of female seclusion … tapped deep cultural veins which had long drawn
In the past, the Front or Outer Palace was also the residence of the Uparat (Second King), but in the Fourth Reign a separate residence for the Uparat was built off the palace grounds nearby. These palace buildings, now adjacent to Thammasat University and Sanam Luang, now house the National Museum of Thailand. 26 Leonowens, Anna Harriette, and Susan Morgan. The Romance of the Harem. Charlottesville: University Press of Virginia, 1991.

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Woodhouse connections between ‘innerness’ and being female.” Thus in Siam as elsewhere in

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Southeast Asia, “inside/below” is associated with the feminine, while the masculine is associated with “outside/above,” but without rendering one inferior to the other.27 For our purposes, the Siamese Inner Palace corresponds to broader Southeast Asian notions of femaleness and interiority. However, whereas women’s movements beyond such interiors were permitted in other Southeast Asian contexts, elite female circulation outside the quarters of the Siamese Inner Palace was highly restricted. What drove these restrictions on women’s physical circulation? I agree with Tamara Loos that “[a]n individual’s social status, rather than simply membership in a transclass gender category, determined gender norms and legal prohibitions for men and women in Siam.”28 In other words, class trumped gender in the Siamese context. As the potential mothers of Siam’s next monarch, consorts’ bodies were not to circulate freely: their sexual circulation had to be restricted exclusively to the domain of the king. The high value of their social currency translated into limits on their physical circulation. During the Ayutthayan era (C.E. 1350 - 1766) Siamese royal women were not sequestered;29 elite women were restricted to the Inner Palace only beginning with the Rattanakosin Era (1782-present). Over the course of the Rattanakosin Era the sequestration of elite women became socially coded, and the near-invisibility of high27

Andaya, Barbara Watson. Other Pasts : Women, Gender and History in Early Modern Southeast Asia. Honolulu: Center for Southeast Asian Studies, University of Hawai’i at Mânoa, 2000, 235. 28 Loos, Tamara. “Sex in the Inner City: The Fidelity Between Sex and Politics in Siam.” Journal of Asian Studies 64, no. 4 (2005): 881-909. 29 Chakrabongse, Chula. Lords of Life: a History of the Kings of Thailand. Bangkok: DD Books, 1982.

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ranking palace women became synonymous with their eliteness. Considering the perpetual shortage of humanpower common to mainland Southeast Asia, coupled with the difficulty of the daily lives of many Siamese women laboring in the fields or marketplace, such limited circulation must have seemed a luxurious state to which most could only aspire. Additionally, an analysis of the social value of “the Inside” should not overlook the immense spiritual status accorded to those living in such close proximity to the sacred person of the dharma raja, the king himself. It follows that those who enjoyed the highest status in the Inner Palace were not able to circulate as freely as those of lesser status. Of the fai nai (Inner Group), those who had the greatest freedom of physical movement between the Inner Palace and the outside world were the lowest-ranking members of the royal households: guards, servants, cooks, and go-betweens. These women would have been free to enter and exit the palace gates as necessary to complete their assigned errands, giving them the greatest physical freedom of any of the women living within the palace. Some servant women – excluded from being selected as a chao chom – even had husbands and families living elsewhere in the city, outside the palace grounds. Indeed, for the highest-status royal consorts and queens, the very fact of their invisibility (and corresponding inaccessibility) to the outside world was a sign of their royal rank. Thai scholar Wannaporn Bunyasathit explains that Inner Palace women were limited to movement between the Inner and Middle Palaces, or, if outside the palace, to various

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Bangkok temples for important ceremonies or seasonal sermons.30 On these occasions, palace women would enter the temple grounds on walkways lined with screens or curtains, and their seating area would be similarly partitioned off, hiding them from the view of the populace – and vice versa. A consort’s movement outside the palace could only be achieved by royal permission, and in the company of an official chaperone (in addition to her customary entourage – an elite woman would be highly unlikely to travel anywhere alone). Additionally, she had to obtain permission to exit the palace to see relatives visiting Bangkok, and she could host visits from only her immediate family members in her own residence within the Inner Palace.31 3.2a. Residence and Status in the Palace The physical layout of Siam’s Royal Palace has a direct bearing on our discussion of space and status among palace women. To make this data more easily understood, a full map of the Palace grounds’ layout is provided in Illustrations 3.1 and 3.3. As described above, palace space was divided into three distinct zones, oriented from north to south. The northernmost zone was the Outer (or Front) Palace; just to the south was the Middle Palace, which contained the king’s residence; and the southernmost zone was that of the Inner Palace, which contained the residences of the many royal women and consorts. Both the Middle and Inner Palaces were enclosed by a second set of walls within that ringing the palace as a whole. These walls were punctuated by gates (see Illustration 3.1) connecting each zone to the outside, and each zone to each other. Looking at the palace map, the
Wannaporn Bunyasathit. จอมนางแห่งสยาม. [Consorts & Wives of Siam]. Bangkok: Sangsan Books, Ltd, 2006, 35.
30 31

N.L.T., ข้อกำหนดฝ่ายในผู้ป ระพฤติมิชอบ จ.ศ.1247, จดหมายเหตุ ร.5 มัดที่ 142, เลขที่ 4.

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33 On the southern side of the building a After the death of King Chulalongkorn in 1910. Sawang Wattana. who was “director” of the Inner Palace until her death in 1904. including Chao Chom Manda Piyam (mother of Saowapha. As is evident from the close-up map of the hall (Illustration 3.2 and 3. was built to house Chulalongkorn’s highest queen (and half-sister) Saowapha Phongsri. and provided the focal point of palace life. The southernmost wing of this building. The Chakri Maha Prasat Palace replaced an earlier royal residence which Chulalongkorn had razed after he ascended the throne in 1868. named the Ratcha Sathitya Holan Residence. and Sunanta). which contained the king’s residence and other rooms. This building.3). Mom Ratchawong. and attended the king personally in high official roles. Its history and spatial position bear further examination here. galleries and towers hybridized with Thai proportions and elements.2). Page 97 . and new structures were built on some of the sites. Many buildings fell into ruin and were razed in the 1950s after the current king (Rama IX) ascended the throne. Its architecture incorporated the Western elements of balustrades. 33 A few of Mongkut’s wives went on to serve in the Inner Palace under Chulalongkorn. and Chao Chom Manda Khien. the “Inner Zone” of the old palace was abandoned. and several other royal female relatives. actually straddled the division between the Middle and Inner Palaces. 141-43. including where the old south wing used to be. 1988. this building functioned to join the two zones of the palace together.32 Women who had been his father’s favorite queens lived in this wing. สถาปัตยกรรม พระบรมมหาราชวัง [Architecture of the Royal Palace].Woodhouse Chapter 3 position of one building in particular may strike the reader as unusual: that of the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall (Illustrations 3. Miphongit. her entourage. Office of the Royal Secretariat: Bangkok. the Chakri Maha Prasat was comprised of three horizontal wings joined by a vertical central hall. As such. who was head of the Inner Palace guards. See Naengnoi 32 Saksing. with its more publicly accessible audience halls on the northern side and private residences on the southern side.

222. 3. ultimately resulting in an over-crowded situation. Chakrabongse. the king slept.3) After Queen Sawang Wattana. 3. the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall provided the focal site for Inner Palace affairs.Woodhouse Chapter 3 wide veranda and garden named Suan Sawaan (Heavenly Garden) opened onto the Inner Palace. where it still stands today (more on this in a moment). ponds and fountains of the Inner Palace were sacrificed for these residences. who lived in consorts’ residences). 95. At the margins of the Inner Palace were the long buildings of the Tao Teng (Illus. Page 98 .”34 Dara Rasami’s residence was located within this high-status quadrant. ate meals in the company of his wives and children. Immediately adjacent to the Maha Chakri Prasat Hall were the residences of the highest-status women of the Inner Palace. literally “row houses” for middle-status women entitled to own residences (higher than ladies-in-waiting. and the barracks of the female Inner Palace guards (Illus. In this building. the residence of the next highest Queen Sukhumala Marasri (Illus. The green spaces. Vol 1. King Chulalongkorn had a total of seventy-six children by thirty-six consorts. number 3) connected to the Chakri Maha Prasat via an arched walkway called the “upper bridge.3. These residents functioned as de facto 34 35 Naengnoi. and conducted royal business. facing the residences of the highest royal consorts. This hall was also where the women of the Inner Palace – some of whom might otherwise rarely see him face to face – appeared in daily audiences before the king (more on this later). As the building which housed the king and much of his activity. number 14).3.35 myriad new houses were constructed in this space over the course of the latter nineteenth century.. number 16). (See Illustration 3. As more consorts bore royal children and obtained their own residences.3. 3.

It was built in the latest Italianate-cum-Siamese style. facing the southern veranda of Chakri Maha Prasat Hall. 1889 Dara Rasami was granted her own separate residence within the Inner Palace. 44-48.) 36 Contemporary photographs of the interiors of this residence are featured in Nongyao Kanchanachari’s official biography.3.3.Woodhouse Chapter 3 secondary guards. These residences allowed women with official status a separate home of their own within the palace – no small thing. 1990. Using funds provided by her father. Page 99 . in the increasingly crowded space of the Fifth Reign Inner Palace. The mansion was painted pink and green in the style popular at the time.4 for a photo of the building as it stands today. 1-5 for comparison). Dara Rasami’s new residence was constructed to maximize the prestige of the Chiang Mai royals.36 (See Illustration 3. no’s. surveilling the edges of the Inner Palace nearest the outermost walls and gates. it was located in the same sector as their residences. and stood at three stories. it was on the important occasion of a royal child’s birth that a consort’s rank was upgraded to that of chao chom manda. and she was usually granted her own residence. with elaborate detail framing the windows on each floor. (See Illustration 3. Its large windows were flanked by shutters on all three floors. Though the parcel of land granted for Dara Rasami’s residence was not as large as those granted to Chulalongkorn’s highest-ranking queens (see Illustration 3. With an Introduction by Princess Kalayani Wattana]. number 6. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University. ดารารัศมี พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี พร้อมพระนิพนธ์คำปรารภ โดย สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอเจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา [Queen Dara Rasami: A Biography. Upon the birth of her daughter in October. her residence was an imposing structure designed to take up the entire lot.) As previously mentioned. King Intawichyanon.

the stature of this residence nonetheless makes clear the status Chiang Mai claimed for itself – and its princess – in Bangkok. p. and ensuring the safety of all dishes delivered to the king (by enclosing them in sealed canvas bags. and demands the acknowledgment of the Siamese royalty.3 The Fundamentals of Life in the Inner Palace Within the myriad households of this highly constrained environment.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Though the new residence was intended to house not only Dara Rasami and her entourage.37 As if in response to the mark of high status accorded Dara Rasami by virtue of its location. The flow of servants Nongyao. 37 38 Page 100 .38 the women’s meals were prepared within their individual households. water. but also any visiting officials from Chiang Mai. etc). Though to describe this structure a discourse of resistance against the Siamese is undoubtedly going too far. Smith (1982). as funded by Chiang Mai. health and hygiene inside the Inner Palace. 3. the residence’s imposing size and up-to-date architecture. 74. and how sex and death were dealt with. The royal cook had the very important responsibility of overseeing the royal kitchens. can be seen as an architectural discourse which proclaims Chiang Mai’s continued strength as Siam’s most prominent prathet sarat (tributary kingdom). who purchased their own foodstuffs and supplies from the myriad small markets ringing the outer Palace walls. 3.3a. its size reflects more than mere utility. Food and Supplies While the king’s meals were prepared in the royal kitchens. how were the basic functions of daily life accomplished? In this section I will examine how palace women of all classes managed to obtain the basic necessities of food. ibid.

many households also produced sweets and other edible treats for sale within the palace. transl. called mieng. the women of the Inner Palace dealt with the body’s natural functions and personal hygiene. [and] dressed as a Chiang Mai woman. ibid.Woodhouse Chapter 3 out of the Palace gates and into the local marketplaces must have been almost constant. As one of the rare venues in which palace women could be seen outside.40 a northern treat allegedly adapted by the Princess to the ingredients available in Bangkok. these markets also became marriage markets where young men and their matchmakers could watch for palace women from good families with whom to contract marriages. Today a variant of this dish can be ordered in Bangkok restaurants.39 In addition to cooking their own meals. Water and Hygiene One might well wonder how. The women who actually did the buying would have been the cooks and servants attached to the households of consorts (rather than the consorts themselves). Dara Rasami’s residence was noted for its special snacks. in an era before indoor plumbing and running water. 39 40 Page 101 . Four Reigns. Mieng is a Lan Na delicacy made from a variety of fillings rolled up together with fermented tea leaves. sometimes from shops set up in the lower floors or rear entrances of the residences. Tulachandra. Kukrit Pramote mentions these snacks specifically in relation to Dara’s residence in the palace: “Chao Dara Rasami’s residence was regarded as stranger than the others entirely.3b. Chiang Mai. 41 Kukrit (1998). making an hors d’ouevre-like snack. spoke northern language throughout the house. [Thailand]: Silkworm Books. and was the only one that always handed out tidbits wrapped in leaves…”41 3. 1998. Many sources have noted the Siamese attention to bodily cleanliness and See Kukrit Pramoj. because the lady wore phasin (skirts) and long hair.

sometimes several times a day. there was also the bathing pool known as “Lady Orathai’s Pond. If a woman was a lady-in-waiting or servant. A Description of the Kingdom of Siam. cooking and putting out fires.” which was located south of the Tao Teng rowhouses. the ladies of the palace were also fond of swimming in the ponds and fountains of the Inner Palace grounds as a pastime to relieve the tropical heat and humidity. 1690. she had to use these public toilets herself. If a woman was a consort of chao chom status or higher. palace women did not have to leave the Inside in order to draw fresh water for cooking or bathing. According to Anna Leonowens. A main pipeline ran under the palace from just south of Wat Phra Sri Rattana Sudaram (The Temple of the Emerald Buddha) and southwest through the Inner Palace grounds. Bangkok: Orchid Press.45 This water was drawn into vessels and transported back to each household for cooking and bathing. and dressing. which one depended on a woman’s status level.. 45 Ibid. supplying its gardens and fountains. who would assist her in bathing. 44 See Naengnoi.Woodhouse Chapter 3 frequency of bathing. her toilette would be attended to by her ladies-in-waiting and servants. applying perfumed water and powders. she could use a chamber pot within the comfort of her household.44 Besides this. 311.42 Within a noblewoman’s household. See Leonowens’ The Romance of the Harem (1872). Here Inner Palace women could also obtain water for drinking. 310. which was then emptied at the public toilets by her servants.43 Though indoor plumbing was unknown in Siam prior to the early twentieth century. These facilities were housed in a long. low brick building colloquially See Engelbert Kaempfer. Human waste was dealt with by two main methods. 42 43 Page 102 . etc. 1998.

3c. a woman’s circulation vis-à-vis her proximity to the King played a major role here.” It is unclear whether these stalls were partitioned or not. Such close proximity precluded any mystery as The umong is described as having a long aisle running between two facing rows of seat-height brick “stalls. a consort had to be summoned to the king’s bedchambers for sexual congress. 70. Naengnoi. sex between the King and a consort was typically by appointment only. he spent little time there.) It appears that this building was one of the only (if not the only) one to be provided drainage out of the palace grounds.) Even so. with a senior woman whose duty it was to sleep beside his bed at night. the reality of Inner Palace practices contrasts starkly with such a notion.Woodhouse Chapter 3 known as the umong (cave) (see Illustration 3.3. Chulalongkorn’s highest queen. However.46 3.47 (Once again. but it seems unlikely that there was very much privacy among the umong’s users. women’s sexual behavior was highly restricted and controlled. In actuality. In addition to the careful regulation of men’s circulation into the Inner Palace. mainly through the surveillance of other palace women (which will be explained in greater depth later on in this chapter). one can imagine that the umong was likely a major point of exchange for news and rumors from both inside and outside the palace. 46 Page 103 . Saowapha Phongsri. Sex and Reproduction The terming of the Inner Palace as a “harem” by Western observers suggests that they imagined it to be a sort of sexual playground for the Siamese king. Though the king did indeed have access to the grounds and households of the Inner Palace. number 15. there was little likelihood of total privacy between the King and consort: many servants attended the King’s bedchamber. 47 Smith. probably to the nearby river. resided in the “Blue Room” adjacent to those of the king. ibid. As a site which probably experienced the greatest circulation of bodies within the Inner Palace.

1960). p. of course. and more quotidian affair than Western notions of “harem” suggest. 49 …But to no avail. their blood would taint the palace. which is corroborated by the royal genealogy compiled by Jeffrey Finestone (1989).” which was thought to protect them and their babies from the predations of evil spirits.51 Thus the women of the Inner Palace (plus. According to Dr. Saowwapha founded her own school for midwifery in Bangkok in 1897. Thus. 51 For explanation of the Thai post-partum ritual of “lying by the fire. Queen Saowapha herself sent several young Siamese women to England to be schooled in the subject. sex in the Inner Palace was a far less private. they were too young to be accepted to the English medical program to which they had been sent. 1995. and eventually returned to Siam empty-handed.50 Like non-elite Siamese women. the king himself) managed the business of sex and reproduction entirely. requiring that purification rituals be performed at the palace gates in all four cardinal directions. Apparently. with royal midwives assisting consorts in giving birth within their residences. The prevailing belief was that if they should accidentally give birth. 48 Page 104 .Woodhouse Chapter 3 to who was sharing the king’s bed on any given night. In an effort to improve medical knowledge of midwifery early in the twentieth century.” see Charles Keyes. 158-60. (Smith. 303. 50 See Naengnoi. less spontaneous. The Golden Peninsula: Culture and Adaptation in Mainland Southeast Asia. 1982) However. (Chakrabongse. they were forbidden from entering the palace if they were pregnant. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press.48 The births of royal babies to royal consorts was also managed by palace women themselves.49 Though women of lower birth often worked as servants in the households of royal women and consorts. after giving birth royal consorts also went through a period of “roasting by the fire. King Chulalongkorn had no more children after he reached the age of forty-one (1890). Malcolm Smith.

62. the hospital was still a novel idea in late nineteenth century Siam. illness among the consorts was an increasingly regular occurrence. For women within the palace.52 (Nongyao notes that although there is no evidence that this was a chronic condition. the reasoning being that the clean ocean air would benefit her illness. a woman could request to be sent elsewhere to recuperate. Page 105 .53) 52 53 Saengdao. traditional Siamese medicine was their first option. it appears to be similar to the illness that led to her death in 1933. Archival records demonstrate that (unlike most other aspects of day-to-day life within the palace) a consort’s medical care was tracked meticulously.Woodhouse 3. Nongyao. (This ultimately motivated Chulalongkorn to build the new palace grounds in Dusit district at the turn of the century. water and medicine and her physical condition faithfully recorded. which will be addressed in the next chapter. sometimes several times a day. the palace upriver at Ayutthaya and the seaside retreat at Ang Sila (southeast of Bangkok) were frequent requests.) What was the nature of medical care for palace women in this era? Though Western medicine had come to Siam in the form of Christian missionaries in the 1830s.3d. and was sent to Ang Sila in 1906. 84-87. Illness and Death In the close quarters of the overbuilt Inner Palace towards the end of the Chapter 3 nineteenth century. but it was often followed by Western medicine if the first course of treatment was unsuccessful. In special cases. Dara Rasami herself suffered from a lung ailment (no doubt exacerbated by her northern custom of smoking cheroots). with a consort’s intake of food.

54 Instead. R5 กระทรวงวัง (microfilm) ม. the king’s ministers suggested she go to Ayutthaya to try to recover. year R.ร. whose remains are interred in Petchaburi.A. who likely cremated them in their hometown (for example. another new practice began during the Fifth Reign: interment of their cremated remains in the royal women’s cemetery at Wat Rajabophit. see Ministry of Fine Arts. According to Hiram Woodward (1982). and City Plans: Ayutthaya and Bangkok. Page 106 . her condition declined rapidly. 1902. Palace.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Dara Rasami’s Chiang Mai compatriot Chao Chom Manda Thipkesorn also suffered from illness in the Inner Palace from late 1901 to early 1902. but due to the northern rebellion going on at the time. Records indicate that when Siamese doctors were unable to cure her. “Monastery.Jan 26. this cemetery was created specifically 54 N. no.” she died on January 26. the women of the Bunnag family.๒๖ มกรคม ๑๒๑ (symptoms/state of Chao Chom Manda Thipkesorn. For more information on the royal women’s cemetery.” 23-60. a Western doctor was brought in to take over her care. However. See Woodward’s 1982 article in Crossroads Vol. gate D). the remains of Siamese kings Rama I – III and their chief consorts were interred in a columbarium inside the Ho Phrathat Montien.S. 2. 2. outside the Temple of the Emerald Buddha in the Outer Palace. [History of Wat Rajabohphit Sathit Maha Simaran]. Nov 28 . ๕ ว/18 อาการเจ้าจอมมารดา ทิพเกสร ๒๘ พฤศจิกายน . her request was not granted. For royal women. Thipkesorn requested to be sent north to visit family in Phitsanulok. Bangkok: Ministry of Fine Arts. Perhaps sensing the fatal trajectory of her condition. 121 [1902-03]).T.1.3e. and not long after she was declared “hopeless. 55 56 Ibid. The bodies of non-royal women were returned to their families.55 3. the Bunnag family’s longtime provincial home).56 After the death of Queen Sunanta Kumarirat in 1878. Death and the Disposition of Remains Palace customs and cosmology dictated that bodies could only be removed from the palace via the gate in the appropriate direction: the Prahom Sri Sawat gate in the west (see Illustration 3. 2531.

58 Phonsiri. Upstairs.59 Dara Rasami’s household also practiced the musical arts to amuse themselves. at Wat Suan Dok (Flower Garden Temple).57 3. Page 107 . There The other half of Dara Rasami’s ashes are interred in a funerary monument in the royal cemetery she built in Chiang Mai. saw (a fiddle). containing half of her ashes and those of her daughter who died in infancy. พระประวัติ์ สมเด็ทบรมมวงศ์เธอกรม พระยาดำรงราชนุพาภ. kluy (flute). Prince Damrong (who was in charge of releasing the timber money sent from Chiang Mai to Dara’s household) praised Dara Rasami’s money-handling skills. This cemetery will be discussed further in the next chapter. Queen Saowapha’s ashes are interred here. [the Princess] had many musical instruments. 1943. daughter of Dara Rasami’s contemporary Chao Chom Manda Hem. In fact.58 Though Dara Rasami was known for her love of cards. she was not a reckless gambler. as we’ll see later on in this chapter).Woodhouse Chapter 3 for the remains of royal women and high consorts. Dara Rasami’s funerary monument is also located here. and did not get into trouble with gambling debts (as did other palace women. glong (drum). shallow drum). Bangkok: Phra Khrunaman Saman Ajaarn. wrote that her mother and Dara were very close friends. as are those of other non-royal consorts.3f. 57 59 Mom Chao Phunphitsamai Diskul. Chao Hemawadi. because they were considered instruments for men only. and would often play cards at Dara’s residence. 1862 – 1943]. ๒๔๐๕– ๒๔๘๖ [History of Prince Damrong Rajanubhab. tone (a shorter. smaller tom-tom drum). Wimon Nakhonna Phisi. พ. Entertainment and Amusements Palace women engaged in a wide range of activities in their households to amuse themselves. including the jakay (a three-stringed musical instrument).ศ. a piano and a mandolin. 105. According to another memoir. But they did not play the phipat (Thai orchestral instruments). ramanah (one-sided.

105. 48-49 as cited in Phonsiri.3g. 2005.] Bangkok: Sara Khadi Phap. as palace women began to embark on shorter.61 3. particularly the Bunnag sisters Erb and Iem. The [Princess] would sing central Thai songs and was not shy in her merriment while singing. Page 108 . (Lady Erb herself shot the now-famous image of King Chulalongkorn cooking a meal in a wok on the porch of one of his residences. and music. The court had regularly made formal. Chulalongkorn became fond of taking consorts out for picnics and short journeys in and around Bangkok. By the 1890s.5) See Anek Nawikkamun. looked like they had nearly equal talents in singing. (See Illustration 3. besides being beautiful and sweet-voiced already.”60 (Dara Rasami’s involvement in palace arts will be discussed in greater depth in the next chapter. [A History of Photography: The First Thai Era. men did indeed 60 61 Phunphitasami Amatyakul. They said that those who came to stay at her residence.) Some of the Fifth Reign’s most prolific photographers were among Chulalongkorn’s younger consorts. Male Bodies in the Inner Palace Though readers of Leonowens’ books might be left with the impression that no man besides the king of Siam himself was allowed into the Inner Palace. ประวัติการถ่ายรูป ยุคแรกของไทย.Woodhouse Chapter 3 was a stringed band and a mixed combo. extended visits upriver to the royal palace at Ayutthaya (where Dara Rasami and other favored consorts also had their own residences) and to the island of Koh Chang throughout the 1870s and 1880s. these circulations expanded to include more pastoral locales. less formal day-trips and outings with the King. Perhaps inspired by his European travels from 1897-98. 752.) Besides practicing the arts and playing games of chance. consorts of the Fifth Reign also enjoyed a new pastime: outings with the king to destinations outside the palace walls. the governor and family practiced energetically. 2530. Many photographs of these outings survive. dancing. (Translation my own. many of which were taken by consorts themselves. pp.

i. he must call a go-between. and when you enter the Inner Smith. called klone. the tonsure of royal princes was carried out differently from those of noblemen and commoners.e. Siamese State Ceremonies. and to speak/converse with those of the Inner Palace is forbidden… In fact. or associate with [those within]. They are to seek out and speak to only the one person. This usually occurred around the age of eleven or twelve. It is forbidden to go raise or part the blinds or curtains that would allow them to look inside. or make speeches. According to the official rules of the Mahat Lek.e. the Page’s government duty is to enter into the Inner palace at one time or another. London. Ibid. he should come and go directly. either into the household of a relative (i. Quaritch Wales.. and see her only. Following their tonsure. boys of royal birth who had lived in the Inner Palace had to move out. [He should] exercise great caution and care in his deportment.Woodhouse Chapter 3 circulate into the spaces of the Inner Palace. G. see Chapter X of Wales’ seminal work. 1931:126-136. though their movements were carefully monitored and regulated. princely uncle). or a household of their own outside the palace.”62 However. not drop by to chat with one person or another. … When a page has received something from the Inside. 56. were assigned “to accompany all men who were admitted and to remain with them until they left…”63 Even the circulation of boys born and raised inside the palace was restricted once they had reached puberty. It is forbidden to have conversations. Those so charged should speak with only who is there. the matron. and the doctors when they came to visit the sick.64 For male officials and royal pages visiting the Inner Palace. One Western observer noted “Men on special work of construction or repair were admitted. Their History and Function. [the page] should speak only about government business. or needs to send something into the Inside. 62 63 Page 109 . Female palace guards. at which time the tuft of hair coiled on the crown of the head was cut in a special ceremony. there were a host of rules designed to preclude casual contact with the women of The Inside. Therefore. For more information. B. Quaritch. According to H. or Royal Pages Corps: Do not allow Mahat Lek to part the curtains to look into the Inner Palace.. the topknot-cutting. a child was considered to have come of age at the onset of puberty. no man could enter the Inner Palace unaccompanied. 64 In nineteenth-century Siam.

46. and going alone is especially forbidden. Since the highest-status royal women did not circulate regularly outside the palace walls. 8 November 2517.) 66 Naengnoi. In contradiction to Leonowens’ complaint. Anna Harriette. as we will see later on in this chapter. 5. 3. I suggest that though the agency of royal women in particular was undoubtedly restricted. the circle of the Inner Palace offered Siamese women opportunities for social and economic advancement unparalleled elsewhere in Siamese society.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Palace. serious consequences awaited both the male and female parties. Singapore: Oxford University Press. (In contrast to the This edict outlining acceptable practices for royal pages of the Mahatlek is reprinted in Ruang Mahatlek khong Krom Sinlapakorn. a common daily practice of Siamese women for the purpose of making Buddhist merit. you must tell them that you have an audience Inside. Wat Thepsirin. a cremation volume for Phon Ek Nai Worakhan Buncha (Kanbuncha Sutuntanon).67 I posit that the Inner Palace was perceived quite differently by the average Siamese woman. The English Governess At the Siamese Court: Being Recollections of Six Years in the Royal Palace At Bangkok. It is forbidden for you to enter. walking a limited route through the womens’ residences to collect daily alms. 1988. 312. To restore this important merit-making opportunity to the fai nai. 67 Leonowens. 65 Page 110 . a group of monks were allowed to visit the Inner Palace daily. & 80. they were precluded from giving food to visiting Buddhist monks. and every woman there as a slave without agency.4 The Palace as a Cultural Crucible How do we understand the role of the Inner Palace in Siamese political and cultural life? Though Anna Leonowens herself viewed the Inner Palace as a prison.66 When these boundaries were crossed. (Translation my own.65 Another male population allowed to enter the Inner Palace was that of royal monks.

68 Such elite education was not limited to the female children of noble families. from indentured slave to noble-born ladies-in-waiting. the central character in 68 See Mom Chao Phun Phitsamai Diskul. they were first sent to serve in the household of an elder consort or princess as a sort of apprentice in palace customs and manners. For the noble families of Siam. 132-133.Woodhouse Chapter 3 roles of noblewomen in Lan Na we explored in the previous chapter. though some entered as servants or dancers. The palace was where young Siamese elites began learning the myriad royal customs and manners which distinguished the phu dii (lit. the opportunities for social advancement were greatest for those of lower birth. such palace training was the equivalent of a university education in an era before any such institution existed in Siam. boys were sent to serve in the Outer Palace as pages in the Mahat Lek. “good people”) from their social inferiors. While young girls – like Dara Rasami – were sent to begin their service in the household of a senior royal woman in the Inner Palace. the Siamese Royal Pages’ Corps. however. as we will explore later in this section. however.. ibid. Page 111 . it is important to note that these opportunities were ultimately circumscribed by the agency of a single man: the Siamese king. to be later promoted to the rank of chao chom.) Though the Inner Palace brought together women of all stations of Siamese society. Most women presented to the Siamese king entered the Inner Palace at the rank of chao chom (royal consort). Since families typically presented their daughters to serve in the Inner Palace early in their adolescence. Through the girls of the minor nobility (like Phloi.

71 Those who demonstrated talent would be encouraged to pursue further training (which will be discussed later on in this chapter). practices and arts they had learned within the Palace. For the daughter of a non-elite family. In Kukrit’s story.70 All newcomers to the Inner Palace were required to pass a series of tests to establish their proficiency in the use of polite language and gestures. for which Kukrit. This novel draws upon Kukrit’s own childhood years living in the Inner Palace during the Fifth Reign. to wife of a former royal page who becomes a prominent member of the King’s staff. palace women took courses in traditional literary forms. being sent to serve in the palace – even if not at the rank of a consort – offered myriad opportunities to greatly improve her social status and marriage prospects. 71 Phonsiri. they carried with them the manners. and elite culture circulated back into Siamese society. Four Reigns69) fresh blood was infused into the royal ranks. 59. Phloi’s career trajectory reflects the real-life opportunities for social advancement which opened to lower-status women of the Inner Palace. 70 Again. Though fictional.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Kukrit Pramote’s novelization of Siamese palace life. where former palace women reproduced Siamese elite culture both literally via their offspring and figuratively through their example to other elite women outside the palace. 69 Page 112 . Following this initial training. from poetry and verse to composition. The households of royal princes and other male nobility functioned as satellites of the Siamese royal palace. see the example of Phloi in Four Reigns. 1998. As the young men and (especially) women serving in the royal palace moved from service within the palace to married life in elite households outside the palace. Phloi progresses from the daughter of a wealthy commoner to junior lady-in-waiting in the Inner Palace. and provides a wealth of historical detail about Inner Palace life. This progression reflects the real-life opportunities for social advancement which palace service opened to lower-status women. Women were also trained in the arts of music and lakhon (Siamese dance-drama).

Woodhouse Chapter 3 talented girls would be assigned to the household of the lakhon fai nai. Lucien M. For royal-born women. It was this factor which dictated the careers of the highest-ranking royal consorts. the major issue was the political-economic importance of her family and its circle. including Chao Dara Rasami herself (as we will see later on in this chapter). No. Hanks. For Dara Rasami. rank depended first and foremost on their birth mother’s family and her rank. The second factor. there were a number of ways in which women of both common and noble birth could attain higher status – indeed. 2) her personality and charisma. noble or common birth. but also her social competence and skill in handling her relationships with both the other consorts within the Inner Palace and the king himself. comprised not merely her physical appearance. The first factor encompasses the issue of whether the woman was of royal. build a career – within the context of the Inner Palace. 72 73 Page 113 . this first factor was what guaranteed her position as a special-status chao chom on her entry to the Inner Palace. Whether of noble or common birth. where they could practice the demanding art form daily.72 Besides excelling in the above arts. What was the nature of a woman’s agency within the context of the Inner Palace? How was her career trajectory constrained or not within the power structure of the inner Palace? The success of a woman’s palace career depended heavily on two factors: 1) the woman’s socio-economic background. the rank of her parents as the chao luang (king) and Ibid. a woman’s personal level of charisma. 6 (1962): 1247-61. “Merit and Power in the Thai Social Order.” American Anthropologist 64.73 For Dara Rasami.

Though royal rank declined over generations. or be presented to the palace as a consort by their families. where they took up service as junior ladies-in-waiting in the household of Queen Saowapha. there were two ways to enter palace service: They could either enter the palace to serve in the entourage of a woman who was already a consort or royal relative.Woodhouse Chapter 3 mae chao (queen) of Chiang Mai accorded her special status on her entry to the palace.e.2. In a sense. Once inside the palace.74 For non-royal women. sisters or half-sisters of the king ranked too high to do so. 117. p. a woman could earn additional promotions for good service in the duties assigned her. This restriction on royal women’s circulation outside the palace conversely contributed to the popular notion of “the Inside” as an elite social space. Wales. the king’s brothers and half-brothers). number 2). women who were daughters. For women of royal birth. allowing royal granddaughters to marry out of the Inner Palace. Though consanguinous relationships were allowed between the king and women who were his sisters and half-sisters. Having been feted on her arrival to Bangkok. their entire lives might be circumscribed within the walls of the Inner Palace from birth to death. Suriwong Printing.. the value of their social currency was too high: there was no male counterpart outside the palace with status equal to theirs besides their own brothers. Dara Rasami and her lady-in-waiting Bua Rawaan were ushered directly to the Hong Pakkard room of the Chakri Maha Prasat Hall (see Ilustration 3. Thus the Inner Palace provided career opportunities for enterprising and charismatic women of both noble and common birth. 1992: 10. Chiang Mai.75 Thus the circulation of the highestborn royal women was particularly restricted. 74 75 Page 114 . as they were effectively “priced out” of the elite marriage market. เพ็ชร์ล้านนา [Lan Na Gems]. See Prani Siritorn na Pattalung. they were not open to any other royal males (i.

craftsmen employed in government service 50. the most important factor in their promotions was personal compatibility – and hence contact – with the king himself. 73. King Vajiravudh). is a system of law created under Sukhothai’s King Boromma Trailokanat (1448-88) which “delineated an enormously complex hierarchical society in which the place and position of every individual was carefully specified. which read like a directory of the entire society. … In the exhaustive laws of [this era]. For most royal consorts. Ordinary peasant freemen were given a sakdi na of 25. 76 Page 115 . were promoted again by later kings (as Queen Saowapha was by her son. Dara Rasami’s rank was elevated to this level upon the birth of her Sakdi na. 77 A noble woman could be promoted even after her death. the keeper of the royal wardrobe was Chao Chom Manda Waat. thus many other high-ranking women. The laws assigned to everyone a number of units of sakdi na. Rama VI.Woodhouse Chapter 3 The Inner Palace contained a carefully self-regulating bureaucracy. literally ‘field power. and petty officials. Based on their observations. in which senior women – many of whom held official titles and duties – carefully observed the behavior of junior women both in their own households and those of others. slaves. their promotions ultimately rested in the hands of the king himself.” Wyatt 1982. every possible position and status is ranked and assigned a designation of sakdi na. 78 During Chulalongkorn’s reign. and Chao Chom Manda Hem (a close friend of Dara Rasami) was the keeper of royal perfumes. Such promotions carried economic rewards: each rank was associated with sakdi na entitlements which provided the holder with lifetime income.76 For chao chom and higher-born women. …by the fifteenth century it did not carry this meaning. which resulted in the elevation of her title to that of chao chom manda (consort-mother).77 Accordingly. slaves were ranked 5. thus specifying everyone’s relative position. from 50 to 400. promotions in rank were subject to royal fiat. some of the highest positions in the Inner Palace bureaucracy were those with direct responsibility for the king’s person: the keepers of the royal wardrobe and the director of the royal kitchens. and Chinese merchants were assigned sakdi na. for even Buddhist monks.’ Although at first this may have at least symbolically represented actual measured rice fields. both living and dead. as defined by David Wyatt in his History of Thailand. housewives. they recommended official promotions for lower-ranking women on a semiannual basis.78 The sole “automatic” means for a consort to improve her status was to give birth to the king’s child. See Finestone (1989 and 2000) for genealogies which note many of these promotions. Phonsiri 62-63.

80 Finestone (1989). 79 Page 116 . and wear a chongkrabaen (a wrapped and tucked trouser-like garment) made of chintz. Thipkesorn’s son. Chao Chom Manda Thipkesorn (not to be confused with Dara Rasami’s mother. additionally reflecting the political importance of Lan Na at the time. providing the Siamese with yet another northern woman amongst the ranks of the Inner Palace consorts. who is sometimes described as Chulalongkorn’s “first love.” as they were married while he was still a prince. Prani Vol.79 How did the experiences of these two “foreign” consorts compare? This comparison illustrates the differences in palace women’s career trajectories depending on a woman’s personal relationship with the king. and remained unchanged for more than twenty years. and borne the king a son. Thipkesorn served in the household of Chao Chom Manda Phae (Bunnag). 1. which was popular with Siamese noblewomen – in contrast to the northern-style textile skirts worn by Dara Rasami and her entourage. Lady Thipkesorn appears to have chosen a very different path from that of Dara Rasami in the Inner Palace. in the household of Chao Khun Manda Phae (of the Bunnag family).Woodhouse Chapter 3 daughter in 1889. was born the following year. But how did Dara Rasami’s experience compare to that of other consorts? A good test case for comparison is another consort from Chiang Mai. Thipkesorn was required to cut her hair short in the style worn by Siamese women. 130-31. Chao Chom Manda Thipkesorn. Queen Thipkraisorn) came from a less prominent branch of the northern royal family. Tilok Nopparat. was born with the title Phra Ong Chao. Thilok Nopparat (b. which indicated his status as a son of the Chao Chom Manda Thipkesorn entered service in the palace in 1883. who had served in the Inner Palace for several years before Dara Rasami’s arrival.80 Due to her service in the entourage of an important Siamese noblewoman. 1884). Her son. 66.

Vol.Woodhouse Chapter 3 king by a non-royal mother. her child was not automatically awarded the same birth rank as a child by a Chakri woman. Dara’s daughter shared this rank with several of the king’s children by noble consorts but notably not the rank of chao fa. ๕ ว 99. Germany. Though Dara Rasami – as the daughter of Lan Na’s royal family – nominally held the same status as a woman of royal Chakri blood. so that Dara Rasami would not be the only one there. 1. Dara Rasami held the status of chao chom manda for nearly twenty years of her palace career. the rank could have been granted at the king’s discretion.83 Similarly. Page 117 . Wimon Nakhonna Phisi. เศรษฐกิจสยาม : บทวิเคราะห์ในพระองค์เจ้าดิลกนพรัฐ กรมหมื่นสรรควิสัย นรบดี ดุษฎีบัณ ฑิตทางเศรษฐศาสตร์จากเยอรมนีองค์แรกของสยาม [Siam’s Economy: An Analysis of Prince Thilok Nopparat…. Following Thipkesorn’s death in 1907. there are no extant photos of Thipkesorn. 1892. See N. had recently returned from finishing his Ph. Siam’s First Doctor of Economics from Germany]. King Chulalongkorn instructed the other ladies of the Inner Palace to attend her funeral. Tilok Nopparat. Her daughter by the king. 83 Her son.D. 1963: 131. Surprisingly. 82 … Though she did not appear to suffer ill treatment. received the title Phra Chao Luk Ther Phra Ong Chao at birth. However.82 It also appears that she had few friends amongst the Inner Palace ladies. Chulalongkorn expressed his regret for not having done so when he 81 Prince Thilok Nopparat earned a Ph. R5 กระทรวงวัง ม. Letter from Chulalongkorn to Noppaphon (undated). reprinted in Prani Siritorn na Pattalung.81 Despite her son’s abilities and achievement. a rank slightly higher than that of Thipkesorn’s son. 2001. though her royal son by Chulalongkorn was a significant individual: he became the first Siamese to earn a doctoral degree. Bangkok: Matichon. See Wichitwong na Pompetch.ร.D. in Economics from Tubinggen University in Germany in 1905.A. Thipkesorn’s illnesses were treated with extensive medical care. in 1906. and she was never promoted beyond the rank of chao chom manda. in economics from the University at Tubinggen. After the little girl’s premature death on February 21. In one of the only archival sources where she appears.T. Thipkesorn does not appear to have shared a close relationship with the king.

1892 witnessed the Siamese reorganization of its internal administrative structure. 87 Finestone. The most likely explanation is that the child had not yet had her topknot cut. by subsequent kings Rama VI (Vajiravudh) and Rama VII (Prajadhiphok). Additionally. It remains a mystery why Chulalongkorn did not promote Wimon Nakhonna Phisi after the fact. there were many rumors swirling about the French activities in both Cambodia and the Lao territories which culminated in the Paknam Crisis the following year. promoted his young queen Sunanta Kumarirat after her accidental death by drowning in 188086).”84 What should we make of this “mistake”? It is perhaps understandable that the promotion in rank of this one daughter could get lost in the shuffle of the larger issues that Siam was dealing with at the moment. This could be due to Dara Rasami’s promotion to the rank of Phra Rajajaya in 1909. both of whom elevated Wimon Nakhonna Phisi during their reigns.87 Quoted by Nattakhan Limsataphon in Khattiyani Sri Lanna. 64. 86 Finestone (1989). for example. 84 85 Page 118 . and thus such a promotion was not considered cosmologically appropriate. The 1893 Paknam Crisis. as well as their surrender of the five contested Shan provinces to the British.85 While such promotions of rank were at the king’s discretion.” This oversight was remedied.Woodhouse Chapter 3 wrote to Prince Damrong: “I made a mistake. 131. resulted in Siam ceding their Lao and Cambodian territories east of the Mekong River to the French. Wyatt (1984). but I forgot til she was already gone. According to Wyatt. in which the French blockaded the mouth of the Chao Phraya river and sailed gunboats upstream to Bangkok. ibid. it also resulted in King Chulalongkorn experiencing a breakdown in his health throughout the following year. which would entail that her children would automatically have been born with chao fa status. if indeed he felt he had “made a mistake. 204. She should have been a chaofa [status of a royal son by a Queen]. they could be given posthumously (Chulalongkorn had. however.

” in reference to the one time period they had access to the King – during his daily public audience in the Hong Luang (Yellow Hall) of the middle palace (Illustration 3.) Apparently. number 4).88 Reflecting the proliferation of royals within the palace. With more than 150 consorts resident within Chulalongkorn’s Inner Palace. (How these differences played out in terms of space will be discussed in the next section. she was also promoted to the rank of Phra Raja Jaya. As King Mongkut had had thirty-three children by 88 Smith.” in order not to cause their families shame. Thipkesorn’s experience as a consort was far more typical than was Dara Rasami’s. Such consorts probably served in the household entourages of higher-status women. There were a number of consorts who were allegedly accepted by the palace “out of politeness. Dara Rasami was one of the dozen fortunate royal consorts to move to the new palace grounds Chulalongkorn built at Dusit (including Vimanmek Palace) early in the twentieth century. ibid. if they managed to achieve even that. and were rarely seen by the king himself. the Fifth Reign saw an equal proliferation of new royal ranks. Chulalongkorn’s fifth-highest queen. It appears that Dara Rasami’s personal charisma – rather than her political significance within the palace – was the factor which earned her place in the select group of Chulalongkorn’s favorites.2. a year before the king’s death in 1910. indeed. Ultimately. there were likely many of these women with whom the King never even had sexual relations. ibid. Page 119 . also สถาปัตยกรรมพระบรมมหาราชวัง [Architecture of the Royal Palace].Woodhouse Chapter 3 In contrast to Thipkesorn. there were many who never rose above the rank of consort-mother. These women were referred to collectively as the “women of the yellow room.

the very fact of her ethnic difference markedly affected her treatment by the king himself as well as other women in the Siamese Inner Palace. 1 & 2.Woodhouse Chapter 3 his fifty-three consorts. Siamese noble titles came with land entitlements which lasted the holder’s lifetime (termed sakdi na). As Chunlada Phakdiphumin writes of traditional Siamese society. Jones. Thai Titles and Ranks. N.Y: Southeast Asia Program. all others. King Chulalongkorn thus faced a real challenge in meting out appropriate ranks amongst not only his own halfbrothers and sisters. 2535.89 3. including slaves. Cornell University. Dept. there were that many royal children to deal with at the start of the Fifth Reign. 1971. Sri Mahawaan (Mom Luang). there was a clear class distinction to be made between nai and phrai: nai being those of noble birth. Vol. even those of mom luang or mom Unlike in Lan Na.5 Language. [This is an English translation of Chulalongkorn’s original 1878 text. Robert B. Including a Translation of Traditions of Royal Lineage in Siam By King Chulalongkorn.90 Among those of the generation of the Fifth Reign. and phrai being all others of common birth. 89 Page 120 . เลาะวัง [Around the Palace]. This differential treatment would continue to plague her throughout her twenty-odd-year career in the Inner Palace. See Chulalongkorn. plus all the non-royal consorts who came after. nai included only nobles born directly to the Chakri royalty. but also the royal ladies of the prior reign. of Asian Studies. Bangkok: Chotchai Thewet. Perhaps the most telling reflection of Dara Rasami’s difference in the context of the palace were the terms used by others to refer to her. That he felt the need to write down the rationale used for the myriad ranks and titles – and the corresponding sakdi na entitlements – speaks to the delicacy of such a task. Loyalty and the Politics of the Personal in The Siamese Court Despite Siamese efforts to formally address Dara Rasami’s elevated status as a princess of a neighboring realm.] 90 Chunlada Phakdiphumin. and his numerous children. Ithaca.

” 92 Chao Khun Manda Pae was called “Chao Khun” because she was a royal granddaughter. a publication of the Thai National Dictionary Foundation.91 This appears to be related to the manner in which King Chulalongkorn himself referred to Dara Rasami in a number of letters written about (but not to) her. a “Lao” princess.” The king did not reserve his use of this term exclusively for Dara Rasami.” but rather as “Lan Na ladies. He also used nang for a few other consorts who were not part of the Chakri royal family (and who qualified as phrai. These nang included several of his favorite consorts. she is referred to in these letters not as “chao” or “chao chom” Dara but as “nang” Dara – nang being a nonroyal. the difference was not well understood by Bangkok Siamese. According to Chunlada. but this was not the case. namely Nang Sadup. however. 148. Vol. Wannaporn. who tended to lump all northerners into the category of “Lao. In contrast.93 It appears that while Dara Rasami’s northern royal blood had accorded her some special treatment on her entry into the palace. 2005. but phrai – due primarily to the court’s perception of her as a cultural foreigner. her ethnic difference neutralized that status in day-to-day palace life. although her mother was not a member of the Chakri royal family. 2. term today denoting merely “wife. were considered phrai. a member of the Chakri royal family. Though Dara’s official title was “Chao Chom Manda Dara Rasami” from 1889-1909.” Thus whenever Dara Rasami and her entourage are referred to as “Chao Lao. See Chunlada. Given Dara Rasami’s royal northern lineage. referring to Dara Rasami as “Ai Dara. In the Though there is a historical and cultural distinction to be made between the Lan Na and Lan Xang kingdoms. Nang Erb [Bunnag].Woodhouse Chapter 3 rachawong rank. and Nang Choom. 91 Definition of ไอ้ taken from (Thai-English) Lexitron Electronic Dictionary.” it should be read not as “Lao Ladies. 93 Page 121 .92 Other palace folk were not so kind. given the above conditions). 299. Dara Rasami was considered not nai. the King called Chao Khun Chom Manda Phae. “Khun Phae” in similar communications.” ai being a personal pronoun indicating low status which today is used as an insult. we might assume that she would automatically qualify for nai status.

This status differentiation materially impacted Dara Rasami’s daily life in the Inner Palace. her difference from her Siamese counterparts was immediately recognizable – and apparently made her an easy target for teasing and practical jokes by other women. 309. Dara Rasami shared the same status level as Siamese consorts of nonroyal blood. Vol 1. [Dara Rasami] had no rank or authority. no importance at all. ลูกแก้ว เมียขวัญ [Royal Children and Wives]. Chao Noi sat there. a lady-in-waiting to one of the high queens. she ranked little better than a common foreigner. to others. so she came by the name used for her by all the consorts: Chao Noi (little noble). teased Dara Rasami about being flat-chested. she was routinely derided and ridiculed during her early years in the palace.Woodhouse Chapter 3 king’s estimation. a daughter of Prince Damrong then serving as a lady-in-waiting in the Inner Palace. As the Chiang Mai princess continued to wear her northern hairstyle (long hair coiled and pinned up in a bun) and phasin skirts. despite her status as Lan Na royalty. 94 Page 122 . According to a number of accounts. over time it was Dara Rasami’s visible ethnic difference that rendered her vulnerable to ridicule by other palace women. no one knew anything about her besides the words ‘Chao Noi. However.95 Privately. smiling happily to herself at nothing. 1997. Of all the consorts there. unable to respond. relates that: In the palace.’94 Certainly as Dara Rasami entered the palace (as did many other girls) at the age of fourteen. quoted in Sansani Wirasingchai. causing Dara Rasami to withdraw in stunned silence. 95 Prani Siritorn na Pattalung. such a nickname could have been as descriptive as it was derisive. One eyewitness. 11. Bangkok: Matichon. Dara Rasami complained to her intimates that “these Mom Chao Ying Phunpitsamai Diskul. In another story Chao Chom Sae. Chao Noi didn’t know anything.

96 97 Page 123 . Prani. indicating that the event in question occurred sometime between November of 1886 and October of 1889 (when Dara was between fourteen and sixteen years old). as she was a critical political emissary of Lan Na. which could affect Dara Rasami’s feelings permanently. Dara Rasami received a “secret letter” from her Prani. at which time Dara Rasami’s title was elevated to that of chao chom manda. King Intawichyanon. putting Siam’s relations with Lan Na at very real risk. ibid.”97 This intervention on the part of the King.98 It’s alleged that sometime within her first two years after entering palace service. especially given his own references to Nang Dara. 98 Her title – chao chom – indicates that this period was prior to the birth of her daughter. Yet it provides a clear reflection of the Inner Palace as the intersection of personal and regional politics in Siam. An episode concerning Dara Rasami and Chiang Mai’s rumored disloyalty to Siam illuminates this function of foreign consorts. ibid. the King instructed the Queen Mother Phiyama Wadi to “warn the various chao chom and mom (royal grandchildren) to forbid their ladies [to tease her]… [and] put a stop to the persecution and various pranks. may sound like unnecessary royal involvement in petty social conflicts within the palace. however. consorts from peripheral territories also served as hostages for the loyalty of their home kingdom. Alienating Dara Rasami could have spelled the ruin of cordial relations with her father. This incident allegedly occurred while Dara Rasami was still a chao chom. The King thus considered it important to soothe Dara Rasami’s feelings. Conversely.”96 When word of Dara Rasami’s travails reached Chulalongkorn’s ears.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Bangkok ways would drive her back to Chiang Mai.

which specified a marital alliance between a prince of Chieng Tung and “a maiden of Chiang Mai. However. Home Correspondence with India. she offered her father’s letter to King Chulalongkorn. and Nattakhan Limsataporn’s biographical chapter on Dara Rasami in Khattiyani Sri Lanna. pp. Feb-Mar 1889. Ibid. He gave the vassal king’s letter to [his brother] Khrommuen Phichit Phrichakorn [who had previously served as the Siamese administrator in Chiang Mai] to look over as well. These sources are problematic.99 The author adds that Dara Rasami actually feared that her life was in real danger.”101 Since in early 1889 the question of ownership of the Shan States had not yet been settled between the British and Siamese. 1635-44. The story goes that: [When] Dara Rasami learned of this. 101 See British Library. This offer. as they do not cite proper source material for this story. 99 Page 124 . however. then he should prepare himself to come collect Chao Dara Rasami’s corpse from Bangkok. in which it was rumored that he expressed the possibility of being disloyal to Bangkok.100 Evidence for these events is scant. King Intawichyanon. documents from early 1889 demonstrate anxiety among British consuls in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai over a “…proposed matrimonial alliance between Chiang Mai and Keng [Chiang] Tung. such an offer from Chiang Tung to Chiang Mai could upset the already delicate political balance between the British.” could have cemented a See Chunlada. 100 Khattiyani Sri Lan Na.Woodhouse Chapter 3 father. After that King Chulalongkorn proceeded with a clever policy. Siamese. which said that if the King of Chiang Mai would allow Chiang Mai to become part of England. 1625. giving Dara Rasami a royal letter in answer to her father’s letter. and that the episode was a dark emotional period for her. 129. and no other supporting documents have yet been found to support or refute the story. and Lan Na kingdoms of the Northern Constellation. East India Company LP&S [Political & Secret] documents: 3/294. (Vol 107).

1889. or consultation with. 102 Page 125 . The Siamese delay in reporting the Shan headmen’s activities was likely because they didn’t know about it themselves.L. However. The British considered these activities suspicious: “It appeared therefore. Home Correspondence with India. Mainghan. By itself. (Volume 107). such a proposal isn’t necessarily enough evidence to convince us of an occurrence of disloyalty by Lan Na’s king.”102 But what the British interpret here as Siamese intrigue. there is another episode that suggests that King Intawichyanon could have had such a stratagem in mind. the authorities of the British Gov’t. it is reported that the headmen of four Shan States (Maung Ta. most probable that the Siamese were actively intriguing with the Burma Tributary Shans for the advancement of their own supposed interests without reference to. The Siamese appear to have been as surprised by this event as the British. See B. letter from Philip Wodehouse Currie to India Office (Calcutta). Feb-Mar 1889. and this episode was not divulged to the Siamese authorities until long after the fact. April 1. I suggest here is Lan Na intrigue instead. and delayed telling the British consul in Chiang Mai of the event until it was common knowledge. LP&S document 3/294. In the British records of the same time. and Maingsut) came to Chiang Mai to “profess their loyalty” to King Inthawichyanon shortly before this proposed marital alliance came to light.Woodhouse Chapter 3 relationship between the Shan and Lan Na kingdoms. The gist of the communications between the Siamese commissioners at Chiang Mai and Bangkok during the period is that several headmen of villages in the Shan territory had come to pledge their loyalty to the king of Lan Na of their own accord. Maingtun. 16311644. at the expense of both Siamese and British interests in the region.

” though these concerns were apparently invisible to the British. Yet the nature of Siamese communication with and control over matters in Chiang Mai was anything but close and consistent. Daniel McGilvary. 71-76. considering that the 4 Pho Muangs’ [Shan headmen’s] extraordinary visit to Chiengmai just on this occasion. 2002 (1911). But what if Lan Na decided the British. were a more profitable ally than Siam? Such Siamese fears found expression in the rumors about Dara Rasami and the “secret letter. In this letter from Prince Devawongse to the British consul. On the contrary: it took between six and twelve weeks to traverse the 450-mile distance103 overland between the two capitals. Such looseness had been the virtue of the prathet sarat relationship between Lan Na and Siam in the prior era. Page 126 . he states: I have received your note…in which you refer to a certain action taken by Chiengtung in proposing a marriage with one of the Chiengmai family and your suggestion as to the answer Siam ought to give in this matter. assuming that everything going on in Chiang Mai is consistent with Bangkok’s desires. 444. the Siamese could not have deployed military forces to Chiang Mai with any speed. A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in the Shan States. recently (1885) advanced into Rangoon. Bangkok: White Lotus. 103 104 Holt Hallett. 1889. the British unquestioningly align Chiang Mai and its interests with Siam. dated February 5.Woodhouse Chapter 3 In these and many other instances. allowing the local rulership and his forces to respond to local needs in a more timely fashion than Bangkok could. 2000 (1890). as the Siamese attempt to portray these events as representing a Shan desire for alignment with Siam.104 With such a time lag in communications. depending on whether it was dry or rainy season. The letters between Siamese bureaucrats and British officials discussing the events in Chiang Mai have a non-committal tone. A Half-Century Among the Siamese and Lao: An Autobiography.

the documents of the Mahat Thai (Siam’s Ministry of the Interior) which deal with the northern territories provide no references to these events.L. However. Indeed. Page 127 . given other references in the British records to not-so-loyal comments made by King Intawichyanon – which showcase his irritation at Siamese encroachment into Chiang Mai politics106 – such a plan becomes thinkable.A. I am convinced that your interference would be more effective.N.Woodhouse In reply I beg to say that it would not be consistent with my Sovereign’s policy to interfere with this domestic union. If Chiengtung is your Protected State. Unfortunately. & newly appointed Pho Muangs came to Chiengmai again to implore His Majesty’s protection. February 5. any local documents concerning this period in Chiang Mai history have been lost. ~ Devawongse.. rather. 1889. (Volume 107).105 Chapter 3 Here the Siamese place the responsibility for controlling Chiang Tung (and its offer of marital alliance) firmly back on the British. L/P&S/3/294 = Home Correspondence with India. 1647: Letter fm Prince Devawongse to Mr. in which English surveyor McCarthy describes bumping into the King of Chiang Mai while surveying for the Siamese in 1883: “I met the Chief of Chiung Mai at one of these rapids…. 106 See B.O. 105 B. and provided an opportunity for them to form a new coalition with the Shan States – or perhaps eventually with the British. Gould. Feb-Mar 1889. than that of any country to advise under the circumstances. F. it could have benefited Chiang Mai in a bid to consolidate its own power in the north. such a marital alliance would not have benefited the Siamese. This is a genuine proof that the people of these province are still loyal to my Sovereign’s rule and being aware that Her British Majesty’s Gov’t have given due consideration to our feelings in this matter during the negotiation still going on in London – I remain & etc. 881/4874. …It appears that soon after their [the 4 Pho Muangs] departure all the former. even if such a one be a political alliance between Chiengmai (a dependency rather than a feudatory of Siam) and Chiengtung and I do not think it would be detrimental to the interests of the neighbouring countries. while dissembling their own interests in the situation.

and without noticing the Siamese. M. Dara could have left the palace and returned to Chiang Mai had she not been pregnant with the king’s child. and if His Highness would send some Laosians. no one spoke to me about it. This timing coincides precisely with Dara Rasami’s first pregnancy by King Chulalongkorn. as a chao chom could only exit from palace service if she had not borne a child to the King. and seated myself on another stone. wished me a pleasant time and left. If indeed Dara Rasami’s father ever sent her a letter discussing the marital alliance with Chiang Tung. 1987. she would have become pregnant between early January and February of the same year. “As soon as I heard you had left Bangkok I hastened men with letters to appoint officials to show you the boundary on the May Tyn Stop at Wang Loung. A King of Siam Speaks. Kukrit Pramoj. He seated himself on one of the stones.” I again said. Page 128 . between January and April of 1889. he said wherever the King likes.108 This confluence of events renders understandable Dara Rasami’s decision to turn over such a letter to King Chulalongkorn: her knowledge that such disloyalty on the part of her father could have dire consequences not only for herself. King Intawichyanon.107 The timetable here is significant. Bangkok: Siam Society. R. “I have nothing to do with the boundary. it would have been some time in the aforementioned period. he asked his name.Woodhouse Chapter 3 Is it possible that the Chiang Tung marital alliance is the episode which the apocryphal “secret letter” references? If so. So! So! When in Bangkok.” His boats by this time had got over the rapids. but also her unborn child. 108 See Seni Pramoj.” He replied. He began at once. Such an expression of Chiang Mai’s possible disloyalty would have threatened Siam’s hold on the northern territories – which seemed ever more tenuous in the face of the British encroachments into the Shan States. I would mark on the map what they showed to be the boundary. and invited me to sit near him.” 107 As Dara Rasami gave birth in October of 1889. and I heard form my own people that an Englishman (Khon Angkrit) was sent. and said “I suppose you have come to ask questions for the Farang. under his umbrella: this I thankfully declined. I only came to make a map. Mongkut. there is no mistaking his positive and independent views on the question now. “You have been sent about the boundary. and asked about the boundary.” Then turning to one of the Siamese officials. thus. it would explain the threat of physical violence on Dara Rasami herself in King Chulalongkorn’s alleged response to her father. 197.

who had disguised himself as a woman in order to gain entry to her palace residence. 109 As this incident had occurred in 1886. none of the written communications between Dara Rasami and her family in Chiang Mai are still extant. given the paucity of Thai archival data relating to the daily lives of palace women and Dara Rasami herself.110 So what should we make of this story? Given that the absence of evidence is not necessarily equal to the evidence of absence. as it reflects negatively on an important royal personage.Woodhouse Chapter 3 According to the accounts. there is no guarantee that it would have been preserved in the Thai archive. We may never be able to prove definitively whether or not the secret letter episode actually occurred. her loyalty in turning over the letter did not necessarily spare Dara Rasami actual retribution by King Chulalongkorn if her father continued to threaten the Siamese. where she purportedly died within the year. Additionally. Dara Rasami was likely aware of a case against a royal woman which had arisen in the palace not long before her arrival in Bangkok. If King Chulalongkorn did send such a menacing letter to King Intawichyanon. 109 110 Page 129 . King Chulalongkorn ordered the execution of the lover. This fact according to the staff of the Chiang Mai branch of the National Archives of Thailand. The King’s own sister had been caught in an illicit affair with a former monk. and the imprisonment of his sister in the palace jail. the harsh consequences for unwise actions were probably still very fresh in palace minds. 59. It Phonsiri. In judging this matter (as only the palace court itself was allowed to do). August 2007. including that of young Dara Rasami (who in 1889 was just sixteen). it is possible that such an event occurred. Woodhouse research notes.

and what kinds of behavior constituted their violation? How could a palace woman’s behavior damage or set back her career? Who policed their behavior. The intensity of these fears is clearly reflected in the pervasive rumors that followed Dara Rasami until the end of her life.111 3.” to which Dara Rasami refused to answer. But Siamese consorts were not exempt from rules which could have serious consequences for both their palace careers and their families’ political fortunes. 111 Page 130 . 72. pledged the In an interview conducted late in her life. What were the rules for women’s behavior within the Inner Palace.6 Transgression and Punishment in the Inner Palace We have seen the risks inherent in palace life for women who came from Siam’s peripheries to guarantee the loyalties of their home kingdoms. The chao chom’s oath. and how was punishment meted out? On entering palace service. the rumors may well have been created for the express purpose of creating both drama in Dara Rasami’s story. the British. and enhancing Chiang Mai’s contemporary identification with its Lan Na heritage (a thread which runs through much of the local history produced there). the most significant aspect of the story is what is implied by the circulation of the rumor: the Siamese feared that Chiang Mai’s rulers would transfer their loyalties to the newest emerging superpower in the region. In any case. Dara Rasami – like all other non-royal chao chom – swore an oath of loyalty to the King during the ceremonies marking her entry into palace life.” Sulak. which was sworn to the person of the King himself.Woodhouse Chapter 3 certainly makes for compelling biography: in the contemporary context. being “not brave enough to deny it. Mom Chao Jong Jitra Thanom Diskul (daughter of Prince Damrong) claims to have asked Dara Rasami about whether “the northerners…ever thought of being disloyal.

took a “waterdrinking” oath. The chao chom’s oath functioned similarly: as magical language which if contravened. oaths were a common practice by which individuals both male and female had pledged their fidelity to Siamese monarchs since the Sukhothai period. 112 113 Page 131 . The oath also entailed that the consort would not tolerate the advances of other men. p. 886.Woodhouse Chapter 3 consort’s sexual loyalty to the king. the oath was sworn before “supernatural powers that are invited to torture the oath-taker in a variety of painful and long-term ways before causing death if the chao chom betrays her oath. p. the oath functioned not as a mere verbal warning to be remind the oath-taker. Ibid. both male and female. in which the blessed water was thought to turn to poison in the drinker’s body if he later acted disloyally. In both forms of Siamese oath-taking. but more like a vaccination which carried the potential for physical effects in the oath-taker’s own body should they act disloyally. Loos (2005). and would not engage in other acts of disloyalty. like the rulers of Siam’s prathet sarat (tributary kingdoms).115 Male Siamese officials. Siamese oath-taking reaffirms the centrality of bodies to the polity. 115 Wales. 193. to the exclusion of all others. would bring physical consequences directly upon the consort by supernatural means. These other acts included stealing from or assaulting other consorts or “associating with fortune tellers and practitioners of magic love charms.113” As Loos mentions in her 2005 article.. would not act as an accomplice to other consorts in their infidelity. 884. 114 Ibid.114 The consort’s oath can be seen as a parallel to the oaths of allegiance taken twice a year by male officials serving in the provincial administrative roles.”112 Additionally.

wives of officials. if they give their permission the [lady] may go to stay.. But they must take care not to allow other situations. [only] parents or direct siblings may come to stay in the home of their relative. ~ Declared on day 3-12/10 night 12 of J.ศ. 116 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) This edict suggests a number of issues were causing problems among the women of the Inner Palace: drug abuse. whether they defy one or more. เลขที่ 4. and the informal surveillance of other women’s behavior within the Inner Palace. several more offenses were officially proscribed during Chulalongkorn’s reign. if there are too many other issues. If one induces one or more of one’s friends to take it. If one takes ya dong. They must have respect.” or “husbands who are women. It is forbidden for royal ladies. จดหมายเหตุ ร. and gambling among them. mom chao of various palaces or within palaces. and chao chom with higher status. Page 132 .5 มัดที่ 142. Besides the transgressions listed above. that is absolutely forbidden..S. ข้อกำหนดฝ่ายในผู้ป ระพฤติมิชอบ จ. will receive royal penalties to be weighed out according to the crime. fear and pay attention to the directions of the Palace Matron.L. Of these 116 N. and bad women in the palace to be “love friends. they must inform the tao nang (palace matron) with a bow. official workers who live both inside and outside the palace. If a person comes to stay in [a lady’s] house.T.Woodhouse Chapter 3 The chao chom’s oath functioned via both self-regulation of her own behavior. high nobles. it is specifically for one’s own health alone. or associate together. As to these orders. the edict reads as follows: “Have all chao chom living here… behave according to the points of the royal decree as follows: It is forbidden for chao chom living here to drink except alone. and do not need to report to the [palace matron]. [Minor Era] year 1237. Issued in 1885.” and gamble together as if gold and silver were only words.1247. lesbianism. To eat or stay over at their own houses if they have relatives coming to stay at those homes. according to their rank. chao chom who do not obey them. wives of officials in their houses. Carousing [is] the worst on ya dong (fermented medicine.. Forbidden for royal ladies. medicinal spirits). they must report to the palace official that they’ve made a mistake. mom chao (royal granddaughters).

e. Dara Rasami complained privately to her attendants that “the royal women who ate jimsonweed [i. a popular pastime of late nineteenth-century palace women which involved intense girl-to-girl friendships and crushes. Page 133 . and would drive her back to Chiang Mai yet. Dara Rasami was enraged. a nang sao (Miss) Hoon.. The first issue was the recreational use of medicinal drugs. 11. and a mom rachawong (royal granddaughter) named Wongthep. Upon learning this news. It was Hoon that spread the news that Yaung Gaew had given Wongthep a jeweled ring which had been a gift to her from her kinswoman and patron. and making her repeat everything the 117 See Prani. According to Chiang Mai historical sources. Dara Rasami.”117 As medical care was readily available to the women of the Inner Palace.Woodhouse Chapter 3 problems. Dara Rasami experienced at least two of them personally over the course of her twenty-year career in the palace. such drugs were not hard to come by. when an affair was discovered between one of Dara’s ladies-in-waiting. however rarefied or luxurious it may have appeared to those outside its walls. Another issue addressed by Chulalongkorn’s edict was the phenomenon of len phuan (literally “playing friends”). violently criticizing Yuang Gaew verbally. which Dara appears to have encountered during her time as a lady-in-waiting in the Queen’s household. took hallucinogenic medicines] were crazy. That the king felt the need to censure these drugs strongly suggests that many consorts and royal women of the Inner Palace remained unfulfilled by their palace lifestyle. The affair might have gone unnoticed if not for Wongthep’s jealous former lover. Lady Yuang Gaew. This phenomenon touched Dara Rasami’s household directly in 1906.

things were different for women of Prani. sending her home to Chiang Mai in shame. 2 (1998): 333-53. King Chulalongkorn pardoned her on account of her high rank.Woodhouse Chapter 3 princess said. According to Lysa. Wad was so vigorous in punishing an escaped slave that she “had the slave chained and whipped for over six months. “Of Consorts and Harlots in Thai Popular History. as doing so would put have been politically unwise to the new owner. Hong Lysa details one such case. Such transgressions were punished by the chao chom themselves within their own entourages. Most likely such cases rarely reached the ears of the King himself. 340). (1998. where Yuang Gaew allegedly attempted suicide. or gifting an item bestowed upon her by her patroness.118 It remains unclear which of Yuang Gaew’s actions was the worse: engaging in len phuan with another palace woman.” Though Wad and two of her servants were found guilty of causing the woman’s death. 21. 118 119 Page 134 . Anna Leonowens claimed palace slaves were frequently abused by royal women. It is unclear what – if anything – happened to mom rachawong Wongthep as a consequence of the affair. the gifting of such a precious item hints at Lady Yuang Gaew’s high level of emotional involvement with Wongthep. Dara also expelled Yuang Gaew from her entourage. The above case is an example of the many petty crimes and misdemeanors within the Inner Palace committed by lower-status women. In any event. Though her affair – with a royal granddaughter – does not appear to have called Dara Rasami’s loyalties into question. Though her accounts’ veracity is questionable. No.” Journal of Asian Studies 57. a palace slave suffering abuse would have found it difficult to complain or find a new master. the director of the Inner Palace. until the woman died. nor were they formally recorded in palace records. and an accordingly inappropriate diversion of her loyalties away from her patron’s household. without recourse to formal proceedings.119 However. in her article. that of Khun Wad. who would have borne a heavy burden of shame as a consequence of her ejection from Dara Rasami’s household. the consequences were heavy for Yuang Gaew and her family.

decorations. Vol. 71. I have attempted to sketch out a general background of the Siamese Royal Palace against which Dara Rasami’s unique role and status can be See Nawa Eksawat Jontani. royal punishments could range “…from probation down to reduction of the annual stipend. Transgressions of the royal space of the Inside were governed not only by palatine law. but by a royal council who reviewed each crime on a case-by-case basis.Woodhouse Chapter 3 royal birth. a position of significant shame and loss of status.7 Conclusion In this chapter. royal women faced a different set of punishments for their transgressions within the Inner Palace. 122 This case is cited in Loos (2005). Nithan Chao Rai. whose affair with a former monk smuggled into her palace residence netted her lover execution and landed her in jail122). as in sexual transgressions of palace law. 895. the royal woman did not lose her annual stipend and residence within the palace. it appears that even then. and punishment of ‘dit sanom’. her participation in royal ceremonies was permitted. 120 121 Page 135 . in addition. Though a royal woman could not be placed in irons like any commoner. there might be a confiscation of one’s royal order and one’s property.121 Nevertheless. 4 Bangkok: Kurutsapha. in which the royal woman would be essentially confined to her residence. but only if she was led “in golden irons” behind the rest of the royal procession. and ultimately deferred to the king himself. 1966.”120 Dit sanom was much like our contemporary idea of house arrest. were palace women ever jailed (see the 1886 case of King Chulalongkorn’s sister. 3. Though they were not bound by the semi-annual loyalty oaths taken by nonroyal chao chom. Ibid. In some really egregious cases. Only in extreme cases.

Thipkesorn. and the circulation of male administrators into peripheral territories. showing that those of lowest status had the greatest physical freedom of circulation in and outside of the palace. so did the representation of women from its tributaries within the Inner Palace. how the high social status conferred upon the royal relatives and consorts of the Inner Palace was Page 136 . and how Dara’s political importance influenced her treatment in the palace as compared to that of a lesser Chiang Mai consort. Secondly. I addressed the issues of circulation and space within the palace. I also showed how rank was represented spatially within the space of the Inner Palace. and how the Siamese polity was bound together through the circulation of bodies: both the collection of “foreign” consorts in the royal palace. style and location. This analysis traces the construction of Siam’s Royal Palace in the later Rattanakosin Era. Lastly. In surveying the built space of the Inner Palace. This chapter also considered the function of the Siamese Royal Palace as a crucible of Siamese culture engaged in the work of maintaining and reproducing Siamese elite culture for distribution beyond the palace walls.Woodhouse Chapter 3 contextualized. the relative prominence of Dara Rasami’s residence is demonstrated by its size. As Siam’s political need to ensure the loyalties of its peripheries waxed and waned. with a woman’s proximity to the king serving as the ultimate measure of her status. this chapter addressed the issue of transgression within the Inner Palace: in particular. Here I discussed the rare opportunities it represented – particularly for common women – to build careers and social capital within the Palace. Subsequently I examined the political function of palace women like Dara Rasami who were sent from the kingdom’s peripheries to ensure the loyalties of their home kingdoms.

I posit that the limits of a woman’s circulation depended far more upon the relative value of her social currency than upon gender alone. This hierarchization will be explored in the next chapter. Page 137 .Woodhouse Chapter 3 tempered by correspondingly greater constraints on their agency and behavior. and dance-drama. based on the adaptation of the Western notion of a “hierarchy of civilizations” and its translation into a concept called “siwilai” in the Siamese context. music. Significant changes to the Siamese worldview occurred during the Fifth Reign which impacted Dara Rasami – not the least of which was ethnic chauvinism. food. which focuses on Dara Rasami’s performance of ethnic difference within the Inner Palace via dress.

Woodhouse Appendix 3 ~ Reigns of Chakri Dynasty Kings Rama I Rama II Rama III Rama IV Rama V Rama VI Rama VII Rama VIII Rama IX Phra Phutta Yotfa Phra Phutta Lert La Phra Nangklao Mongkut Chulalongkorn Vajiravudh Prajatiphok Ananta Mahidol = = = = = = = = 1782 – 1809 1809 – 1824 1824 – 1851 1851 – 1868 1868 – 1910 1910 – 1925 1925 – 1935 (abdicated) 1935 – 1946 1946 – present Chapter 3 Phumiphon Adunyadet = Adapted from Wyatt (1982). Page 138 . 313. p.

Woodhouse Illustration 3. Middle and Outer Palaces Chapter 3 Map Legend: Gates of the Inner. adapted from maps in Naengnoi. สถาปัตยกรรมพระบรมมหา ราชวัง [Architecture of the Royal Palace].1 ~ Map of Inner. 1988. Middle and Outer Palaces A) Wiset Chaisri Gate B) Phiman Thewet Gate C) Suntorn Thitsa Gate D) Thewa Phirom E) Udom Sudarak F) Chong Kut G) Sri Sudawong H) Kalyawadi I) Phitak Boworn J) Anong Karak K) Wichit Banjong L) Sakdi Chaiyasit M) Ratcha Samran N) Thewa Phitak O) Watsadi Sopha P) Montri Nopparat Q) Rattana Phisan R) Sri Sunthon Thawan S) Phrahom Sri Sawat T) Ya Tra Kasatri U) Anongka Leela V) Phrahom Sopha W) Sanam Ratchakit X) Sri Satsada Graphic by David Lucas. Page 139 .

Woodhouse Illustration 3.2 ~ Map of Chakri Maha Prasat Hall Chapter 3 Page 140 .

Page 141 . of Phrachao Borommawongter Phra Ong Chao [Royal Sister] Uppuntari Picha 5) Res. of [Queen] Somdet Phra Pitucha Chao Sukumala Marasri 4) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Phuang Soi Sa-Ang 10) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Atornthipya Nipha 8) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Hemawadi 13) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Sussiphong Praphai 12) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Prawet Worasamai 11) Res. Boromma Rachathewi Phraphun Wassa Ayikachao 6) Res. of Somdet Phra [Queen] Sri Suarintira. of Chao Chom Manda Dara Rasami 7) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Orathai Thepkanya 14) “Tao Teng” row housing for palace staff 15) Likely location of “umong” toilets 16) Barracks for “klone” guards/soldiers Graphic by David Lucas. 1988.3 ~ Complete Palace Map Chapter 3 Map Legend 1) Chakri Maha Prasat Hall (Residence of King Chulalongkorn and Queen Saowapha) 2) Residence of Krom Phraya Sudarat Rachaprayoon (Chulalongkorn’s wet nurse) 3) Res. of Phrachao Borommawongter [Royal Sister] Phra Ong Chao Adisai Suriyapha 9) Res. สถาปัตยกรรมพระบรมมหา ราชวัง [Architecture of the Royal Palace].Woodhouse lllustration 3. adapted from maps in Naengnoi.

Page 142 . 1996.4 ~ Dara Rasami’s Inner Palace Residence Chapter 3 Source: Naengnoi Saksi and Freeman. Michael. Thailand: Asia Books.Woodhouse Illustration 3. Bangkok. Palaces of Bangkok: Royal Residences of the Chakri Dynasty.

752. ประวัติการถ่ายรูปยุคแรกของไทย [History of Early Photography in Thailand].Woodhouse Illustration 3. p.5 ~ Photo of Chulalongkorn. plate 702. Page 143 . taken by Chao Chom Erb Chapter 3 Source: Anek.

The Japanese is changed to Lao. which in turn provides a new context within which Dara Rasami’s ethnic difference gained significance within the Siamese palace: that of “siwilai. The reason he [Prince Narathip] composed the lyrics imitating farang opera in this way was because he had heard a Khmer prince singing it. 306. 2 Thongchai Winichakul. ethnography.d.” Journal of Asian Studies 59. and farang to Thai. exhibition and museum – technologies which aimed to clearly delineate the distance and difference between the elites at Siam’s center and the “others” at its peripheries. These changes reflect an important shift in the worldview of Siam’s royalty and elites. These discourses included geography. Over the course of this chapter.”2 Siwilai (a Thai-language adaptation of “civilization”) is described by Thongchai Winichakul as a set of discourses through which Siamese elites re-ordered their worldview along the lines of European notions of a hierarchy of civilizations. that’s all. สำเนาพระราชหัทเลขาจาก พระบาคสมเด็จพระพุทธเจ้าหลวง พระราชทานกรมพระนราธิป พระพันภงศ์ [Letters from King Chulalongkorn to Prince Narathip Praphanpong]. 3. [Bangkok: n. 528-549.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Chapter 4: Dara Rasami and Performing Lan Na Identity in the Siamese Court “Ruang Khrua Fa [The Story of Khrua Fa] is the story of Madam Butterfly. Page 144 . 2000. Siamese court life changed significantly in terms of both geographical space and the activities of the royal consorts.” ~ King Chulalongkorn to Dara Rasami1 Between the era which was the focus of the prior chapter and the early twentieth century. which I mentioned in my [letters home from Europe in 1906] about Paris. No. I will pick up strands of Thongchai’s analysis of how ethnic categories were delineated and reinforced through 1 Letter from King Chulalongkorn to Dara Rasami. dated 24 April 1908.]. “The Quest for ‘Siwilai’: A Geographical Discourse of Civilizational Thinking in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Siam.

In the chapter conclusion. it does not take into consideration the possibility of palace women’s roles in the formulation of these new categories. while Thongchai’s consideration of siwilai focuses on scientific discourses written by male Siamese elites. dress. allowing Siam’s elite further opportunities to consume and commodify the peoples at their peripheries. and the re-positioning of Lan Na in the new hierarchy of civilizations. and the ways in which popular entertainments provided vehicles for elite notions of ethnic difference. drama. my analysis will focus on Princess Dara Rasami’s sartorial difference within the palace and the dissonant discourses of dress from her home region versus those of the Siamese court. In the following section. In the second section. I posit that Chao Dara Rasami played a significant role in the creation and communication of discourses relating to Siam’s view of Lan Na. I intend to demonstrate Dara Rasami’s central role in making Lan Na Page 145 . I suggest that cultural modes of discourse – namely.Woodhouse Chapter 4 various modes of discourse. and what they reflect about Dara Rasami’s role as an ethnic insider/outsider within the palace. In addition to the aforementioned “scientific” modes. The third section concerns Dara Rasami’s participation in the new forms of lakhon (dancedrama) which became popular with Bangkok’s citizenry towards the end of the nineteenth century. However. I will look more closely at how siwilai affected the circulation of elite bodies into the new space(s) of the palace at Suan Dusit. I will explore the extent to which Dara Rasami’s role in twentieth-century palace arts and diplomacy represent a “strategic essentialism”: an active (and effective) deployment of her ethnic difference against Siamese cultural hegemony. The last section focuses on diplomatic gestures both public and private. nor does he consider cultural activities as discourses of ethnic difference. and diplomatic gestures – embodied the discourse of siwilai within the context of the Inner Palace.

1ข/28. Satellites of Vimanmek. Chulalongkorn expresses his belief that the environment of the Inner Palace is not merely stifling. 2002. inform both the performance and consumption of Princess Dara Rasami’s ethnic difference during the latter part of her career as a royal consort. 1898. Thailand: Vimanmek Palace. น. Dusit Royal Palace. Office of the Royal Palace. Page 146 .18.] Vols.4 With funds from the royal Privy Purse. the king returned from his travels to find the Inner Palace unpleasantly overcrowded.T.Woodhouse Chapter 4 difference knowable to the innermost circle of Siamese elites. dated 19 February. I feel well because I can walk every day.3 In a letter to Prince Krommyn Retsuwanryt. Royal Residential Halls. and north-to- พระราชวังดุสิต หมู่พ ระตำหนัก [Dusit Palace. R5. Bangkok. no one feels well [here] every day. 3 4 N.A. though. 1 & 2. stretching east-to-west from the recently completed railway line (along today’s Sawankhalok Road) to Samsen Road. Chulalongkorn purchased several tracts located a few miles north of Rattanakosin Island. When I come back. but actually unhealthy: I think I’ll build a house to get out and relax… I notice that when I stay at Bang Pa-In [the summer palace at Ayutthaya]. I argue. 4. King Chulalongkorn undertook a project which made a major impact on the women of the Inner Palace..1 Royal Circulations: Moving the Siamese Court in the Early Twentieth Century Following his return from a tour of the European continent in late 1897. from roughly 1898 until King Chulalongkorn’s death in 1910. and thereby earning a higher status for her homeland in the hierarchical construct of Siamese siwilai. These conflicting discourses will. Newly impressed by the garden-like suburban residences of European monarchs and nobles.

Bangkok. who otherwise might have nowhere to live following his death. garden-like landscape of the new royal park. royal relatives and children. 7 The new Inner Palace grounds at Dusit were named for one of Chulalongkorn’s favorite wives. 1996. named Suan Sunanta. a woman would have had to return to her parents’ home or live in straitened circumstances. consisted of former farmland and orchards. The environment at the new.8 Princess Dara Rasami was one of the handful of women included in this small group. Chulalongkorn brought his entourage – including several of his favorite consorts – on regular bicycle outings from the old Palace to Suan Dusit. Bangkok.1) This area. with lakes. Otherwise. 230. trees Naengnoi. his consorts and children. The area was re-landscaped completely. sometimes spending the night there as well. Dusit Royal Palace. “It will be recalled that consorts with sons could [go to] live with them in their own palaces” after the king’s death. Naengnoi mentions that funds from the Privy Purse were used so as to render the land the personal property of the king. who had died in a boating accident early in his reign (1880). khlongs. it was inaugurated in March 1899. less than two dozen in all. 2002. From that time on. Here the king intended to build residences for his most favored consorts and royal relatives without male children. Office of the Royal Palace. As Naengnoi reminds us. Satellites of Vimanmek. Freeman. Thailand: Vimanmek Palace. 17. which was intended only for occasional stays by the King.7 was set aside exclusively for the residences of a select group of royal women: consorts.5 (See Map. royal residences. Queen Sunanta Kumarikun. Palaces of Bangkok: Royal Residences of the Chakri Dynasty. which were cleared of much of their existing vegetation. which he named Suan Dusit (Celestial Garden). Illustration 4.] Vol. park-like palace. A large section of these grounds. Saksi. 8 Naengnoi and Freeman.. (195 & 230) 5 พระราชวังดุสิต หมู่พ ระตำหนัก [Dusit Palace. which he could leave to his children and consorts after his death. Royal Residential Halls. single-story wooden pavilion. and streets of its own.Woodhouse Chapter 4 south between Khlong [waterway] Phadung Krung Kasem and Khlong Samsen. The first structure built there was a simple. with its wide lawns.6 Soon the rest of the grounds at Dusit were allocated to a variety of royal uses: throne halls. 6 Page 147 . ibid. Thailand: Asia Books. 1 & 2. Michael. and pavilions dotted the airy.

10 around which clustered the residences of a select number of King Chulalongkorn’s female relatives and favorite consorts. which the King himself had enjoyed since his boyhood days. just off Siam’s coast in the Gulf of Thailand. Bangkok: Office of the Royal Palace. ibid. has been restored to its former grandeur and is now open for guided tours. was built from the uncompleted Mundhat Ratanarot Palace on Koh Si Chang Island. games of croquet. The king himself resided primarily at Vimanmek. 17. (Dusit Palace. but the areas were separated by canals and landscaping versus walls.” the space of the women’s residences was completely reimagined. and Sukhumala Marasri. Royal Residential Halls. the consorts’ new quarters could not have been more different from those of the old Inner Palace. (Illustration 4. made entirely from golden teak wood. was ideal for several activities which became popular with the royal ladies at Dusit: walks. paved streets. After a brief visit to the island by the king in May 1901. along with Queens Saowapha.Woodhouse Chapter 4 and flowers. Satellites of Vimanmek]. (See Illustration 4. picnics. 10 Vimanmek Mansion.2) The layout of Suan Sunanta likely puts contemporary viewers in mind of a suburban housing tract: individual houses were set along a winding road surrounding the central lake. The orientation of the buildings still echoed the division of Outer Palace from Middle Palace from Inner Palace. Though the new palace grounds were securely walled off from the outside world as before. 30.9 Suan Dusit was at first imagined less as a replacement than as an extension of the existing Royal Palace grounds described in the previous chapter.) Though it was largely abandoned after King Vajiravudh’s death in 1925. Royal Residential Halls. the royal island residence was abandoned. where it was rebuilt into Vimanmek Mansion. Sawang Watthana. Satellites of Vimanmek. Vimanmek Mansion still stands. Page 148 . In the context of the new “garden palace. the structure was disassembled and moved to Dusit Park. and wide. and bicycling. In the new Middle Palace stood Vimanmek Mansion. Chao Chom Erb and Chao Chom Uan (of the 9 พระราชวังดุสิต หมู่พ ระตำหนัก [Dusit Palace.. which opened nineteen months later in 1903.3) A pastoral feeling was the explicit goal of this arrangement. After the French Crisis of 1893. with ample spaces between the residences planted with grass and trees.

3 for a map of Suan Dusit palace grounds circa 1902. 11 12 See Nattakhan Limsataphon’s essay.13 Though the layout and construction of the new palace at Suan Dusit were accomplished at the fiat of the Siamese absolute monarch. 106. The new residences at Suan Dusit were built only for a small subset of the inhabitants of the old Inner Palace: the king’s favorite and highest-status consorts. including Princess Dara Rasami. 13 Letter of Chulalongkorn to Dara Rasami dated 13 February 1909. quoted in Phonsiri. The segregation of the consorts’ space from that of the king was no longer strict as it had been in the old palace.12 (See Illustration 4. King Inthawichyanon of Chiang Mai.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Bunnag family). This high order was the same one which had been awarded to her father. as their new residences abutted the tract surrounding Vimanmek. As we can see from the above stories of Chulalongkorn’s bike rides and picnics. and a handful of their daughters. they nonetheless reflect the shift See Illustration 4. This is also reflected in Chulalongkorn’s letters to the planners of the new palace. 127. she received the Order of the Chula Chom Klao in 1893. “พระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศมี:พระประวัติ [Queen Dara Rasami: Biography]. in which he requested that Dara Rasami’s new residence be situated next to the homes of two other consorts – Hem and Mot – with whom she was close friends. As one of Chulalongkorn’s “first generation” of royal consorts.11 Though her official status was still no higher than chao chom [consort-mother]. after the new residences for royal consorts were completed there. Page 149 . Dara’s career within the palace continued to advance on an upward trajectory. on Dara’s entry into palace service in Siam in 1886.4) The fact of her membership amongst the select number of royal consorts brought to Dusit reflects her continued favor with the king and status at court. consorts’ bodies began to circulate outside the palace in wholly new ways (at least in the company of the king) as well. and she had not borne the king another child since the death of her only daughter in 1892.” in ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lanna Women].

90-93. however. I will look more closely at siwilai as it was applied to the elite bodies within the space(s) of the palace. I will pick up Thongchai’s analysis of how ethnic categories were delineated and reinforced through notions of siwilai: between a look to Europe for civilizational models. and a look to the periphery for examples of inferior “other-ness. In contrast to the space of the old Royal Palace grounds. 14 15 Page 150 . here I suggest that siwilai can also be applied to the micro-geography of the space of the palace.” A significant aspect of siwilai which is missing from Thongchai’s analysis. 2002. their circulations and their coverings.Woodhouse Chapter 4 in royal thinking about space under the growing of influence of European ideas of siwilai. Maurizio. he misses several critical examples of the discourse of siwilai as it was applied within the Inner Palace. 14 Though Thongchai’s analyses focus upon how these ideas shaped Siam’s elites view of the national landscape. Lords of Things: The Fashioning of the Siamese Monarchy's Modern Image. Thongchai (2000). This phenomenon is described by Thongchai Winichakul as a particularly geographical discourse through which Siamese elites re-ordered their worldview through a reassignment of spatial categories which emulated European ones. Peleggi. In the next section. 528-549. and a corresponding suburbanization of royal life. While Thongchai examines the Siamese adaptation of colonial exhibitions and museums and the new ways in which they consume and commodify Siam’s peripheries. Honolulu: University of Hawaii Press. relates to its application to elite bodies. Suan Dusit’s characteristics clearly reflect an adoption of the garden palaces of European monarchs.15 In the next sections.

4. Brighton [England] . 17 See Gittinger and Lefferts (1992). versus the perceptions of those sartorial expressions within the Siamese court. there are several excellent works by prominent textile experts which provide a much greater breadth and depth as to the region’s clothing styles and textile patterns than I can go into here. 2007. 1998. Thus.” the body becomes a multivalent site. 2002 and 2003). and Roces. and S. the goal of this section will be to explore the distinctions between the discourse(s) of identity that Princess Dara Rasami herself may have intended to express through her dress and hairstyle. I will focus on Lan Na women’s roles in textile production and exchange. In both kingdoms. Conway (1992. textiles had been utilized as part of the tributary system for centuries. UK.Woodhouse Chapter 4 4. Louise P. Ore: Sussex Academic. it is helpful to examine the context within which textiles were produced and exchanged in both Lan Na and Siam. and many of their neighboring polities within mainland Southeast Asia. New York: Berg. Consuming Fashion : Adorning the Transnational Body. Anne. Mina and Edwards. Oxford.16 Viewed as discourses to be “read. and the cultural/political function of textiles as markers of ethnic difference in Lan Na. more recent scholarship on clothing and the body have problematized such interpretation as simplistic and reductive. 16 Page 151 . Textile Traditions of Lan Na To consider the ways in which Dara Rasami’s clothing and textile choices signified within the palace. Portland. potentially holding different meanings for the wearer than for the various audiences who perceive and consume them. As textile expert See Brydon. etc.17 In this section. A Niessen. The Politics of Dress in Asia and the Americas.2a. For those interested in the textile traditions themselves.2 Performing Ethnicity: Sartorial and Bodily Expression and Consumption While the expression of identity through dress has often been interpreted in terms of the wearer’s intentions. Cheesman (1988 and 2004).

In this space. and also made up the bulk of a Lan Na woman’s wedding dowry. that it was not to be touched by courting males. Burma and Siam. it was said she could weave anything. 21 Ibid.20 A young woman’s mastery of the most complex weaving patterns found in local textiles signaled her fitness for marriage. functioned as both a site of feminine labor and an important social site. as weaving competence Conway.21 Though not every woman became a weaver. 20 Gittinger and Lefferts. dress and textiles had long been part of tribute and gift exchange between the courts of Lan Na. which monitored a young woman’s skill in weaving. 19 Ibid. the Shan States. 92.19 Textiles held particular importance as gift items in both political and religious ceremonies.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Susan Conway notes. 18 Page 152 . The loom itself. Lefferts quotes a Lao saying that once a woman learned to weave the difficult.18 Silk clothing from Chiang Mai was sent to the Shan States as part of a peace settlement in the eighteenth century. who were allowed to visit the young woman while she was weaving. Sipsong Pan Na. 69. weaving held particular social significance for girls and women. as she could then produce the household textiles needed to clothe and care for an entire family. At the village level. and accessible to marriageable men. Luang Prabang. discontinuous-weft pattern known as teen jok.. Susan. The loom itself became such a potent object. while the Chiang Mai court accepted gifts of Siamese textiles in the nineteenth century. typically located in the space beneath the traditional wooden “stilt” house. the loom was both visible to the entire village. Chicago: Art Media Resources. 94. China. Silken Threads Lacquer Thrones: Lan Na Court Textiles. so symbolically charged with women’s creative and reproductive energies. a woman’s skill at the loom made her more desirable as a marriage partner. 2002.

ibid. The phasin was valued as an expression of female creativity. Katherine Bowie ties this myth to that of the “self-sufficient” village which persists in idealized images of the Conway (2002). not every woman was a weaver – despite some assertions to the contrary on the part of contemporary textile experts. the Tai Yuan.. See particularly Songsak Prangwatthanakul and Patricia Cheesman 1987. they began to adopt the elements of the dominant local group. stability and continuity.) As various ethnic groups (particularly the Lawa. even while each group’s textile tradition remained distinct. Tai Lue and Tai Khoen) were re-settled around Chiang Mai in the early nineteenth century. into their weaving patterns and clothing designs. This was done primarily as a means of acknowledging her matrilineal clan and placating its spirits. “The strongest expression of ethnic identity is represented in the female skirt (phasin). (Though Lan Na marital patterns tended to settle exogamous males into matrilocal households.23 In her 1992 article. Women’s roles as carriers of ethnic identity through textiles were central to Lan Na culture. 12: “In the past every woman could weave. though less frequently. According to Conway. 126. Textiles played a central role as markers of ethnic identity within the Lan Na region. This helps to explain the wide variety of designs utilized by the peoples of the Ping River valley.Woodhouse Chapter 4 also translated to higher commercial incomes for her household (as will be further discussed later on in this section).” 22 23 Page 153 . and the occasional trespass of one design’s elements into those of another group. even in the event that she married and relocated outside her village. women could “marry out” to other villages. Nonetheless.”22 A Lan Na woman wore the textile pattern and garment styles of her hometown or village.

4 (November): 797-823. “Unraveling the Myth of the Subsistence Economy: Textile Production in 19th Century Thailand. and of wealthy farmers. Katherine. and others as markets for their finished goods. As Conway pointedly notes.”24 Some villages produced cotton and silk both for local use and for commercial exchange among the mandala of the Inland Constellation. the distinctive textiles that women used to identify themselves with their ethnic group need not have been produced by them.” Journal of Asian Studies. even without sumptuary laws. owned costumes made with expensive imported materials obtained from itinerant traders. village. of powerful village leaders in satellite domains. While village women wore a simple. Bowie asserts that “The component aspects of the production process… were not performed in each individual household but rather were divided by household. 1992. no. phasin skirts shot with metallic threads or trimmed with fancy teen jok borders were worn only on special occasions like weddings or monastic ordinations. or even in their town.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Thai past. Thus. with some villages functioning as weaving centers. Lan Na did not utilize the same sort of sumptuary regulation as Siam did in constraining the textiles (and even colors) that wealthy commoners could use in their dress. horizontally-striped cotton phasin for their day-to-day activities. and even region. Conway notes that even “[t]he wives and daughters of [northern] minor rulers and officials. 94-95. 25 Conway (2002). For the abovementioned wives and daughters of local chiefs and Bowie. as long as such textiles could be obtained through exchange with neighboring production centers. 24 Page 154 . the circulation of such materials and textiles in Lan Na still flowed largely along class lines. if a woman could afford them at all (or weave them herself).”25 However. Drawing data from both Chiang Mai archival sources and local oral histories.

500 and 1. and who was friendly with most Western visitors to the city. Colquhoun. London: Field & Tuer. 27 Hallett. such garments represented a statement of wealth and status. It is very likely that Dara Rasami’s mother Mae Chao Thipkraisorn knew how to weave. 28 Colquhoun also mentions the large number of slaves owned by Ubonwanna: 800.27 Chao Ubonwanna also appeared to be an expert on local textiles. For Lan Na’s noblewomen. 257. In merchant-traveler Holt Hallett’s account of his visits to Chiang Mai in the early 1880s. and royal centers kept extensive ateliers of weavers to produce them. Chiang Mai’s royal women had no need to weave anything themselves: their wealth provided them access to the most highly skilled weavers as well as the best raw and finished materials. A Thousand Miles on an Elephant in the Shan States. though there are no direct references to her weaving activities. Edinborough and London: William Blackwood and Sons. “Even a wealthy princess is not exempt from the necessity for making the silken garments which are the symbol of her rank.000 slaves respectively. Holt S. Archibald Ross. who was an experienced trader in Chiang Mai. 1985. 26Bock. there is greater evidence of a personal involvement with weaving which indicates that she herself may have been a skilled weaver.Woodhouse Chapter 4 wealthy farmers.28 Whether or not Ubonwanna did very much weaving personally.”26 For Dara’s aunt. who owned 1. Page 155 . This was especially true of Ubonwanna. For example. he mentions that visitors to her house could usually see some of Ubonwanna’s servants weaving on her front veranda. Temples and Elephants: The Narrative of A Journey of Exploration through Upper Siam and Laos. As one Western observer noted. 1890. showing him several from her personal collection. Chao Ubonwanna. which ranked her just below Chiang Mai’s King and Uparat (Second King). such garments were worn more frequently at court. any more than the poorer women can do without weaving their cotton clothes. Amongst the Shans. 322. Carl. 1885. Bangkok: White Orchid Press.

30 Within the context of the Inland Constellation. rather than homogenized. representations of sartorial difference within a ruler’s household indicated the power and reach of his influence into the surrounding territory. The Chiang Mai and Nan chronicles both record early nineteenth century alliances that brought women of Tai Yuan. Tai Lue. Chiang Mai’s ruling families belonged to the Tai Yuan ethnic group. Luang Prabang and the Shan States. 30 Conway (2002). This ethnic identification informed the style and patterns of textiles worn by Chiang Mai’s royal women. 29 Page 156 . 94. Thus. elite female dress within Lan Na courts often represented a panoply of different textile traditions and patterns as a result of marital alliances between the inland mandala of Sipsong Panna. When noblewomen of inland polities were sent as consorts to the rulers of neighboring states.29 Nonetheless. continuing to dress in the style of their home culture even after they settled far away. Their phasin (skirts) This request was part of an exchange of textiles Hallett facilitated between Ubonwanna and his sister in England in the late 1880s. she ordered some English lace she had been unable to obtain locally. Thus. Following Lan Na’s re-founding in the late eighteenth century. Tai Lao and Tai Khoen origin to live at the Lan Na courts. difference among the dress traditions of women in Lan Na courts was of great political value to Lan Na’s rulers and was to be maintained. 386-387).Woodhouse Chapter 4 through her connection with Hallett. What is significant for our purposes is the role played by locally distinct textiles in the system of political alliances between Lan Na and its neighbors. (Hallett. the textiles produced by Lan Na’s elites – royal or common – reflected the dominant ethnic textile tradition of their locale. they brought their textile traditions with them.

as evidenced in photographs from the early twentieth century. 3) The lowest segment. with equally tight fitting sleeves. 2) A horizontally striped “body” (dtua sin) segment that reached from the waist to shin.” for a full glossary of terms related to various weaving patterns and textiles. or “hem” (teen sin) portion of the skirt was usually a separate piece of fabric attached as a decorative border. On top. rolled and tucked to fit at the waist. Illustration 4. dtua sin = body of the skirt. For daily wear. women wore a loosely draped shoulder cloth called a pha sabai chieng. a phasin made up of only the “head” and “body” pieces usually sufficed. but often went without it. while a more intricately woven piece of fabric such as teen jok was used for the “foot” segment. being not of elastic knitted work but of unyielding cotton or silk. (See examples in Illustration 4. On fancier phasin like those worn by Dara Rasami. under which the breasts were mostly exposed.Woodhouse Chapter 4 featured three main elements: 1) The “head” (hua sin) or waistband segment of cotton in red.32 Hua sin = translates literally as head of the skirt. Lan Na’s royal women had adopted a slim-fitting. long-sleeved white blouse. Appendix III (pp. 31 Page 157 . 32 Bock.5) These three pieces were sewn together into a tube skirt. See Cheesman (1992). fancier versions featured designs of metallic gold or silver thread. and involving no small amount of labour to get on and off.31 (See Illustration 4.8) By the late nineteenth century. 327.7) Women at work sometimes wore a chest-wrap that covered the breasts.6). luntaya pattern could be used for the “body” segment. something after the style of the ‘ladies jerseys’ recently so fashionable in Paris and London. (See Illustration 4. this piece could be easily detached and replaced when worn or dirty. which the wearer then wrapped. Bock wrote of this innovation from Chiang Mai in 1882: A few Lao [Lan Na] women are beginning to wear tight fitting jackets cut to the shape of the figure. striped in black and another color (usually yellow or green). white or black. 284-294): “Transcription of Lao-Tai Words. teen sin = skirt edge or hem. (See mural painting detail.

What might such an adoption/adaptation of a Siamese element into their Lan Na attire signify? It could indicate a more pro-Bangkok orientation on the part of Thipkraisorn. Siamese-style pha sabai together with their Lan Na-style phasin. 33 Page 158 . Such a reorientation of Lan Na’s sympathies towards Bangkok is suggested by sources that describe a rift between Thipkraisorn and her father. Dara Rasami. whose questionable loyalties had aroused King Mongkut’s suspicions in the 1870s. her aunt. In contrast. Thipkraisorn and her sister. and his execution of several converts in 1869. was also photographed on multiple occasions wearing a phasin with teen jok. and Holt Hallett. bracelets and other jewelry indicating her wealth and high rank. were friendly with the missionaries and other Western visitors to Chiang Mai. (See image of Thipkraisorn. in addition to earrings. Lady Ubonwanna. in a bid to improve their status in Bangkok’s eyes (see Chapter 2).9) In addition to the photograph of Dara Rasami’s mother referenced above.Woodhouse Chapter 4 This jacket stopped just above the waist of the phasin.33 Perhaps this nod to Siamese style was a statement of Lan Na elites’ cosmopolitan currency with Bangkok. with the pha sabai chieng sometimes draped diagonally across the chest and over one shoulder. (See Illustration 4. Archibald Colquhoun. See Ratanaporn (1989) for a description of King Kawilorot’s persecution of Christian missionaries. as I noted in Chapter Two. King Kawilorot. were both very friendly towards both the local Christian missionaries (in great contrast to King Kawilorot) and many of the Western merchants and explorers who came through Chiang Mai in the 1870s and 1880s.10) One element of dress seen in the photographs of both women is especially interesting. however: both wear a pleated. Thipkraisorn and Ubonwanna. Illustration 4. including Carl Bock. particularly considering the possibility that she and her husband invented the rumor regarding Queen Victoria’s desire to adopt their daughter. Kawilorot’s daughters. Ubonwanna.

Not only were certain materials (e. and by the royalty of many of the inland states. 98.Woodhouse Chapter 4 As princess of Chiang Mai’s royal house. 91. More than twenty-five years before Dara Rasami’s arrival in Bangkok in 1886. By the last quarter of the nineteenth century. 4.35 (Illustration 4. while adapting certain elements to her life within the Siamese palace. pha laiyang silks had been commissioned from Indian textile producers. Ibid. Dara Rasami was intimately familiar with these elements of Lan Na weaving. but particular textile patterns (called pha laiyang) were reserved exclusively for royalty. Since the Ayutthayan era.11) In the mid-nineteenth century. In the following section. Siamese Court Textiles and Dress In comparison with the style of court dress worn by the Lan Na princes. or vice versa. the dress of nobles and consorts at court had already begun to reflect an awareness of the Conway (2002). It is unclear whether the patterns originated in Siam and were copied by Indian weavers.34 As mentioned before. we will explore how she maintained some of the traditions with which she grew up in Lan Na.2b. Siamese royalty utilized sumptuary codes which made the dress of elites immediately visually distinguishable from that of common folk. Indian and English imports gained a new currency as cotton chintzes and other printed fabrics became popular with Siamese commoners. courtly textiles and dress traditions. Siamese noblewomen were frequently photographed wearing examples of both types of textiles. the ceremonial dress of the Siamese court was lavish and hierarchical.g. 34 35 Page 159 . and woven in royal workshops at court. silk) off-limits to people of less than noble birth..

Page 160 . Let all of you wear shirts when you come to the Royal Audience Hall. แก้วชิงดวง รวมสารคดีเรืองเยี่ยม [Crystal Flowers]. (As a boy. In other countries. But Siam is a great country.d. which are great countries. all of which are very dirty. such as “sweet-smelling” soap and perfume. Bangkok: Phrae Phittaya. they all wear shirts [upper garments]. we should not follow the ancient customs of the primitives of the past. Lao. who do not have clothes as they are lowly human beings. 18. King Chulalongkorn gifted a set of perfumes and soaps – along with a photograph of himself – to his first consort. Some of these items influenced Siamese elite bodily practices. and Chao Pa [jungle people]. every one of you. 36 38 Lawaan Chotamra.37) During this era. Mongkut’s favorite consorts experimented with some curious elements of Western fashion. Siam’s elites embarked on a love affair with many other things Western. King Mongkut (1851-1868) himself evidenced an acute awareness of how one’s clothing affected the perception of one’s level of “civilization”: People who do not wear shirts are like naked people. of all languages. In addition to the above sartorial accommodation to the West in the court. five of the kings’ highest-status consorts accompanied the king on horseback dressed as “Scots guards” complete with tams and multicolored plaid chongkrabaen called “kilts.]. which became popular amongst palace folk in the 1860s. These พระราชพงศาวดารกรุงรัตนาโกสินทร์ ราชกาลที่ ๔ [Royal Chronicles of the Bangkok period.Woodhouse Chapter 4 sartorial conventions of the West. We know many customs and traditions.12) Photographs show that these consorts had even grown out their hair. Their bodies may show skin diseases or sweat. the Fourth Reign]. During a royal visit to changwat Saraburi in 1860. except the Lawa [Mon-Khmer]. [Bangkok: n. 37 Prince Damrong. 114-115.”38 (See Illustration 4. Phae. 377-78.36 From that time forward members of the Siamese royal family and royal officials were required to wear shirts (as opposed to a lower garment only) at court. which was worn in a bun and tucked under Scottish “tam-o’-shanter” hats.

was standard costume in the 1860s. however. while the chongkrabaen worn at court utilized the aforementioned pha laiyang silks. the phanung was twisted up between the legs to form trouser-like chongkrabaen. plus an accordionpleated wrap called a pha sabai chieng draped diagonally across the chest and over one shoulder. a single length of fabric wrapped around the waist. wears this style in the royal portrait of the couple taken in 1865. Such “traditional” Siamese court dress and hairstyle consisted of a set of several elements distinctly different from those of Lan Na women’s dress. Siamese women (and men) typically wore the phanung.13). While in Lan Na women often wore the pha sabai chieng loosely draped around or across their shoulders.) Phanung as worn by the Siamese populace were typically made of homespun cotton. Among Siamese women of noble or royal rank. Siamese women more frequently went without any covering on their torso whatsoever (a fact which is assiduously catalogued in the photographs of many nineteenth-century Western male visitors to the region. Amongst noblewomen. See Illustration 4. (See Illustration 4. Page 161 . and by the time of his death in 1868 Siamese women’s court style appears to have reverted to what it was closer to the beginning of the reign. (King Mongkut’s highest queen. Thepsirin. a pha hom sabai wrapped around the breasts and torso. Another marked difference between Siamese and Lan Na women’s dress lay in the style of garments worn on the lower body. While Lan Na women wore the aforementioned skirt-style phasin.15 for a comparison of these styles.Woodhouse Chapter 4 conventions do not appear to have become popular among the remainder of Mongkut’s consorts. See Illustration 4.14) There is nothing similar to the fitted cotton or silk jacket worn by Lan Na’s noblewomen in the 1870s to be seen in the dress of the Bangkok nobility.

”39 To combat this perception. 41-42. the new hairstyle does not appear much different from the old one: where the sides of the head were shaved before. women grew their hair long. and how it “made Westerners perceive us as chaopa [barbarians]. the new style grew out the hair on the sides. 133. mother of Prince Damrong. ibid. who volunteered to grow her hair out first (having done so before as one of Mongkut’s aforementioned high consorts). ibid. In Lan Na. and to adopt the oiled and combed haircuts of their male Western counterparts. …พระสนมเอก [King Chulalongkorn and His Favorite Consorts]. shaved on the sides and back of the head with an inch or two standing straight on the crown of the head. Though male officials were quick to do so. the women of Lan Na and Siam also practiced different modes of wearing their hair.Woodhouse Chapter 4 In addition to different sartorial traditions. In Siam. wearing it pulled up into a bun on the back of the head. both women and men wore their hair in a “brush-cut” style.” or sides and back of the head.. 39 40 Wannaphon.40 To contemporary eyes. he expressed his dissatisfaction with the “oldfashioned” brush-cut. Over the subsequent decade before Dara Rasami’s entry to the palace. To motivate the royal consorts. but not very long – it rarely reached below the wearer’s earlobes. Not long after young King Chulalongkorn ascended the throne in 1870. Page 162 . King Chulalongkorn encouraged both the officials of the Mahat Thai and the women of the Inner Palace to grow out their hair on the “flanks. the ladies of the Inner Palace resisted the change at first. the “flank-style” hairdo instituted at the start of Chulalongkorn’s reign had become the default style among Siam’s elite women. Damrong. it took the leadership of a senior woman: Chao Khun Phae..


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Although contemporary Western observers might mistake Dara’s upswept hairstyle for an adaptation to Victorian norms, in fact her hairstyle simply reflected her identification with Lan Na style – which may well explain why this particular fashion did not catch on with more women of Siam’s Inner Palace.41 By the time of Dara Rasami’s entry into the palace in 1886, incorporating elements of Western fashion in order to “modernize” Siamese dress was no longer new. Along with Western-style haircuts for male officials and nobles, Chulalongkorn had also – in an explicit effort to conform to Western notions of siwilai – changed official dress to utilize jackets in the Western military-style on top, worn with chongkrabaen, stockings and shoes on the bottom.42 Siamese women’s court dress was also influenced: photographs demonstrate the adoption of the high-necked, puff-sleeved lace blouse made popular by Queen Victoria’s daughter, Princess Alexandra.43 As in the dress of male officials, the blouse was paired with chongkrabaen, stockings and shoes. Royal consorts also typically wore a colored silk pha hom sabai draped across the chest, in a color appropriate to the day of the week.44 The pha hom sabai was often adorned with jewels indicating a woman’s rank. Among Chulalongkorn’s high queens, custom-made brooches in the shape of a consort’s initials became popular

Conway makes this claim in Silken Threads, Lacquer Thrones (2002: p. 155), but it is unsupported by either historical data or photographic evidence. Thai cultural historian Anucha Thirakanont was also adamant in his efforts to disabuse me of this notion. (Personal conversation with Anucha Thirakanont, Bangkok: July 2007.) 42 Wannaporn describes the formulation of this policy in relation to “aryatham,” or civilization, in

จอมนางแห่งสยาม [Chom Nang Haeng Siam], ibid., 130-141. 43 Conway (2002), 152. 44 This system of colors was dictated by the Brahmin-Hindu notion that a different god governed each day of the week, and particular colors were thus auspicious on different days. Kukrit Pramote describes this practice in his historical novel of the era, Four Reigns (see following page). Anecdotal evidence indicates that some middle- to upper-class Thais still endeavor to wear the “color of the day” as a means of improving their popularity and prosperity.

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marks of favored status.45 For an excellent example of these conventions in dress, one need look no further than to photographs of Chulalongkorn’s highest queen, Saowapha Phongsri. (See Illustration 4.16, portrait of Saowapha.) In addition to these conventions, Siamese elites also observed a system which dictated the wearing of a different color (and complementary colors) on each day of the week. Thai noble Kukrit Pramote, himself a child of the Inner Palace in the latter nineteenth century, describes this system in great detail: On Mondays, the phanung color was soft yellow, with a wrap of light blue or [flower of Peru]. But if the ‘nung was pigeon blue, you had to wear a wrap of reddish-yellow. Tuesday, ‘nung of lime green or purple-plum would dictate a wrap of yellow-green. But if the ‘nung was yellow-green or soft green then you had to have a wrap of soft purple. For Wednesday, the ‘nung was brown, of course, or grey, with a yellow wrap. Thursday the ‘nung was leaf green, and the wrap blood red, or a ‘nung of reddish-yellow with wrap of soft green. Friday, the ‘nung was light blue, with yellow wrap. Saturday the ‘nung was purple-plum with wrap of yellow, or ‘nung of striped background in purple and yellow-green. Sunday was the same as for Thursday, of course, or a ‘nung of lychee color or blood red, with yellow-green wrap. When in mourning, one wore a striped ‘nung of purple but a wrap of cream white.46 As we can see from the above, conventions of dress – coupled with the strict sumptuary regulations – demonstrate the central role played by dress in Siamese conceptions of elite status. These standards rendered one’s rank and status immediately visually readable through one’s dress: whether one could wear cotton or silk, homespun or imported materials, in the appropriate color for the day of the week. During the Fifth Reign, Chulalongkorn added yet another layer of meaning to this system: a desire to appear

45 46

Wannaphon, ibid. Kukrit Pramote, Four Reigns. Bangkok: p. 36.

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siwilai [civilized], in order to better represent Siam’s status within a framework of European expectations. Throughout his forty-year reign, the king continued to shape and refine the sartorial conventions for the most elite Siamese men and women.47 4.2c. Dara Rasami and Ethnic Difference within the Siamese Court How did Dara Rasami’s convention of dressing in Lan Na style signify within these recently reconfigured sartorial boundaries? Prior to Dara Rasami’s arrival in Bangkok in 1886, it appears that most “foreign” women – that is, consorts sent from the tributary kingdoms at the peripheries of Siam – had assimilated to the Siamese mode of dress (though there is little photographic evidence to go by before the 1860s). The other Siamese consort who came from Lan Na during the Fifth Reign, Princess Thipkesorn of Chiang Mai, “cut her hair short, and… wore pha laiyang,” indicating that she had given up both her Lan Na hairstyle and textiles, adapting to Siamese customs.48 Princess Dara Rasami, in contrast, maintained the dress conventions of Lan Na after entering the Siamese palace. The chronology of the extant photographs of Dara Rasami demonstrate that, after an initial period of conformity to Siamese/Western fashion, Dara dressed in the Lan Na style consistently over the subsequent decades of her palace career. In her earliest palace portrait (Illustration 4.17), Princess Dara appears dressed in a somewhat jarring combination of Western and Lan Na dress: a Victorian-style beribboned plaid blouse paired with a phasin skirt featuring an elaborate teen jok border at the hem. In the companion piece to this

King Chulalongkorn directed that the various palace ministries wear jackets of different colors. The Mahat Thai (Interior Ministry) was to wear dark green, the Foreign Ministry was to wear dark blue, and Royal Pages

were to wear gray. See Ratthaphatri Janthawit’s ผัาพิม พ์ลายโบราณ ในพิพิธภัณ ฑสถานแห่งชาติ [Ancient Chintz Fabrics in the National Museums], Bangkok: Krom Sinlapakorn, 2002: 65-66. 48 See Sulak, ibid., 75. Thipkesorn had arrived in Bangkok in 1880, several years before JDR to serve as a consort in the Siamese palace.

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portrait (Illustration 4.18), which appears to have been taken at the same time, Dara wears the same dress while posing with her infant daughter (b. 1889). The presence of Dara’s daughter is important to note, as motherhood had the effect of both automatically raising her status (to that of Chao Chom Manda) and entitling Dara to her own residence. Upon becoming mistress of her new residence around that time, Dara Rasami was allowed to gather her own entourage to attend her. These women, who came from Dara’s extended royal family in Chiang Mai and Lamphun, were also required by Dara to dress in Lan Na style, wearing the phasin and muan daily. (Illustration 4.19) As discussed earlier in this section, the wearing of local textiles was central to the expression of ethnic identity and continuity among Lan Na women. Dara Rasami’s practice of wearing phasin that incorporated luntaya pattern or teen jok borders was also consistent with that of elite Lan Na women exchanged as consorts with neighboring rulers: that “foreign” women continued to wear the garb of their homeland, signaling the local king’s power and political reach into the surrounding region. Though for Dara Rasami this practice connoted regional pride as well as political import, it did not favorably impress many of her Siamese counterparts. Even after the king officially forbade other ladies from teasing her (as described in Chapter 3), Dara’s “Lao-ness” continued to be problematic throughout her career in the palace – and her dress was the first and most visible marker of her ethnic difference. In the ultra-status-conscious world of the Siamese Inner Palace, the households of the highest queens were all readily identifiable by their dress alone, and Dara’s house was no exception: [The] royal servants from [the household of] Somdet Tii Bon, or Somdet Phra Nang Chao Saowapha Phongsri, Phra Boromma Rachinin Naat, had the greatest pride. The dressed better than the royal servants of any other residence, very Page 166


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elegant and chic, and usually chose the best children of the elites. Their manners were very traditional. Their knowledge of ceremony was the best, because they believed that, if it was a place of study, it was a higher school than that of their friends… The servants of this palace were usually very arrogant and conceited. In other words, they thought their flesh and body to be higher than anyone else, which was accordingly true. Because the women from this palace left to start their own families, at least the size of this group did not increase. There were mostly of “Khun Ying” or “Than Phu Ying” [status]. It's said that powder, dressing, hairstyling, hom sabai chieng and wearing betel leaf behind the ear, all were beautiful and “gay.” Moving on to another residence, the palace of Somdet Phra Nang Jao Sawang Watthana, Phra Boromma Ratchathewi, the servants of this household were very serious. They dressed like mature women, not flashy at all, with very terse manners, steady and resolute; very intelligent in matters of ceremony. When they went out they looked like the servants of [Saowapha's house], but more sober. Most often they showed evidence of money used frugally, not frittered away. The group from the household of Phra Nang Jao Sukhumala Marasri, Phra Ratchathewi, were called the servants of “Phra Nang’s” household. These ladies were known as very “gay,” almost garishly flashy, but with “sense.” They spoke well, were bold and quick, always aware of their surroundings. When they left her household, it was usually as the wife of a military official. Moving on to the palace of Phra Akorn Chaiya, or the palace of “Than Ong Lek” [The little one], the ladies of this household were usually appointed as servants. They were good at cooking rice and snacks, managed a kitchen well, and were good with children. They had basic knowledge, but were not terribly brilliant. They dressed properly, were polite and modest, and were usually musically skilled. As for the household of Phra Rajajaya Jao Dara Rasami, this household was special because she was from the Northern royal family. Consequently, they were strange in that they put up their hair, and wore “phasin” rather than chongkrabaen or hom sabai like the other residences. No one from this palace showed off outside.49

Chunlada Phakdiphumin, Sri Mahawaan (Mom Luang). 2535. เลาะวัง [Around the Palace]. Bangkok: Chotchai Thewet, 318-320.

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nor that Dara herself keenly felt their disdain. several younger consorts were friendly with Dara and her entourage. nor with a number of other Siamese nobles and consorts. it did not dampen her relationship with King Chulalongkorn himself. ibid. 50 51 Page 168 . and the clear social differentiation expressed through dress and manners. 51 Though the cool treatment of the older queens-consort certainly affected Dara’s social currency within the palace. Though she was regarded as ‘phu yai. who served closely with Dara Rasami in the Inner Palace during the Fifth Reign. That Queen Saowapha and other high consorts expressed jealousy and other hard feelings towards Dara is mentioned in Nongyao’s biography of Dara Rasami.’ the high queens saw her as a young whippersnapper because they were older than she was by many years – they were only a year or so younger than the king himself. describes Dara’s treatment by the senior Siamese queens: Interviewer: “Was Phra Rajajaya intimidated by the older women at all?” Jong Jitra Thanom Ditsakun: “Yes. it comes as no surprise that neither Dara nor the women of her entourage “showed off” outside their household. Despite her difficulties with the other members of the “first generation” of royal consorts.” She was a little scared of them…. her personality was considered “charming” and “pleasant. there appears to be a sort of generational break between the highest queens and those consorts with whom Dara Rasami established friendships: Chao Chom Manda Mote. they would call her “Ai. Among other Siamese elites with whom Dara Rasami had regular contact.”50 Given the haughty attitude of Saowapha’s women.” Indeed. as well as several of the palace memoirs written by women like Phunphitsamai Ditsakun and her sister.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Prince Damrong’s daughter Mom Chao Jong Jitrathanom Ditsakun. and Chao Chom Erb Bunnag. Chao Chom Manda Hem. she was afraid to leave her house. Jongjitrathanom Ditsakun. and Sulak. however.

53 In this series. Anek Nawikkamun. 2005. smoking. Dara appears in her customary striped phasin and lace blouse before a staged toilette table and two strategically-placed mirrors. and gambling. a favorite consort of King Chulalongkorn’s.20 – 4. such images were circulated only among other Siamese royal and noble elites – the biggest audience at that time for such photographs. Chao Chom Manda Hem’s daughter. 48-49. Page 169 . before which she lets down her kneelength hair. (Illustrations 4. ibid. were not intended for publication.Woodhouse Chapter 4 sometimes appear to have treated her ethnic difference more with polite curiosity than contempt. recounts that her mother spent many evenings at Dara Rasami’s residence playing cards. Dara literally performs her ethnic difference for the camera.. 54 Anek.54 As with many of the amateur shots taken by Erb and other women and children of the Fai Nai. Dara’s friendships with Chao Chom Manda Hem and Chao Chom Mot were close enough that King Chulalongkorn requested that their Dusit residences be built next to each other. In addition to the many posed portraits and more casual shots taken of various figures around Suan Dusit. was also a skilled photographer. Ibid. like many Erb shot of scenes from within the palace.28) These photographs. Erb also featured Dara Rasami in a curious series of photographs taken sometime between 1902 and 1910.52 (As mentioned in the prior section. Bangkok: Sara Khadi Phap. Chao Chom Erb. Mom Chao Phunphit Amatyakun. ประวัติการถ่า ยรูป ยุคแรกของไทย [History of Early Photography in Thailand]. a member of the “Kok Oh” group of five sister-consorts from the Bunnag family. But for what purpose? Primarily for their novelty value: the novelty of Dara’s ethnic distinction in an otherwise ethnically homogenous (Siamese) 52 53 Phunphit.) One of Dara’s next-generation friends was Chao Chom Erb Bunnag.

Dara adopted the upper garments worn by her Siamese counterparts: the lacy Victorian blouse draped with silken sash and adorned with jewelry. However. 4. Dara’s difference was performed explicitly for consumption by other elites within the palace. In Erb’s photographs. the presence of the blouse – along with Dara’s jewels and official decorations – in her official portraits signals its role in representing “Lao-ness” in a particular way.29) The photographic evidence indicates that Dara probably did not utilize the lacy blouse in her informal everyday dress. Given the ultimate audience for these images. Dara’s status as an outsider who was at the same time an elite insider serves to complicate where “Lao” or Lan Na ethnic identity should fall in the Siamese hierarchy of siwilai. but rather to siwilai. As such. I suggest Dara’s hybrid of dress styles signified an effort to adapt her ethnic difference to the notions of siwilai then current among Siam’s elites. Subsequent photographs of Dara Rasami show her and her entourage wearing this ensemble. Dara Rasami and Making Lan Na Dress “Siwilai” Though Dara maintained the custom of wearing of phasin on the bottom.Woodhouse Chapter 4 environment. Next. Instead of the close-fitting jacket worn by her mother and aunt in Chiang Mai. Rather than merely marking an adaptation to Siamese style. Dara’s most prominent markers of ethnic difference – her phasin and long hair – are performed for the novelty of their difference. However. These photographic representations thus render Dara “knowable” to the Siamese elite as a cultural “Other within” Siam’s center. I will explore how specific elements of Dara’s dress represented her effort to adapt her Lan Na identity not to Siamese-ness. particularly in photos taken at her new residence at Suan Dusit. the garments she wore above differed from those worn by her Lan Na kinswomen.2d. (Illustration 4. I suggest that Page 170 .

Woodhouse Chapter 4 this adaptation assisted in shaping the Siamese perception of “Lao” or Lan Na identity within the new hierarchy implied by siwilai. 3. Dara’s representation of “civilized” other-ness through hybrid dress problematized the discourse of siwilai as it applied to Siam’s northern periphery. As Thongchai notes. Both chaopa and chaobannok were two categories of the Others of the more siwilai elite. I suggest that the Siamese confusion over these “two kinds of Others” has everything to do with Dara Rasami’s presence among the Siamese elite. to the description of chaopa (see Latthi thamniam tangtang. The difficulty of locating the Lao/Lan Na people among the categories of chaopa. chaobannok. parts 1 and 18). the chaobannok were the loyal. 55 Though (as mentioned at the opening of this chapter) palace women do not figure into Thongchai’s analysis of siwilai. backward subjects.” Journal of Asian Studies 59. observers rarely discuss its reception by other members of the 55 From Thongchai (2000): “The Quest for ‘Siwilai’: A Geographical Discourse of Civilizational Thinking in the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth-Century Siam. Page 171 . Lao people were also mentioned as chaopa and some accounts dissected Lao customs and described them topically similar. The prime example was the Lao (people and regions). The gazers were the educated elite in the city. … Writings about the Lao during the period we are discussing mostly described them in details like chaobannok. The chaopa were the uncivilizable. Yet. The Latthi Thamniam Tang Tang article from which the quote is taken was originally published in the Siamese journal Wacbirayanwiset in 1896. and siwilai related to the difficulty of reconciling Dara Rasami’s hybrid identity (that of a siwilai Lao) with the Siamese at the apex of the siwilai hierarchy. While many palace memoirs and other accounts mention the distinctiveness of Dara Rasami’s style of dress. At times they were mentioned as non-chaopa. No. 528-549. similar to Thais. the people and space of siwilai and charoen. the Lao were somewhere between the two kinds of Others. It should be noted that there were peoples who were described in one way or the other between the two categories. As a “Lao” woman within Siam’s most elite circle. For the Thai elite.

Dara’s native textile traditions invested the textiles and garment styles with particular meaning for Lan Na women. how might we understand the significance of Dara Rasami’s sartorial difference within the Siamese palace? In this context. Some types of Lan Na textiles also functioned as sumptuary items which were more easily produced or obtained by the elite class. Thus Dara’s use of Lan Na textiles and garment styles in the Bangkok palace might be read very straightforwardly as carrying on this tradition. And Dara’s obvious ethnic difference entailed difficult social consequences throughout her life in the palace. As such. Dara’s style of dress can be read as an indicator of both her life status and noble station. Thus. As political discourse. even to the extent of extending it into the Siamese palace. Earlier (and less politically important) Lan Na émigrés to the Bangkok palace had changed their dress and hairstyle to Siamese style. I suggest we consider dress as discourse. As I demonstrated early on in this section. But without the political sensitivity surrounding Lan Na’s relationship to Siam in the 1870s and ‘80s. It appears that the visual discourse of Dara’s dress could also be read by the Siamese elite to reinforce Page 172 . In order to emphasize the political reach of a Lan Na ruler via the strength and breadth of his political alliances.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Inner Palace. Dara’s dress signifies on two levels (which may well be too entangled to pull apart entirely): the personal and the political. as a personal discourse. without any problem. Without direct observations. such a point would have been moot. as an indication of a high level of weaving skill and readiness for marriage. Dara’s dress carries an additional – and potent – set of meanings. Lan Na’s political tradition entailed that elite women exchanged in marital alliances continue to practice their particular dress and textile traditions.

I will explore other performative modes that provide further evidence of the Siamese understanding of Dara Rasami’s hybrid identity within the discourse of siwilai: dramatic works and their performances. In the next section. While Thongchai has discussed the scientific modes by which Siamese elites delineated these differences. ibid. no matter how intimate their relationship with the King.56 here I will explore how ethnic differences were expressed through an entirely different mode of discourse: popular entertainment. Within this context. Siamese elites began to communicate discourses of ethnic difference to the broader populace through lakhon rong and lakhon dukdamban.Woodhouse Chapter 4 notions of its own cultural superiority and dominance over the “Others” at its peripheries. Page 173 . Dara’s dress functioned as a multivalent site. especially as it related to ethnic difference. which appears to have held very different meanings for its wearer and the Siamese consorts around her. 56 Thongchai (2000). Concurrently with their scientific construction of ethnic categories in the 1880s and ‘90s. in order to situate them as a more siwilai “Other within” Siam’s new hierarchy of civilizations.3 Drama and Performing Difference within Siamese Siwilai During the Fifth Reign the Siamese elites had become intensely concerned with siwilai. forms of Siamese dance-drama which became popular as mass entertainments in Bangkok in this era. I contend that Dara Rasami’s participation in a number of lakhon works played a major role in the Siamese categorization of the “Lao.” or Lan Na peoples of Dara’s homeland. 4.

or lakhon ram. had begun to undergo significant changes during the reign of King Mongkut (or Rama IV. in which Mongkut spelled out terms by which all types of performances would be taxed. The subsequent growth of commercial lakhon troupes led to another royal decree in 1861. 60 Damrong.]. 57 See the “ประกาศว่าดวยละครผู้หญิง [Royal decree on the subject of female dance-drama]” as quoted in Prince Damrong. Smith initiated the first publication of the Ramakien “in serial instalments and sold them at 25 satang per copy. 161-63.Woodhouse 4. the new taxes “did not much affect them at the beginning. ibid. and Theatre in Thailand. Japan: The Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies for Unesco: 83. 170-71. 1993. Drama. since they could add it on to the admission charge for any performance. Protestant missionary Dr. 1851-1868). Mongkut dropped the restrictions on all-female lakhon troupes. 105. Bangkok: [n. 175 & 177. Dance. Siamese Dance-Drama during the Fifth Reign (1878-1910) Chapter 4 Siam’s traditional art of dance-drama. which had been the exclusive province of the Palace up until that time. Bangkok: [n.. ประชุมประกาศราชการที่ ๔ [Collected Royal Pronouncements of the Fourth Reign]. These two moves sparked a resurgence in both the writing and performance of new lakhon works outside the palace. Mattani Rutnin.p. The Process of Development and Modernization. the king reserved a few classical dramatic texts for royal use.”61 making it the first play introduced to the Siamese reading public by mass production. In an 1855 decree.”59 The new taxes began to generate a steady new stream of revenue for the Siamese government. 57 At the same time. Tokyo. dramatic texts began to circulate outside the palace in another new way: via print. ตำนานประกาศเรื่องละครอีเหน้า [Story of the Lakhon Inao].60 In the 1870s.].400 baht per year during Mongkut’s reign.p. reaching as high as 4. 58 59 Page 174 .3a. 61 Mattani. According to Mattani.58 Since many of the commercial lakhon troupes had found a profitable niche providing entertainment to the patrons of gambling halls.

Page 175 . new modes of dance-drama evolved to appeal to a paying audience that drew upon both the elite and the populace. 199. The troupes that survived turned to the private patronage of noble houses. Smith published Inao in 1874 (also for the first time). formal lakhon training for the women of the Inner Palace ended. Chulalongkorn’s decrees ending slavery (1874) and gambling (1888) greatly impacted the popular performance of lakhon within gambling halls. Although at the price of twenty-five satang such publications were still well beyond the reach of the average citizen. Prince Narathip. they succeeded in making dramatic texts available to a wider reading audience than ever before possible. Dr.. Damrong. These nobles were largely responsible for creating and elaborating the two variants of lakhon that came to dominate the Bangkok theatre scene in the early twentieth century: lakhon dukdamban and lakhon phan thang (also known as lakhon rong). Under noble patronage. The viability of lakhon productions in the commercial environment of the 1890s depended largely upon the ingenuity of the new productions. Prince Naret 62 63 Mattani.62 Unlike his father Mongkut. and Chao Phraya Thewet.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Following the popularity and success of the Ramakien. driving many troupes out of business.63 Outside the palace. ibid. After training a select group of women to dance a special performance of “Inao” on the occasion of Bangkok’s centennial (Sompot Phra Nakhon) in 1882. Three nobles – two of whom were Chulalongkorn’s own half-brothers – became the most prominent dramatists of the era’s new forms: Prince Naret. many of whom subsequently opened theatres of their own. From then on other publishers followed suit. ibid. King Chulalongkorn was not as interested in promoting the lakhon within the court.

who were usually dressed in a modern style appropriate to the setting of the play. because it is a new thing. 64 Page 176 . and dialogue was spoken between songs sung by the characters. brother of the King of Prussia (December 27). lakhon rong. As Chulalongkorn himself remarked in a letter to Dara Rasami. while lakhon rong – with its focus on the play’s most emotional moments. the style practiced by Prince Narathip.65 Both forms were patronized by King Chualongkorn. which at first focused its subject matter on current events and domestic issues. 126-127. to The best English-language source on the history of Thai dance-drama is Mattani Rutnin’s 1993 Dance. sometimes verging on the melodramatic – became the vehicle for adapting exotic and foreign stories for the Siamese audience. Tokyo. took time to find its footing with Bangkok’s audiences. people who go to see a play like to sit and talk with each other. utilized a Western-style play structure. Only to see the dancers moving about here and there. wearing traditional Siamese costumes. Drama.Woodhouse Chapter 4 and Chao Phraya Thewet (the official Minister of Royal Performances) wrote dramas in the lakhon dukdamban (ancient-style) style. Here the author notes that in 1899 lakhon dukdamban performances were held to welcome Prince Phitsanulok home from a visit to Europe. They don’t understand it. 66 Mattani. The Process of Development and Modernization. and Theatre in Thailand. as they won’t be able to follow the story. Even so. 65 Mattani. Japan: The Centre for East Asian Cultural Studies for Unesco. lakhon dukdamban works consisted mainly of adaptations of classical dance-dramas. who brought various visiting foreign dignitaries to see performances. Usually. and in honor of the royal visit of Prince Henry.64 Accordingly. The ‘Lakhon Krom Nara’ seems to be gaining a little more success. 103. there are still such small audiences that the elite rarely see it. and cannot look the other way. They have to do a lot of listening and watching. in which dancers sang and danced their own parts in condensed scenes from classical dance-dramas against minimalist background scenery. and that the king ordered a lakhon rong performance for the visit of the Duke of Brunswick in late 1909 (146).66 Prince Narathip’s lakhon rong form. In contrast.

however. that’s why they don’t like it. that’s enough.3b. was sent to teach dance in the court of Chiang Mai’s Chao Intawarorot. They only want to talk. 24 April 1909. 306-07.68 Within the 67 สำเนาพระราชหัททเลขาระหวังพระบาดสมเด็ทพระจุละชมเกลาเจ้าอยู่หัว กับพระ ราชธานกรมนรัธิป พระพันภงศ์ [Samnao phra Ratchahattalekha…phra Ratchathan Krom Narathip Phraphanphong]. Phra Law. I will discuss Dara Rasami’s musical background and her relationship to Prince Narathip’s dramatic workshop. In the following segment. Mattani also notes that a senior dancer of Mongkut’s reign.Woodhouse hear a little singing and some sounds from the orchestra. It was through these works that notions of the northern “Other” were expressed and communicated not only among Bangkok’s elites. who provided consultation on both the texts and musical/dance elements of both Phra Law and Narathip’s later adaptation of Madame Butterfly. Lady Sa-ngiam. ibid. Madame Butterfly) with melodrama. Dara Rasami and her entourage were themselves practitioners of music and dance within Dara’s household.. who reigned from 1897-1910. particularly those of “northern” works: Dara Rasami. Dara Rasami’s Musical and Dramatic Interests As mentioned briefly in the last chapter. ibid.67 Chapter 4 With a little experimentation. entitled Sao Khrua Fa. Letter from King Chulalongkorn to Dara Rasami. Prince Narathip struck upon a winning formula: one which married exotic subject matter (such as The Arabian Nights. In creating and adapting works for lakhon rong form. Soon his plays began to attract the largest paying audiences Bangkok had ever seen. Narathip drew upon a special local resource to add authentic elements to its productions. It appears that Dara had undergone some training in the arts of music and dance during her childhood in Chiang Mai. 4. 68 Nongyao. but the record is unclear as to the nature or extent of the training. but also to the city’s theatre-going public. (Mattani. 102) Page 177 .

Woodhouse Chapter 4 Inner Palace. and music. [Dara Rasami] would sing central Thai songs and was not shy in her merriment while singing. mandolin. ibid. saw (a fiddle). exhibited so much talent that Dara sent her to take lessons from a European lady by the name of “Ma’am Bella” at her hotel in Bangkok. 48-49. 71 Phunphit. เอืงเงิน [Ueng Ngern.) 69 Page 178 .69 Playing some kind of musical instrument “at least a little” was apparently a requirement for kinswomen who wanted to become part of Dara’s entourage.70 Dara’s musical interests encompassed the musical traditions of Lan Na and Siam. dancing. dancing. Chao Bua Chum. glong (drum). was based on an old northern story. Dara and her ladies were well-known for their talents in singing. Prince Narathip’s wife and musical director. Mom Luang Tuan. 70 Prani. Thailand: Borisat Rak Silp. ibid. 67. sought out Dara Rasami as a musical resource. Dara incorporated several Western instruments – including the violin.71 Dara Rasami’s musical talents and interests reached well beyond the walls of the Inner Palace. They said that those who came to stay at her residence. shallow drum). ibid. ramanah (one-sided.. In addition to training an all-female orchestra in Siamese music. Phra Law. the governor and family practiced energetically. but they did not play the phipat (or Thai orchestral instruments). There was a stringed band and a mixed combo. 1987. 33.]. piano and pedal organ – into her ensemble’s repertoire.. including the jakay (a three-stringed musical instrument).. and playing various musical instruments: Upstairs. kluy (flute). however. One of Prince Narathip’s early dance-drama productions. learning Lan Na vocal styles and instruments from her to enhance the northern setting of Nai Phunphit Amatyakun. smaller tom-tom drum). a piano and a mandolin. because they were instruments for a man. A Volume in Honor of the Interment of the Remains of Chao Suntorn Na Chiang Mai. Bangkok. and embraced Western music as well. 55-56. the dramatic poem Lilit Phra Law. Dara’s niece. looked like they had nearly equal talents in singing. [Dara Rasami] had many musical instruments. tone (a shorter. (Prani. besides being beautiful and sweet-voiced already.

221-222. located in between Amphon Hall and Phanumat Hall. 92. 120. Dara Rasami’s friend Mom Luang Tuan.76 In addition to Narathip’s success with this production. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University.75 For this occasion. since part of the lakhon rong style was the incorporation of “foreign” elements to suit the story. 74 From King Chulalongkorn’s personal letter to Dara Rasami dated 2 July 1909. Page 179 . Dara Rasami was also involved in developing the texts of Narathip’s “northern” works. a theatre was built in farang (Western) style. complete with an authentic stage. arranged the songs. His wife. collected in Prayut Sittiphan. and orchestra. and speak with touches of Northern dialect. 75 Mattani. ed. Prince Narathip arranged for the middle section of his adaptation of Phra Law to be performed in this celebration. This resulted in the palace playing Lao songs more often. Romaniyachat.”72 In addition.74 Later that year.”73 Through their relationship with a Lan Na “Other” residing within the palace – Dara Rasami – authentic Lan Na cultural elements were utilized in creating exotic appeal to a popular audience outside the Inner Palace.. ดารารัศมี สายใยรักสองเผ่นดิน [Dara Rasami: Tie of Love between Two Kingdoms]. it was only appropriate that Phra Law’s dancers also “dress in Lao-Thai costumes. dance and sing to Lao-type musical tunes. music. “Chao Chom Manda Dara Rasami was pleased to have Mom Luang Tuan visit her often for instruction in Lao musical intonation.Woodhouse Chapter 4 the play. Chulalongkorn himself sent parts of Narathip’s script of Phra Law for her to review while visiting Chiang Mai in 1909. 302. 72 รักในราชสำนัก รัชกาลที่ ๕ [Love in the Royal Palace of the Fifth Reign]. 73 Mattani. 1999: 88. his expertise in creating audience-pleasing works based on exotic tales like Nithra Chakhrit (The Arabian Nights) and Gaewgiriya. King Chulalongkorn ordered a performance of Phra Law to celebrate the first fruit of Dusit’s recalcitrant lychee trees. ibid. 76 Samnao Phra Ratcha hatta lekha….

the roles of the American soldier and Japanese woman are transposed in a uniquely Siamese way: the American soldier becomes a Siamese man. But the most important reason is Ee Nang Phrom.78 This production.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Khon Ba (Jungle Man) resulted in Chulalongkorn’s favor of lakhon rong over lakhon dukdamban. which were collected and published in the volume หนังสือไกลบ้าน [Letters Far from Home]. 1997. as Chulalongkorn initiated the practice of going to see performances at private theatres outside the royal court. (141. 144. I am afraid that we shall have to repeat the plays because you have missed 77 King Chulalongkorn wrote about Madame Butterfly in his letters home from Europe in 1906-07. lace blouse on top. When she came in to perform at the Wang Tha Palace. while his Japanese lover becomes a maiden from – where else? – Chiang Mai.” which was the average length of most theatre showings.77 Chulalongkorn assigned Narathip to create a Siamese adaptation of the work.) Page 180 . In the Siamese version. became a huge hit: In observing the preference of the people in these later dates. 269. with the heroine dressed in the same style as Dara Rasami herself: hair in a bun. the cast were dressed in costumes appropriate to contemporary characters. worn with stockings and shoes. who plays the role of the heroine. True to the lakhon rong style. Another is because they think the king likes it since he mentioned it in the Nangsu Klai Baan [Letters Far from Home]. she was given as much as 100 baht at one time for cutting her throat [in the suicide scene]. phasin below. Some people suggested that there should be a lakhon sompot [dance-drama for a special royal celebration] for three days when you return [from Chiang Mai]. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University European Studies Programme. over time “wik” came to denote a show’s run.” This marked a new era in Siamese drama. 78 Mattani. In 1907 Chulalongkorn granted Narathip’s theatre the status of “royal company. Having been impressed by Puccini’s Madame Butterfly during his 1906 tour of Europe. they seem to like Sao Khrua Fa more than any other play. to the point that there have been letters by mail asking for repeat performances at a particular wik79 (theatre) because it is a lakhon farang story. 79 Mattani helpfully notes that the term “wik” comes from the English “week. first staged in the summer of 1908.

In the past. discourses of Dara’s ethnic difference carried political value to Chulalongkorn. Letter to Dara Rasami dated July 2. there are not enough seats. Ibid. Samnao Ratchahattalekha…. we can see that Sao Khrua Fa was hugely popular with Bangkok’s theatre-going populace.. 310-311.80 Chapter 4 Many of the new works developed by Prince Narathip and others were often first performed privately for the King and members of the Inner Palace. ibid. I went to [his] theatre. it would often sell out performances in the weeks following. In a subsequent letter to Dara Rasami. from the masters to the servants. Chulalongkorn describes the growing popularity of Sao Khrua Fa: Talking about ‘madness. the audience will be large. Letter to Dara Rasami from Chulalongkorn dated 29 June 1909. But since he has performed in the Royal Palace. If he does. 1909.000 baht. every name.’81 As the usual takings for a week-long performance run at a Bangkok theatre averaged around 1. Krom Nara exclaimed that it was due to ‘the glorious virtue of the king. 311.. It’s up to [Prince Narathip]. This happens only to the plays which have been performed in the palace and are later performed outside.000 baht at that time. 82 Mattani.’ the courtiers are now ‘mad’ about ‘Lakhon Krom Nara. As discussed in the prior section.82 We might see this performance of Lan Na “other-ness” through dance-drama as domesticating Lan Na identity for Siamese consumption. … the men who did not see it are very frustrated. Word that a particular lakhon had found favor with the king often resulted in huge interest among Bangkok’s theatre-going public.Woodhouse seeing many of them. and there were not more than 500 present. They are guessing that you will ask for a repeat performance of this Sao Khrua Fa. whether he will perform the play again after having performed it in the royal court at the Pridalai Theatre. 140. 80 81 Page 181 .’ every person. The money collected from outside performances is over 10. Since you left [for Chiang Mai]. if the king went to Narathip’s theatre to see a particular play.

Chulalongkorn mentions her request that men be banned from the audiences of the royal performances of Sao Khrua Fa. and Chulalongkorn does not mention it in his letters either. It appears that although Dara contributed elements of dress. Letters to Dara Rasami. 83 Samnao…. Indeed. her involvement with its writing was limited. Page 182 . Lan Na). In two of his letters to Dara in 1908. Lan Na retained the agency to “write back” against this Siamese discourse to some extent. or the written record lost. and wish to discourage Siamese men from imitating his behavior? Did she not want her friends among the Siamese male nobles to identify her with the tragic heroine? Did she wish to raise “Miss Butterfly” as a cautionary example to a women-only audience? Or did she wish to provide a viewing environment in which women might freely express their sympathy for the heroine? We cannot know. In any case... Lan Na itself.e. through Dara Rasami’s presence in Bangkok. Dara’s desire to restrict viewership of Sao Khrua Fa to only elite women applied only within the palace. her responses to it indicate that she may not have agreed entirely with the message it communicated about the strength and agency of Lan Na women – and perhaps by extension. 1909. Once its potential had been demonstrated in the popularity of its palace performances. Prince Narathip opened the public performances of Sao Khrua Fa to both men and women. At the same time. ibid. Did Dara object to the model of the Siamese soldier abandoning his Lan Na lover. her reasons remain unknown: Dara’s original request was either made orally. music and dance to Sao Khrua Fa.Woodhouse Chapter 4 demonstrating the political dominance of Siam’s center over its peripheries (i.83 Unfortunately. dated 17 March and July 2.

a Miss Waen Kaeo (Crystal Ring) and her lover. Though Dara wrote the original plot and characters herself.84 This (undated) work appears to have been written after Sao Khrua Fa. or Noi Chaiya. also in ขัตติยานีศรีล้า นนา [Pride of Lan Na Women]. 135-146. seizing control of her own destiny to remain with her chosen love.Woodhouse Chapter 4 To further illuminate this issue. Whereas in Sao Khrua Fa (as in Madame Butterfly) the heroine commits suicide on discovering her lover’s abandonment. The image of Sao Khrua Fa’s beautiful and tragic heroine became 84 85 Mattani. and it features a romantic heroine of a very different stripe. and stays true to her (penniless) lover. Chao Ubonwanna. she rejects him.86 Though this play was produced by Dara herself for performances within the palace. ibid. it never garnered the same attention as did Sao Khrua Fa. 268278.85 The elements of this story echo the experiences of Dara Rasami’s aunt. and consequently it was never performed in public. Noi Chaiya. The story line involves a pair of star-crossed young Lan Na lovers. See Ratana Pakdeekun’s essay. we might look to the play that Dara herself wrote. Waen Kaeo plays anything but a passive role in her love relationship. or Carl Bock’s reference to Ubonwanna’s many lovers in Temples and Elephants. entitled Phra Loh Waen Kaeo. “บทบาทของพระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศมี ในการสร้างภาพลักษณ์ “ผู้หญิงเหนือม” in ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lan Na Women]. Thus the discourse of Lan Na feminine agency and strength that Dara Rasami desired to communicate never traveled beyond the palace walls. whose famously complicated love life Dara witnessed first-hand during her childhood in Chiang Mai. See Volker Grabowsky’s (Thai-language) article. she commissioned Siamese noble Thao Suthon Photchanakit to compose the dialogue in verse. 364-65. Though Waen Kaeo’s parents arrange a match for her with an older and much wealthier man. The course of the love relationship here communicates a very different discourse regarding the emotional strength and loyalty of a Lan Na woman. 86 Page 183 .

26. … [and] dance movements accompanied by foreign orchestration” from Burmese. B. Chinese..E. Cambodian.88 However. they are emblematic of the new dramatic form. Indian. Malay. dance) drawn from Siam’s peripheries. costume.wikipedia. Domesticating Siam’s Peripheries through Lakhon Rong Sao Khrua Fa and Phra Law became the most popular of Narathip’s lakhon rong. As such. in order to try and see whether this training could make a [jungle person] progress into a [regular 87 And there it remains to this day. in terms of lakhon rong that demonstrate ethnic representation as discourse. Mattani describes lakhon rong utilized “costumes.3c.Woodhouse Chapter 4 dominant in the popular image of Lan Na women – and by extension. 2009. set designs. See the Thai Wikipedia entry for Sao Khrua Fa: http://th. thanks to repeated iterations of Sao Khrua Fa on film and television. music. written by Chulalongkorn himself in 1905. This child was adopted by Chulalongkorn during a state visit to Siam’s southern provinces in 1905 as his own personal experiment in civilizing a savage: “That year. Javanese and Western cultures. Siam’s domination of Lan Na itself – in the minds of Bangkok’s populace. 2429 [1906] King Chulalongkorn had the desire to raise the [tribal] child that had lived in the jungle. which utilized themes and elements adopted from “foreign” sources and incorporated elements (i. 118.e. This play is based on the presence at court of another Other from Siam’s periphery: Khanung. Mon. a boy from the Semang tribe of the Malay peninsula.) 88 Mattani.org/wiki/สาวเครือฟ้า (accessed Feb. the exotic work most comparable to those representing Lan Na is that of Ngo Ba (Wild Man). Page 184 . Lao.87 4. they were by no means the only works featuring exotic elements. While Lan Na was amply represented in the body of works by Phra Law and Sao Khrua Fa.

Woodhouse Chapter 4 person] or not. particularly if one looks again at the language the king used to describe and refer to the tribal people: instead of the customary third-person pronoun “khao. written by Chulalongkorn himself during an eight-day illness. and music were introduced in the history of the Thai lakhon ram. while mixing in facts in some parts to make it more interesting. unliked people. most of which had no stands or legs. I have discarded all the ‘high’ words and created a new story by my own imagination. 115 89 From Chulalongkorn’s introduction to บทละครเรื่อง เงาะป่า และประชุมโคลงสุภาษิต [The Play ‘Ngo Ba’. dressing.”89 Ngo Ba.” which translates to “it. religious beliefs.” One typically sees “mun” used to refer to human beings only to indicate that the speaker feels they are of low status. 1986. 1-2. it looked quite pretty. It was like setting a table with only coconut shells. because it is a story of the chao ba (jungle people). Mom Chao Phunphitsamai Ditsakun.”92 This seems very doubtful. According to Mattani. and I did not think it was going to be good. 90 Mattani. 132. Bangkok: Khurutsupha. But when it was finished. way of life. (Translation by Mattani Rutnin. and courting. more like blue. hunting.” the pronoun used for Khanung and his people is instead “mun. With Collected Verse Proverbs]. or that they are very bad. merry-making. eating habits. this was the first time that Semang tribal songs. This book was written without the intention of its being performed as lakhon.) 92 Mattani. dances. red.”90 As Chulalongkorn himself explained. 1968. who are extremely deprived. or purple colour chinaware. 91 Page 185 .” which translates to “he/she. ประชุม พระนิพนธ์ [Collected Writings]. Bangkok: Bamrung Banthit. .91 Mattani suggests that “King Chulalongkorn succeeded in elevating the status of these jungle people to a level equal that of royal princes and princesses and kings and queens in traditional lakhon nai and lakhon nok. describes the Semang’s physical appearance. It was therefore difficult to make it beautiful. 115. .

31) In Khanung’s case. whose ability to contest or augment the representation of his people was far more limited than that of Dara Rasami. the “Others within” Siam’s peripheries – northern and southern – were also being made familiar (known) and thus domesticated to the Siamese power center. this play can be seen as a means of “knowing” the tribal peoples upon whom it centers. As Ngo Ba demonstrates. 1885: 164-66. we can see that mere representation in palace drama did not guarantee that one’s ethnic category would be improved.30 and 4. Thus through the vehicles of these new dance-dramas. Published in Wachirayanwiset 1(9). The literal adoption of a tribal boy to be raised in the palace serves as the most powerful example of the shift in the centrality of physical 93 Khun Pracha Khadikit. (See Illustrations 4. the people and territory of the periphery could be aesthetically domesticated at the center. often dressed in elaborate costume – clearly reflect his place as a “chao ba” near the bottom of the siwilai hierarchy. Via this play. “Waduai praphet khonpa ru kha fainua” [On various jungle peoples or slaves in the north]. the palace informant on Semang culture was but a child. At the same time. dancing. the language utilized in the work indicates the author’s view of his subjects as somewhat less than human – solidly within the racial category of “chao ba” that Khadikit delineated in his description of the hierarchy of siwilai. like the use of northern elements in my earlier examples. The photographs of Khanung – smiling. (As cited in Thongchai 2000) Page 186 . through a lakhon’s demonstration of siwilai – or the lack thereof – the Siamese hierarchy of ethnic categories was only further reinforced. Khanung was enlisted to perform in the palace production of Ngo Ba. Here.93 In contrast to Dara Rasami’s part behind the scenes in the constructions of northern lakhon rong.Woodhouse Chapter 4 I would suggest that this play was not merely an exercise in Siamese exoticism and love of novelty. rather. Khanung.

4. and the major promotion of rank that she received afterwards. In this audience.4 Diplomatic Gestures: Deploying Dara Rasami’s Ethnic Difference In this section.Woodhouse Chapter 4 bodies (versus Thongchai’s geo-body) to the project of extending Siam’s reach into her peripheries. in the nominal interest of speaking for the Shan Page 187 . and a royal audience with King Chulalongkorn was arranged. we will see how Dara Rasami found ways of deploying her ethnic difference through gestures that positively affected her relationship with King Chulalongkorn. such performances of ethnic difference will be considered within the context of Siamese siwilai. These gestures –which depended upon her northernness – ultimately resulted in her advancement to high rank in the Siamese court. 4. Though these examples. Here. we will examine two episodes in particular: 1) Dara Rasami’s central role in the reception of a visiting Shan princess at the Siamese court in 1906. Dara Rasami as a Colonial Proxy: The 1906 Visit of a Shan Princess In November 1906.4. As in the previous section. a princess of the Shan States visited Bangkok.a. where she found a role as an exotic Other inside Siam’s most elite circle. Dara Rasami was deployed as a sort of cultural attaché. the category of diplomatic gesture is broadly defined to include official as well as less formal events where Dara Rasami’s public interaction with foreign or Siamese officials (including the King himself) played a central role. In this section. I will explore another mode in which Dara Rasami’s ethnic difference was performed within the Siamese court: that of diplomatic gesture. and 2) her farewell gesture to King Chulalongkorn as she departed for her first visit home to Chiang Mai in 1908.

her chair facing directly opposite that of the Shan princess. is her starring role: In the staging of the event. Dara Rasami was seated in the center of the room.32) In her status as a Lan Na princess and Siamese high consort. which had been the oldest and best-established muang in the Northern Constellation – a fact which would not have been lost on a Shan princess of that era. As the languages spoken by the two women were mutually intelligible. However. with an audience box of ten select royal women on each side of the room. which had long ties with Chiang Mai within the historical Northern Constellation of mandala states (as described in Chapter 2).94 The visiting princess hailed from Chiang Tung.95 In an important sense. Dara Rasami’s performance produced a critical moment of status differentiation. however. it seems appropriate that Dara Rasami participate in such an event. Dara Rasami and the Shan princess can be seen as each others’ “opposite numbers”: subjects of a foreign colonial power which has subsumed the customary sovereignty of their homeland. (See diagram of the seating arrangement in Illustration 4. face-to-face with a princess from a kingdom recently fallen under the protection of the British. Such a meeting demonstrated Chulalongkorn’s (and thus Siam’s) pre-eminence and sovereign power over Lan Na. there is no evidence that they sent any officers to accompany the Shan princess. This fact would not have been lost on the British.. One could read this diplomatic performance as Siam’s diplomatic discourse of parity with England as a colonial power: facing off two Sulak. What is most interesting about Dara’s participation. or that the British were in any way involved in this audience. 76. either. 94 95 Page 188 . ibid.Woodhouse Chapter 4 princess during the event. however. King Chulalongkorn himself was seated at the head of the room – thus making the face-to-face encounter between the two “foreign” women the focus of the event.

For this performance she was rewarded: later that day. 66-67. as Dara performs her own discourse(s) of northernness. ibid. “Receiving these visitors on this occasion would result in Chao Chom Manda Dara Rasami becoming more acknowledged and accepted. King Chulalongkorn presented her with the Siamese shoulder sash of nine gems. 96 97 Page 189 .. Mom Chao Jong Jitrathanom Ditskul.. and prettier also – she was not grander than [Dara]…96 As a compliant “foreign” subject of the Siamese king. Chunlada. Though she was much younger than [Dara Rasami] at the time. 151. King Chulalongkorn came out to sit on his chair very properly.97 The success of her diplomatic performance appears to have increased the value Dara Rasami’s political currency within the palace as well. and the royal women of the audience also presented her with gifts of luxury textiles. Thus the currency of Dara Rasami’s ethnic difference attained greater value during the last decade of Chulalongkorn’s reign. “their” princess undoubtedly won the encounter: Chao Dara Rasami sat with her chair directly facing [the Shan princess]. According to Phonsiri. 151.Woodhouse Chapter 4 “foreign” subjects against each other under the aegis of the opulent Siamese court. Dara Rasami performed a central role in this showcase of ethnic difference and colonial power. ibid. the diplomatic performance of her ethnicity signals an awareness among the Siamese elites that ethnic difference could be effectively deployed for political purposes as well. ibid. That this new currency ultimately benefited Dara Rasami personally brings us to the next episode in this section. 98 Phonsiri. In the Siamese reading. as quoted in Phonsiri.”98 At the same time as Dara’s ethnicity gained cultural currency through Prince Narathip’s incorporation of northern elements in his popular lakhons. The Shan princess walked in[to the room] then crawled over to sit paired up with [Dara Rasami].

Before the king and the assembled retinue. 1909.3. 73. preparations got underway to safely transport the princess from Bangkok to Chiang Mai. Since at that time the two cities were not yet connected by rail.99 This request granted. S. พระราชขิจะรายวัน [Royal Daily Journal]. the last part of the journey – from Phitsanulok to Chiang Mai – had to be made by riverboat.101 Returning to Amphorn Sathan hall at Suan Dusit. the governor of Chiang Mai.. much less with the hair on one’s head. 100 101 Page 190 . there were several celebratory events.Woodhouse Chapter 4 4. Accompanying Dara Rasami was a royal entourage that included doctors. whose story is still well-known in Chiang Mai today: the tragic love 99 Nongyao. 32. 102 Ibid. 6. including a lakhon performance at Prince Narathip’s Pridalai Theatre. Dara Rasami’s farewell references a particular northern episode that had occurred just a few years earlier (1903). numbering nearly thirty in all.. and attendants. Deploying Northernness: Dara Washes the King’s Feet with Her Hair During the annual visit of Dara’s half-brother. ibid.. Page 37.. and burst into tears. Saengdao. goes only part of the way towards explaining the significance of this gesture. she “let down her muan [bun] and ‘wiped’ the king’s feet [with her hair] in the northern custom. dated Feb. Dara requested permission to make her first-ever visit to her hometown. ibid.R. she said a formal farewell to King Chulalongkorn just before she went to board a northbound train at the Samsen railway station.L.102 At this moment.b.100 On the days leading up to Dara Rasami’s departure. 88-92. to Bangkok in January of 1908.”103 The Siamese cultural proscription against touching the feet. guards. 103 See Sulak. ibid. she deployed a gesture which quickly became well-known around Bangkok.

Though Siam had been gradually increasing its administrative control over Lan Na’s territories over the two prior decades. This story provides the additional context necessary for reading Dara Rasami’s performance of this “foot-washing” gesture.๑๕๔๖ [Ma Mia. since King Chulalongkorn was visiting Europe when Inthawichyanon died.] Chiang Mai. named Chao Noi Sukkasem. What followed has become the stuff of local legend. The story of Ma Mia concerns Dara Rasami’s nephew. 2004. rather than arouse Siamese suspicions any further. who worked in the local marketplace. 94. bandits and rebellions had continued to unsettle Siamese control. 100 Years. without official approval from Siam.104 Their troubles began when Chao Noi Sukkasem brought home his new bride to Chiang Mai in late 1902. 104 Page 191 . a large caravan consisting of “three strings of elephants and twenty porters” was loaded up to Prathipsen.2546. and he twenty years old. Chao Noi Sukkasem was sent to study in Moulmein.Woodhouse Chapter 4 affair between a Chiang Mai prince and a Burmese woman named Ma Mia. 105 Ibid. Finally. หมะเมียะ จากวันนั้นถึงวันนี้ ๑๐๐ ปี ๒๔๔๖ .105 As a marital alliance between a Chiang Mai prince and a Burmese woman still bore the mark of disloyalty. In April of 1903. Jirijun.. They were young lovers: she was but sixteen. Dara Rasami’s request to return to Chiang Mai for her father’s funeral had been refused. Chao Noi’s father insisted that the couple split up. There he met a beautiful young Burmese girl with whom he fell in love: Ma Mia. As recently as 1897. and Ma Mia be sent back to Burma. From That Day to This. In 1899. Chao Noi Sukkasem’s family objected to the match. Archival documents also suggest that timing was at least part of the issue here. Burma. Thailand: Thonaban. 2446 . the son of her half-brother Chao Gaew Nowarat. and the old question of Lan Na’s loyalties had still not been settled.

until old people continued to tell the story into the next generation (era).Woodhouse Chapter 4 carry Ma Mia and all her belongings back to Moulmein. 2000. the Burmese who had won the heart of the young prince of Chiang Mai. and the situation hurt the hearts of the people of Chiang Mai too much.106 Following Ma Mia’s departure. Culmination of the Northern Rulers. Many people wanted to see Ma Mia’s beautiful. and would have been known in Bangkok as well – not least by Dara Rasami herself. (Italics mine. Miss Ma Mia climbed up to sit behind an elephant howdah. Finally. As such. the lovers were forced to say their final goodbyes at the city’s western gate. 85. as both a northern gesture and one of romantic love and loyalty. as it concerned her own nephew. from which it was said he never recovered. her deployment of this grand gesture on departing Bangkok for Chiang Mai can be read as both personal and political discourse: it indicates Arun Wetsuwaan. See Jirijun. This event lived in the memory of the people of Chiang Mai for a very long time. They talked interminably and indiscriminately about [her] complexion and threw themselves…into it. and cried almost as if her tears were blood. As the local version colorfully explains: … the populace of Chiang Mai assembled at the gate to watch the separation of the pair of lovers. Bua Chum. She had to come down. the governor of amphur Sankhampheng. she was remarried to Chao Chai Worachat na Chiang Mai. When Ma Mia fell down at the feet of Jao Noi Sukkasem and used her tangled hair to wipe his feet. and spread rumors about throughout the land.107 This episode became quite famous at the time. Chao Noi Sukkasem suffered terrible heartbreak.] Bangkok: Arun Witthaya. ibid. After Chao Noi’s death seven years later (1910). young face.) 107 His wife was one of Dara Rasami’s own kinswomen and ladies-in-waiting. 114-15. even when everyone complained that it was too long ago. but it sapped all her energy. passed judgment upon. but could not keep it. พระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี กับ การรวมหัวเมืองภาคเหนือ [Princess Dara Rasami.. 106 Page 192 . Ma Mia’s “foot-washing” farewell gesture was therefore known to Dara as well. who Chiang Mai people were interested in. though he married again. The procession of Ma Mia leaving from the Outer Gate created great suffering for Chao Noi Sukkasem. it was an ancient expression of a young Burmese woman from the old days showing the highest loyalty.

consisted only of his four halfsister queens. Although the other queens did not have to “krab” [prostrate themselves] before Dara before her 1908 journey. Not long after her departure for Chiang Mai. 1908. this photo was taken by Luang Anusarn Sunthon. in which the new betel box – a marker of her royal favor – sits prominently on the table next to her. 178. making her “Phra Raja Jaya” on April 8. the betel-box was a fashionable accessory for high-status consorts in the palace in that era. it nonetheless proved very effective in doing so. In honor of her third-cycle (36th) birthday (August 20). he had a fancy gold betel-box made for her and specially inscribed with a personal message. The title of “Phra Raja Jaya” elevated Dara Rasami to the status of high queen. Whether in transit (the outgoing journey to Chiang Mai took nearly two months) or during her visit to Chiang Mai. As Phonsiri discusses. Sulak.111 Chulalongkorn’s genuine affection and regard for Dara were amply demonstrated during the eight months she was away from Bangkok. 111 According to Saengdao. ibid. and serves as a reminder of the Ma Mia incident to point up her long-standing political loyalty as his consort. they (and all other palace folk) had to do so upon her return. an elite group which. 76. 33 and 4.34 show Dara in formal portraits taken during her stay in Chiang Mai.Woodhouse Chapter 4 both her personal attachment to King Chulalongkorn. and has not been used again since Chulalongkorn’s reign. Whether or not Dara’s gesture was intended to improve her status in the palace. a Siamese noble sent up along with Dara’s entourage for the journey. King Chulalongkorn created a new title for Dara Rasami. 108 109 Page 193 .108 This unique title had never been used before. until that time. 110 Phonsiri. Chulalongkorn sent a number of gifts to her in Chiang Mai.109 During Dara’s long absence from Bangkok. 59. Saengdao. Dara and King Chulalongkorn kept up a regular correspondence that included seventeen letters See Finestone (1989). 66..110 Illustrations 4.

as well as Prayut (2000). and ran until the 30th of B. 2452 [C. on the city’s western outskirts: A large celebration of honor and joyous entertainment…began the 15th of October.113 The relationship of Dara Rasami’s promotion to the timing of her visit to Chiang Mai is suggestive.112 In these communications.000 baht. These letters and telegrams are collected and reprinted in full in Nongyao’s biography of Dara Rasami. groups of guards. and police guarded over all. 112 Page 194 . the cost was 100.E. In support of the first.E. 113 Prani. Chulalongkorn ordered the creation of metal plaques inscribed with the names of Dara’s father and mother for her to install at Doi Suthep (Chiang Mai’s mountain-top temple). and building a cemetery for her ancestors. and moved all the fresh markets of the city. In addition to these personal expressions. Perhaps Chulalongkorn recognized the role that Dara had performed within the Nongyao. troops. altogether 15 days and 5 nights. In these activities. Altogether. [She] built pavilions for Officers [chao nai] and government officials to stay in. Chulalongkorn also made gestures that supported Dara’s activities in Chiang Mai. 1908]. and often expresses his “khwam kit-tung” (yearning. orphanage. In support of the second. a ceremonial hall. boxing field.Woodhouse Chapter 4 and thirty-four telegrams. Chulalongkorn takes a warm tone in catching Dara up to the local goings-on in the palace as well as Bangkok’s theatre world. …[A]ll the [Lan Na nobles] came to assist with the celebrations. Dara Rasami focused her efforts mainly upon restoring local Buddhist monuments and temples. 67. and a hospital. Chulalongkorn sent funds to support the week-long celebration that attended the dedication of the new royal cemetery Dara built next to Wat Suan Dok. Dara’s parting gesture – washing the king’s feet with her hair – may well have played an emotional part in Chulalongkorn’s subsequent decision to give her a high promotion. 4-5. movie hall. missing someone) in opening or closing a letter.

As a royal daughter of Lan Na.115 In many ways. No. รายงานกระทรวงมหาดไทยเรือง เจ้าดารารัศมีขึ้นไปเชียงไหม่. Page 195 . who became king after the death of Thipkraisorn’s father. in addition to building new public amenities Wijeyewardene. dated Oct. chose her husband.114 Dara’s own mother. his promotion of Dara Rasami to the status of high queen was a brilliant move with regards to Siam’s public relations with Lan Na. one Siamese administrator wrote: The best thing is that we [Siamese administrators] are greeted with sweet ‘wai’s when we come to work… It’s given rise to a sense of purpose in almost everyone. Inthawichyanon. “Northern Thai Succession and the Search for Matriliny. 22. who flocked to the events. which had been feeling Siamese administrative encroachment ever more keenly in the prior decade. 285 . In this pattern. or the personal difficulty and pain it had brought her to be separated from her family and homeland for twenty years. Thipkraisorn.R. Dara’s husband would have been entitled to become the next king of the realm. 1909. Lan Na’s crown fell to the man who married the current king’s daughter. I suggest another discourse within which Dara’s promotion makes sense: Lan Na’s own custom of “son-in-law” succession. In effect. said that they had never seen anything as large as this. The local people. 1984. By promoting her to the status of a high queen upon the occasion of her return to Chiang Mai.L.292. 114 115 See S. During the two-weeklong celebrations held at the end of Dara’s visit. 14. working to restore local wats and create a royal cemetery. Dara functioned as a “modernizer” during her visit.Woodhouse Chapter 4 palace. Chulalongkorn essentially asserted Siamese sovereignty over Lan Na through his marital alliance with Dara Rasami. King Kawilorot. This is the first time I can say that I’ve seen such nam jai dii (kindheartedness) by the people.” Mankind Vol. รหัสเอกสาร ร.๖ กล่อง ๕ แฟ้ม๗ [Report of the Mahat Thai re: Jao Dara Rasami’s Visit to Chiang Mai]. Letter from Surasri to Bangkok.๕ ก. several thousand people with abundant pride. 4. Gehan.

To some. “July 29: [Dara] moved bones from Ping River down Thapae Road and through city.117 This text demonstrates that at least some of Dara Rasami’s activities were perceived by some as threatening to local culture. Though there were no local newspapers in Chiang Mai at that time. out the Western Gate. did Dara Rasami embrace the construct of her ethnic difference as “less than” that of the Siamese. these activities were less welcome. curator of the Huen Derm [Original House] manuscript library at Chiang Mai University. 1909 – two months after her return to Bangkok – the monk comments that this misfortune is a direct result of Dara’s actions – especially her removal of Wat Chieng Mun’s Buddha image to take back to Bangkok with her.5 Dara Rasami: “Self-Orientalizing” or Strategically Essentializing? Did Dara Rasami’s role in twentieth-century palace arts and diplomacy represent a “self-orientalization”? That is. however. and are located on the last pages of the 48-page manuscript.116 Though most of these notes list only the activity and date. 1909. 1908 – January 5. internalizing the lower niche allotted to Lan Na’s people in the siwilai hierarchy? Or might we see more agency and nuance in her This manuscript is in the personal collection of Ajaarn Kreuk Akornchinaret.The notes in question date from between July 29. this suspicion resulted in making her an outsider in her own homeland. this is a very bad thing. appearing more like Siamization than modernization. died on January 5. 4. a local monk noted his remarks on some of Dara’s activities in the back matter of a temple calendar of auspicious and inauspicious dates. It comes from Wat Phra Phaeng (formerly Wat Chieng Mun). a temple in the Thammayut Nikai (Thervada Buddhist) tradition. then-governor Chao Inthawarorot. schools and movie theatres. 116 Page 196 . the author expresses dismay and upset in several entries (e. when Dara Rasami returned to live in Chiang Mai permanently fifteen years later.”)When Dara’s halfbrother.Woodhouse Chapter 4 like hospitals.g.. 47. 117 Ibid. As we will see in the following chapter.

Page 197 . Through deployments of dress. earning higher status for her homeland in the hierarchical construct of Siamese siwilai than that of “Others within” like Khanung. By complicating Siamese understandings of “Lao” or Lan Na identity. in what Gayatri Spivak might describe as the use of strategic essentialism? Through her dress. it is clear that Dara Rasami played a central role in making Lan Na difference knowable to the innermost circle of Siamese elites.Woodhouse Chapter 4 expressions of ethnic difference. the Semang tribal boy adopted by King Chulalongkorn who was also featured in royal lakhon performance and photographs. and diplomatic gesture I suggest Dara Rasami acted to write back in various ways against the scientific discourses being adopted by Siamese elites of her era. We might interpret her performance of northernness at other moments – such as the “washing the feet of the King” with her hair – as conscious deployments of her ethnic difference. and participation in both the writing and performance of lakhon. able to marshal and deploy novel and exotic elements of her ethnicity in ways that worked against Siamese cultural hegemony. I posit that Dara Rasami’s “education” in Siamese notions of siwilai ultimately allowed her to act as the agent of her own destiny.” As an ethnic “Other within” palace culture. At several key moments – Sao Khrua Fa and the audience with the Shan princess in particular – Dara Rasami was deployed as a “not-quite Siamese” against which the Siamese position at the top of the siwilai hierarchy was reified. Through her presence in the royal court. Dara earned a place closer to the siwilai end of Siam’s civilizational spectrum for the people of her home region. drama. Dara’s performances – particularly those between 1905 and 1910 – can be read as successful examples of “strategic essentialism. Within culturally hegemonic environment of the palace. speech. Dara Rasami also impacted Siamese notions of “Lao” or Lan Na ethnicity.

as well as their local reception. As I conclude the dissertation in the next chapter. however.Woodhouse Chapter 4 It is important to remember. Page 198 . To my mind. attempting to bring her homeland “up-to-date” in a way that was entirely consistent with her upbringing and culture. one might wonder whether her appearance in Chiang Mai in 1908 was anything more than good public relations to mask ongoing Siamese domination. that this discourse did not alter the course of Siam’s plans to bring Lan Na under its administrative control. between 1915 and 1933. however. and explore how Dara Rasami was received in her homeland in the last phase of her life. Dara’s activities represent a different discourse: that of a very siwilai Lan Na woman. through the technologies available to her at the time. Although Dara’s efforts appear to have assisted in promoting Chiang Mai as Siam’s northern capital. I will relate a few of these activities.

Thailand: Asia Books. Michael.1 ~ Map of Suan Dusit Chapter 4 Source: Naengnoi Saksi and Freeman. Page 199 . Bangkok.Woodhouse Illustration 4. 1996. Palaces of Bangkok: Royal Residences of the Chakri Dynasty.

Woodhouse Illustration 4. 1996. Michael. Thailand: Asia Books. Page 200 . Palaces of Bangkok: Royal Residences of the Chakri Dynasty.2 ~ Map of Suan Dusit Grounds Chapter 4 Source: Naengnoi Saksi and Freeman. Bangkok.

3 ~ Map of Suan Sunanta Chapter 4 Source: Naengnoi Saksi and Freeman. Bangkok. Thailand: Asia Books. Palaces of Bangkok: Royal Residences of the Chakri Dynasty. Michael. Page 201 . 1996.Woodhouse Illustration 4.

63. she notes that Dara “is the only one wearing a phasin. Ltd. In Nongyao’s caption for this photo.” ca. Source: Nongyao Kanchanachari.” though it is difficult to tell here. p. second from the right. [Phra Rajajaya Dara Rasami: A Royal Biography of Jao Dara Rasami. 1893 Chapter 4 Note: Dara Rasami is seated in the back row. 1990. Bangkok: Tridi Publishing. Page 202 . With remarks by Somdet Prachao Phi Nang Ter (Royal Sister) Chaofa Kalyani Watthana].4 ~ Chula Chom Klao Consorts of the “First Generation.Woodhouse Illustration 4.

Thailand: Silkworm Books.Woodhouse Illustration 4. ผ้าและสิ่งถักทอไทย [Thai Fabric and Weaving].5 ~ Parts of the Lan Na Phasin Chapter 4 = “Head” or waistband segment = “Body” segment (typically utilizes horizontally striped fabric) = “Foot” or hem segment (note teen jok border) Source: Withi Panichaphun. Chiang Mai. 2000. Page 203 .

6 ~ Luntaya and Teen Jok Border Detail Chapter 4 Detail of luntaya pattern Detail of teen jok pattern Source: Susan Conway. Page 204 .Woodhouse Illustration 4. Lacquer Thrones. 2002. Silken Threads. Bangkok: River Books.

Thailand.7 ~ Lan Na Garments in Mural Painting Chapter 4 Detail of mural at Wat Phra Singh. Chiang Mai. January 14. Source: Photo taken by Leslie Woodhouse. 2008.Woodhouse Illustration 4. Page 205 .

Woodhouse Illustration 4. Chiang Mai. Thailand.8 ~ Lan Na Women’s Use of Upper Garments Chapter 4 Source: Archival collection of Payap University. Page 206 .

2004: ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lanna Women].9 ~ Queen Thipkraisorn of Chiang Mai.Woodhouse Illustration 4. Wearing pha sabai chieng Chapter 4 Source: Wongsak na Chiang Mai. ed. Chiang Mai. Thailand: Within Design. Page 207 .

U.10 ~ Dress of Chao Ubonwanna.Woodhouse Illustration 4. Oxford.K. Dara Rasami’s Aunt Chapter 4 Source: Archival collection of Pitt-Rivers Museum. Page 208 .

ผ้าและสิ่งถักทอไทย [Thai Fabric and Weaving]. Thailand: Silkworm Books. Source: Withi Panichaphun. Chiang Mai. Bangkok. 2000.Woodhouse Illustration 4. Bangkok Detail of pha laiyang print from collection of National Museum of Thailand.11 ~ Examples of Pha Laiyang Chapter 4 Pha laiyang on mannequin at National Museum of Thailand. Page 209 .

s Page 210 . The Children and Grandchildren of King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam.12 ~ Mongkut’s Consorts Wearing “Kilts” Chapter 4 Source: Finestone. A Royal Album. 2000.Woodhouse Illustration 4.

Page 211 .Woodhouse Illustration 4. U.K. Oxford.13 ~ Use of Upper Garments among Siamese Women Chapter 4 Source: Archival Collection of Pitt Rivers Museum.

2000: A Royal Album. The Children and Grandchildren of King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam. Page 212 .Woodhouse Illustration 4.14 ~ Portrait of King Mongkut and Queen Thepsirin Chapter 4 Source: Finestone.

copyright 2009.15 ~ Mid-nineteenth Century Siamese and Lan Na Womens’ Dress Source: Drawing by Leslie A. Woodhouse.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Illustration 4. Page 213 .

Woodhouse Illustration 4.16 ~ Portrait of Queen Saowapha Phongsri Chapter 4 Source: Finestone. The Children and Grandchildren of King Mongkut (Rama IV) of Siam. Page 214 . 2000: A Royal Album.

17 4. ca.Woodhouse Chapter 4 Illustration 4.18 ~ Earliest Portraits of Dara Rasami and Daughter. and 4. 1891 4.17 & 4. Page 215 .18 from a private collection. Reprinted in Nongyao 1990.17 comes from the collection of Chao Noi Kaew na Chiang Mai.18 Sources: 4.

Bangkok. Thailand. rather than the lace blouse.Woodhouse Illustration 4.19 ~ Dress Style of Dara Rasami’s Entourage Chapter 4 Note the use of the Lan Na-style jacket here. Page 216 . Source: Archival collection of National Archives of Thailand.

Thailand. Page 217 .Woodhouse Illustration 4. Bangkok. Negative series 61393-1880.20 ~ #1 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Source: National Archives of Thailand.

Woodhouse Illustration 4.21 ~ #2 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 218 .

Woodhouse Illustration 4.22 ~ #3 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 219 .

23 ~ #4 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 220 .Woodhouse Illustration 4.

24 ~ #5 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 221 .Woodhouse Illustration 4.

25 ~ #6 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 222 .Woodhouse Illustration 4.

Woodhouse Illustration 4.26 ~ #7 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 223 .

Woodhouse Illustration 4.27 ~ #8 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Page 224 .

Dara Rasami enters from the right. Thailand.Woodhouse Illustration 4. Bangkok. at left. Negative 43143-1340. Page 225 . Source: National Archives of Thailand. Vimanmek Mansion is visible in the background. is Chao Chom Erb.28 ~ #9 in Series of Photographs Featuring Dara Rasami Chapter 4 Note: Photographer.

Page 226 . Bangkok.Woodhouse Illustration 4. Thailand.29 ~ Dara Rasami and Entourage at Dusit Residence Chapter 4 Source: National Archives of Thailand.

30 & 4.31 ~ Khanung as Ngo Ba Source: Boonserm Rythaphirom. นายคนัง เงาะเซมังภาคใต้ [Nai Khanung: A Semung from the Southern Region]. Bangkok: Bannakit Publishing.30 ~ Khanung 4.31 ~ Photographs of Khanung. 1991.Woodhouse Illustrations 4. Page 227 . Semang Tribal Child Chapter 4 4.

#8) 6) Chao Chom Liem (Bunnag) 7) Chao Chom Somboon (Munprasert) 8) Chao Chom Chuea (no surname) 9) Chao Chom Mom Ratchawong Ruay (Pramote) 10) Chao Chom Mom Ratchawong Sadup (Ladawan) 11) (no information) 12) Chao Chom Manda Jiu (Kapitta) 13) Chao Chom Aab (Bunnag) 14) Chao Chom Thanom (no surname) 15) Chao Chom Thanom (“Lady Mae Kok”) 16) Chao Chom Tuptim (“Lady Phiphat”) 17) Khun Thanom (Charoen) 18) Mom Ratchawong Thip (Sunitawong) 19) Khun Sri (princess from Nan) 20) Chao Chom Prayong (no surname) A through E = “Tao Wang.” Female Officials of the Inner Palace Adapted from diagram in Kaewgiriya. ดารารัศมี สายใยรักสองเผ่นดิน [Dara Rasami: Tie of Love Between Two Kingdoms].32 ~ Diagram of Audience with Shan Princess Chapter 4 Legend: 1) Chao Chom Manda Wong (no surname) 2) Chao Chom Erb (Bunnag) 3) Chao Chom Nom (Chotisathien) 4) Chao Chom Uen (Bunnag) 5) Chao Chom Cheng (sister of Chuea. Page 228 . 91.Woodhouse Illustration 4.

Woodhouse Illustration 4.33 ~ Portrait #1 of Dara Rasami in Chiang Mai. Thailand. Page 229 . Bangkok. after Promotion Chapter 4 Source: National Archives of Thailand.

34 ~ Portrait #2 of Dara Rasami in Chiang Mai after Promotion Chapter 4 Source: National Archives of Thailand. Thailand. Page 230 .Woodhouse Illustration 4. Bangkok.

Woodhouse Chapter 5. Siam’s political relations with Lan Na were completely re-formulated under the thetsaphiban monthon system. etc.2 As Siam replaced provincial rulers with resident Siamese governors. I leave out these administrative reforms as they have been so well covered elsewhere. In Chapter Four. During this period. Tej Bunnag (1977). by the end of which her role – and that of most other royal consorts – was obsolete. and the political marital alliances which had traditionally bound Siam’s center and its peripheries rendered unnecessary. and how Dara deployed “Lao-ness” in particular moments for her own ends. Dara Rasami had played a role that could be described as that of Siam’s last political Princess. See David Wyatt (1968). King Sulak. And “the Queen of Chiang Mai” was what they called [Dara Rasami]. 1 2 Page 231 . I have outlined the cultural and historical contexts from which the figure of Dara Rasami emerges. as Dara Rasami’s career in the palace progressed. Thus Dara Rasami’s career as a royal consort over nearly thirty years spanned a unique period in Siam’s history. I discussed the ways in which Dara Rasami’s performance of ethnic difference in the palace impacted the perception of Lan Na culture. ibid. They told me that the ‘stupid’ rulers of Chiang Mai were really very smart. and the new contexts in which her presence became significant. In the prior three chapters. Lan Na’s sovereignty was gradually completely subverted. Dara Rasami Returns to Chiang Mai: An Outsider at Home Chapter 5 “I once asked some Westerners in the timber trade who had come from living in the north about how the northern rulers really were.” ~ Mom Chao Jong Jitra Thanom Ditsakun1 Between 1883 and 1910.

Dara Rasami was feted in high royal style. how the subsequent end of royal polygamy in Siam spelled the end of womens’ prominence in Siam’s political world. drawing on interviews with local historians as well as popular representations of Dara Rasami. her presence (and absence) in contemporary popular memory in both Bangkok and Chiang Mai. and local perceptions of her activities where possible. who were of Chakri blood. In closing. In the second section.to twentieth-century Siam. In the first section. her retirement to Chiang Mai in 1914 and the activities of her final years. and lastly. 5. I will describe Dara’s last royal residence at Suan Dusit. I will conclude by touching on Dara’s last years in residence at the palace in Bangkok. and its implications for Thai political life. her many cultural activities in Chiang Mai in the ensuing years. Upon her return from Chiang Mai. Dara Rasami was to receive the same treatment as Chulalngkorn’s four other high queens. I will discuss the decline and fall of palace women as a class in Siamese/Thai society in the twentieth century. I will make a few concluding points about Dara Rasami’s significance as a historical figure in nineteenth.1 Dara Rasami’s Last Years at Suan Dusit and Her Return to Chiang Mai Upon returning from her first visit to her hometown of Chiang Mai in November 1908. and a reification of Siam’s domination of Lan Na via local succession customs. King Chualongkorn and his advisors Page 232 . I will discuss Dara Rasami’s memory in contemporary Chiang Mai and its problematic nature.Woodhouse Chapter 5 Chulalongkorn’s subsequent promotion of Dara Rasami to the rank of queen (Phra Raja Jaya) in 1908 contained a dual meaning: both as a recognition of Dara’s long service and loyalty to the Siamese king. Thirdly. where she lived until her retirement to Chiang Mai in 1914. I will discuss further opportunities suggested by this study. In this chapter. Before concluding my paper.

ร. with the King personally escorting her back to Bangkok alone on his boat.6 Though the new structure was built with airy hallways and many windows that could be opened to keep air circulating inside the building. King Vajiravudh – and his entourage. King Chulalongkorn passed away on October 23.4 A musical concert was held at the new residence in her honor. 1910 at the age of 57. ibid. วันที่ ๙ พ. 5 Sulak.2) The pleasant days Dara Rasami spent at Dusit as one of Chulalongkorn’s favorite queens were short-lived. ibid. had been completed on a lot next to Vimanmek Mansion – a spatial reflection of Dara’s new status as a high queen.5 In her absence.ย.. พระราชหัตถเลขาสมเด็จพระราชทานเจ็าพระยาวรพงศ์พิพัฒน์. as well. Letter from King Chulalongkorn to Chao Phraya Woraphong Phiphat. 2450809.A. Chulalongkorn had had her belongings moved from her old residence to the new building.. This building still stands today.T. the king’s wives and consorts cleared out of Vimanmek Mansion to make way for the new king – Rama VI. รหัสเอกสาร ๒๔๕๐๘๐๙. similar masonry buildings tend to heat up like ovens in Bangkok’s climate. and today contains exhibits of royal objects and regalia.1 and 5. Page 233 . 3 4 6 N. and commissioned new portraits of her mother and father to be hung in the new house. As in past reigns. While Saowapha moved to the nearby Phyathai Palace. named Suan Farang Kangsai (after a popular chinaware pattern). 73. 1909]. and is publicly accessible as part of the Vimanmek Mansion park. After a brief illness.Woodhouse Chapter 5 sailed upriver to Ayutthaya to meet her. many of the other royal consorts either moved into the households of their princely sons or returned to residences Sulak. (See Illustrations 5.ว . Two casual photographs taken of Dara Rasami and a few of her ladies spending time outside in the building’s shade indicate that this might have been the case with Dara’s new residence. รัตนโกสินรศก ๑๒๘ [document no. The house was abandoned after 1932. 72. 9 November.3 Her new residence.

Consulate in Chiang Mai. a small town a few miles north of Chiang Mai.7 According to local sources. but the compound still stands. she was allowed to stay on at Suan Farang Kangsai. which she opted to do until late 1914. 7 Page 234 . single-bedroom house is built raised up off the ground by a dozen feet. 106. Today. Dara Rasami’s household was a fortunate exception to this exodus. and features wooden paneling and cut-out woodwork throughout. 1885-1935. Vic.3) This modest. and is home to the U. The northern rail line finally reached Chiang Mai in 1921.usconsulate. Siam’s railway didn’t yet run all the way to Chiang Mai. Melbourne.gov/history. so Dara Rasami had to finish her journey by boat once again. her half-brother moved into the residence. At that time. the original teak house is gone. One charming element incorporated specifically to honor Phra Raja Jaya can be seen in the ventilation panels As in 1909.S. Japan: Kyoto University Press.8 Not long after her return. she began construction of a new residence in Mae Rim. In a gesture reminiscent of Chulalongkorn’s farewell to Dara Rasami in 1909. Laying the Tracks: The Thai Economy and Its Railways. Dara Rasami’s half-brother Chao Kaew Nowarat had built a new residence in anticipation of her return. But despite its modern architecture and prime location. Vajiravudh saw Dara off on her journey at the Samsen train station.html. it apparently held little appeal for Dara Rasami.: Trans Pacific Press: 2005. After the king’s death. (See Illustration 5. in a hybrid European/Lan Na style of architecture. she formally requested permission from King Vajiravudh to leave Bangkok and retire to her hometown of Chiang Mai permanently. 8 After Dara Rasami moved to her new house in Mae Rim. The new house was located – as were many of the elite residences in early-twentieth-century Chiang Mai – on the riverbank east of the old walled city. probably from Huai Mae Ta or Ban Pin (the northernmost stations at that time).Woodhouse Chapter 5 in the old Inner Palace grounds. See details at the consulate’s website: http://chiangmai. the new house – called Dara Phirom Palace – was built entirely of wood. See Kakizaki Ichiro. In contrast to her residences at Dusit. Kyoto.

the sacred site is visited by thousands of Thai Buddhists and tourists each year. Dara Rasami was responsible for bringing several crops to Chiang Mai which became economically important.9 In the cool. She used her garden to showcase fruits and vegetables which farmers could “grow to sell”. 11 A rai is equal to an area of 1600 square meters. 9 See Kaewgiriya and Romaniyachat.Woodhouse Chapter 5 circling the interior ceilings: fanciful star-shaped motifs that reflect the meaning of Dara’s name (“dara” means “star” in both Lan Na language and Thai). thornless variety she named Chulalongkorn.. flowers. Dara Rasami adopted mixedcropping of both native and foreign species of both ornamental and fruiting trees. Page 235 . shady climate of the mountainside. Dara Rasami is also credited with bringing modern agriculture to Chiang Mai. Even more importantly. (See Illustration 5. 10 12 See Narin Thongsiri. making 70 rai equal to 27. 2004.10 (See Illustration 5.12 Using her royal connections.5) In addition to gardening for pleasure. she terraced the hillside below the house to plant varietal roses obtained through her (long-distance) membership in an English rose society. Located just a few miles west of Chiang Mai. The seventy rai11 of land surrounding the Dara Phirom residence. 199-210. and is still functional. Chiang Mai [Thailand]: Within Design. Here. eds. ibid.” in ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lanna Women]..4) Dara also built a house on the slopes of Doi Suthep. Among the hybrid varieties she created here was a strongly scented. and crops. 166-67. the local mountain sacred to Chiang Mai. Dara introduced cabbage to northern farmers. Dara recognized the challenges faced by local farmers as the northern economy shifted more towards cash cropping. who were The mountaintop Buddhist temple at Doi Suthep was built during the first Lan Na dynasty in the fifteenth century.675 acres. Having obtained foreign seeds from her southern friend Mom Chao Sitthipon Krytakon. “พระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศมีกับการเกษตร [Dara Rasami and Agriculture]. known as “Suan Chao Sabai” (Garden of the Princess’ Rest) served as a sort of laboratory for the promotion of new agricultural techniques and crops. สายใยรักสองเผ่นดิน [Dara Rasami: Tie of Love between Two Kingdoms].

. interview quoted on 206-207.. but sweeter. The boys’ school name has since been changed to “Prince Royal’s College. Though Dara liberally supported local Buddhist monuments and wats.” See website: http://en. whose fruit became another important cash crop for the northern Thai produce market. I sent one as an example to a hotel in Bangkok – the Hotel Trocadero. she also supported the activities of local Christian missionaries – a group with whom her mother and aunt had been friendly in the past.th/mains/index. 13 14 Page 236 .Woodhouse Chapter 5 able to sell their produce profitably to Bangkok. as is evident in the account of a Chiang Mai relative whom she encouraged to grow cantaloupe melon: I planted the ‘farang’ melon using the special-formula fertilizer of Chao Sitthipon [Krytakon]. or in Thai: http://www. he’d buy them all at thirty satang a pound – around three pounds for a baht.org/wiki/Dara_Academy.ac. Dara Rasami was approached by local Christian missionaries to lend her name to the all-girls’ school that they had set up as a counterpart to the all-boys’ school named for the Siamese Crown Prince. 205-206. During her 1909 visit. she allowed the school to use her title as Ibid. I took one to give to Dara.” while the girls’ school goes by “Dara Academy. Their manager answered me that if I had any more like the one I’d sent. 15 These schools are still functioning in Chiang Mai today.15 Following a brief exchange of telegrams with Chulalongkorn.php . Ibid. and the fruit looked very good. Dara took a personal interest in these agricultural pursuits.dara. and she was very impressed by its sweetness. They were smaller than Thai melon.13 Other sources credit her with the introduction of a new variety of lamyai tree to Chiang Mai.14 These are but a few of the species – both native and foreign – that Dara grew in the fields of Suan Chao Sabai at Mae Rim.wikipedia.

is now named the “McKean Rehabilitation Center. ร.5 ก.” although using her new title – Phra Raja Jaya – he thought problematic. 18 This style was named for its use of the northern musical instrument. naming the school Phra Raja Jaya Wittyalai (lit. donating funds for new buildings. Dara Rasami was also a patron of the missionaries’ medical enterprises. music.L. See Pakdeekul’s essay in ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lan Na Women]. ibid.ศ. Dara’s love of dance-drama also found further expression after her retirement to Chiang Mai. the school changed its name to Dara Wittyalai. but she also assisted in codifying and recording the various positions and gestures of both Lan Na and Bangkok dance styles. Page 237 . 17 Nongyao. 16 Upon her return to Chiang Mai in 1914 she became a patron of the school. the king recommended that Dara have the missionaries name the school “something easy for foreigners to pronounce.ย. Anecdotal 16 See S. กล่อง5 แฟ็ม 13.128). for telegrams between Dara Rasami and Chulalongkorn on this issue. the saw (fiddle). or Dara Academy. Dara Rasami continued to promote Lan Na arts and culture through literature. เจ้าจอมมารดาเจ้าดารารัศมีขึ้นเชียงใหม่ (14ก. In 1923. putting up looms underneath her house where local girls could learn traditional patterns. Dara Academy is well-known to both Thais and foreign residents of Thailand alike as a reputable institution. Not only did Dara employ dance instructors at her house.Woodhouse Chapter 5 part of the school’s name: Phra Raja Jaya Wittyalai. The missionaries went ahead anyway. and textiles.17 In addition to the above activities. Today.6. called lakhon saw. The McKean facility. รหัสเอกสาร ร. Dara also continued to promote Lan Na’s distinct textiles. donating funds for the construction of McCormick Hospital and the McKean Leper Colony.-22พ. dance. which once functioned as a haven for those disfigured by leprosy. as she created a new form that utilized northern instruments and melodies. several of whom later founded schools of their own. “Queen’s College”). Both these institutions still exist today..R..” as leprosy is more frequently treated and cured in its early stages.18 Unsurprisingly. Most patients now receive treatment while also training in handicrafts they can practice with missing digits or limbs before returning to their homes. At the time. She opened music and dance training to local girls. ibid.ย.

however. Chiang Mai. 19 Page 238 . Dara’s activities were successful – sometimes in wholly unintentional ways. which frequently can be found at Chiang Mai markets and festivals. Following the first-ever visit of the Siamese monarch (Rama VII. Dara’s Bangkok experience had undoubtedly taught her the strategic importance of maintaining Lan Na’s cultural distinctiveness. she embraced the Siamese model of the royal as modernizer.19 In these activities. 2008. on January 17.) Incidentally. riding miles to visit the village of Mae Chaem. however. teen jok phasin became all the rage among elite Bangkok ladies for a brief period. “Nearly all Siamese ladies of good social position are adopting the sin [phasin] instead of the phanung for daily Ajaan Aroonrut Wichienkieow says her mother used to tell her this story about Dara Rasami. who donated funds to medical facilities in Bangkok. (Woodhouse Research Notes from interview with Ajaan Aroonrut at Rajaphat University. following her return to Chiang Mai Dara spent the last twenty years of her life vigorously encouraging Chiang Mai’s residents to embrace and maintain their culture. Dara’s projects – particularly the farm at Suan Chao Sabai – clearly reflect a concern for the welfare of Lan Na’s common folk in rapidly changing economic times. King Prajatiphok) to Chiang Mai in 1925. Mae Chaem is still well-known today for the quality of its intricate teen jok textiles. As the above examples demonstrate.Woodhouse Chapter 5 evidence claims Dara was a skilled horsewoman. In contrast to the philanthropic activities of Bangkok’s nobles. we can see Dara’s internalization of notions of both siwilai and strategic essentialism. In promoting “modern” technologies of agriculture and medicine. Thailand. This role was made popular during Chulalongkorn’s reign by Siamese royals like Queen Saowapha. where the highest-quality teen jok borders could be found. As a strategy for maintaining distinctiveness from southern or Bangkok culture. According to British Resident Reginald LeMay in 1926. At the same time.

Page 239 . At least two Thai scholars have recently worked on the related topics of the construction of Chiang Mai as “the rose of the North” (see Daruni Somsri’s history M. and Chiang Mai’s women as “exotic beauties” of the north (see Ratana Pakdeekul’s history M. From photographs of the event. Dara Rasami died on December 9. 2006). 1926. as an exotic locale within Siam. She never lost her interest in children. at the age of sixty. as is evident in photographs taken of her with young grand-niece Chatrasudha Chatrchai (Illustration 5. 2000). Dara spent nineteen years in retirement in Chiang Mai. 102.Woodhouse Chapter 5 wear. ibid.2 Dara Rasami’s Later Life and Role in Chiang Mai’s Contemporary Memory Dara’s last years in Chiang Mai appear to have been relatively healthy and happy ones.”20 (See Illustration 5. Altogether. The royal visit. coupled with the recent completion of the railway line between Bangkok and Chiang Mai.7). it appears most of Chiang Mai’s population turned LeMay. In 1933.A. 20 21 22 See Natthakhan Limsattaphon’s essay in ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา [Pride of Lanna Women].21 5. and Siamese administrators sent up to Chiang Mai from Bangkok to represent King Prajatiphok (Rama VII). She divided her time between her residences at Doi Suthep and Mae Rim.6) Dara’s strategic essentialism of Lan Na’s uniqueness had come full circle. easily accessible from Bangkok. and by all accounts was kept very busy by her many interests and projects.A. 133. six months after her lung illness recurred.. gave the “domestic Other” of the North a new-found cachet among Siam’s first (elite) tourists. thesis at Chiang Mai University. London: Cambridge. thesis at Chulalongkorn University. An Asian Arcady: The Land and Peoples of Siam.22 Her funeral was attended by both members of the former Chiang Mai royal family (such as her half-brother Major General Kaew Nowarat). Reginald.

which undertook a complete restoration of the house in the late 1980s. who felt she was a Photographs of Dara’s funeral hang inside the Dara Phirom Palace Museum (her former house). 2007. where photography is forbidden. Dara Rasami has figured in Chiang Mai’s local memory in unusual ways. (Woodhouse research notes. The memory of Dara Rasami and her role as a connection between the Bangkok and Chiang Mai royal families has at times proved problematic. In one image. Princess Galyani Wattana. the street where Dara’s funeral procession passes through the city is filled with thousands of people. This house. as in the display located in the bot (main hall) at Wat Phra Singh. After Dara’s return to Chiang Mai in 1914. The prominent role played by the current Thai royalty (the king’s sister. while the other half are interred in her monument at the women’s cemetery adjacent to Wat Rajabophit in Bangkok. where her daughter’s ashes were also interred. the museum created from Dara’s residence at Suan Chao Sabai in Mae Rim.) 23 Page 240 . and daughter. apocryphal stories attribute her move to Mae Rim to discomfort with the suspicion expressed towards her by local Chiang Mai residents.Woodhouse Chapter 5 out for the event. But the presence of the contemporary Thai royal family in this event additionally reified Dara’s (and hence Chiang Mai’s) connection to Bangkok royalty. Since her death. Dara’s image appears in tandem with her male relatives as part of the greater lineage of Chiang Mai royalty.23 Her ashes are interred in two different locations: half are in Dara’s monument in the royal cemetery at Wat Suan Dok in Chiang Mai. August 25. which had fallen into disuse after her death. At times. Tourists and locals know her through Dara Phirom Palace. eventually became the property of Chulalongkorn University. Crown Princess Sirindhorn) in the grand re-opening of Dara’s house as a museum in 1990 additionally helped to fix Dara Rasami’s role in local history.

12. Dara Rasami’s status as an insider and outsider makes her difficult to claim as a genuine representative of “authentic” Lan Na culture or history. 25 See prior citation of conversation with Ajaan Aroonrut Wichienkieeow in January 2008.25 The annual celebration of Dara’s birthday. (Woodhouse research notes. 12. Yet Dara Rasami’s status among regular Chiang Mai folk is not necessarily so difficult. nearly every seat inside Dara Phirom Palace was filled – approximately 75-80 people attended the ceremonies. For example. Mention of Dara Rasami to local people in Chiang Mai often elicits stories of some family member with an old connection to her household. Woodhouse research notes.Woodhouse Chapter 5 Bangkok “outsider. Although undoubtedly several local cultural forms benefited by Dara’s patronage. 2008) 26 The last time I attended this celebration. on August 25. language. related that she discovered her grandfather had worked as an elephant mahout for Dara Rasami in the 1920s. exactly. while one can find several vendors selling amulets featuring the image of King Chulalongkorn at Chiang Mai’s local markets. 2008. particularly in recent years as northern history.26 However. curator of the Huen Derm manuscript collection at Chiang Mai University. 2007. held at Dara Phirom Palace every August. One local scholar described Dara Rasami as “the skeleton in the closet” of the Chiang Mai nobility. Jan. a fellow PhD student hailing from Chiang Mai. 24 Page 241 . Chiang Mai’s local historians and proponents of Lan Na Studies also have some difficulty deciding which side Dara was on. Colleague Jaeng (Rattana) Pakdeekul. her visibility as a famous royal figure is clearly not the same. in comparison to Siamese royals. and appears to be very well attended by local people. there Personal conversation with Ajaan Kreuk Akornchinaret.24 As a Chiang Mai woman who served the Siamese king in Bangkok for nearly thirty years. I was one of only two non-Thais present. includes Buddhist ceremonies with chanting monks as well as dance performances. and cultural difference have experienced a renaissance in Chiang Mai.” This notion seems to have some traction. Jan. there is some debate as to whether they were too Siamized in the process.

at the same era. “his genius was in being the ‘perfect lover. Page 242 . 27 Prayut. After Siam’s political relations with Lan Na had been reformulated under the monthon system (with a resident Siamese governor who supplanted the Lan Na royal power). As Thai author Prayut Sitthiphan wrote in his account of Chulalongkorn’s relationships with several of his highest consorts (Dara included).Woodhouse Chapter 5 are no images of Dara Rasami for sale – and sometimes the vendors themselves don’t recognize her name when asked.3 After Dara Rasami: The Decline and Fall of Palace Women in Siam In Thai popular literature. ibid. a significant part of King Chualongkorn’s perceived success as a king stems from his domestic success: his ability to manage the 150+ consorts of the Inner Palace. her status highlights the ongoing historical project of recovering Lan Na identity from Bangkok’s political and cultural domination. Thus Dara Rasami’s career as a royal consort over nearly thirty years spanned a unique period in Siam’s history. by the end of which her role was obsolete. Dara Rasami had played a role that could be described as that of Siam’s last political Princess. Chulalongkorn’s institution of the thetsaphiban monthon system of centralized provincial control spelled the obsolescence of the political functions enacted by palace women. as an outsider to both Bangkok’s elite and Chiang Mai’s local identity.’ able to make each woman think herself the only one.”27 Ironically. Thus Dara Rasami remains a problematic figure. At the same time. 5. the political marital alliances which had traditionally bound Siam’s center and its peripheries were rendered unnecessary.

A. with the increasing influx of Western capitalism. At the same time. who curtailed the number of royal wives out of a sense of polygyny’s backwardness and barbarism. Woman.” (Barme. 41. 161.29 By the reign of King Prajatiphok (1926-1935).” which made Siam into a constitutional monarchy. 29 Barme (and others) have suggested that Vajiravudh’s delay in marrying was due to his homosexuality. the roles of palace women – who had heretofore been so central to binding the Siamese polity to its peripheries – were elided and collapsed under a new political narrative in which family lineage and social history were no longer (as) important. “supported by most of his ministers.) 28 Page 243 . However. Siam’s 1932 “change of government. Sex. he was late to marry. Lanham. further shifted Siam’s political sphere towards more “modern” forms of governance and social practice. Man. the king of Siam was married to only one woman. Vajiravudh (1910-1925). as cited in Scot Barme. 2002. and whether Western nations would consider Siam to be “on a lower moral plane than…Western nations. Siamese nobles had begun to debate polygamy’s legal implications. and Popular Culture in Thailand. [he] expressed the view that the practice should continue. MD: Rowman & Littlefield.T. anxiety arose among Siamese elites as to how best to negotiate traditional practices with a new.” The imported western goods and clothing styles available to all in the Siamese marketplace began to undermine the traditional sumptuary rules that had N. an arrangement which aligned much more comfortably with Western cultural norms.Woodhouse Chapter 5 Notions of siwilai similarly impacted the practice of polygyny among Siam’s next generations of royalty.”28 Though Vajiravudh himself was not philosophically adverse to polygamy. ibid. Westerninformed “modernity. and took four wives in an unsuccessful effort to produce a male heir. Bangkok: Love. Only a few years into the reign of King Chulalongkorn’s successor. R6. Under the western constitutional system that was imported to Siam.

The social (and inherently political) significance of these family lineages persists in Thai society. 1979. the interlocking circles of elite patrons and clients in Thai society continues to Prince Wachirayan Warorot. particularly among Chinese-Thai trading families. 22-23 (as cited in Barme. however. Tailoring at European stores cost more. these royals chose styles and materials which would distinguish them from mere cheap knockoffs. so my first inclination was to go there… In the European stores… the goods they sold were well-made and one could display them with pride.30 Despite the ways in which the influx of capitalist consumption elided Siamese sumptuary customs. There was plenty of clothing. the significance of royal blood has never waned in Siamese society. ed. Athens: Ohio University Press. In contrast to these American examples.Woodhouse Chapter 5 marked off the dress of royalty from that of commoners. Thus it became difficult for royals to find modern dress that could accommodate both their eliteness and being siwilai. in a manner somewhat analogous to the persistent prestige of the Kennedys. Though capitalism has served to create new wealth. intr. the “high society” pages of newspapers and magazines are still full of Krytakorns. 2002). King Chulalongkorn’s brother. Reynolds. Ultimately. as they say. the level of prestige afforded these families by virtue of their links of royal blood with the Thai king himself has no strict analog in Western societies. explicates this point in his autobiography: To have my clothes tailored at a Chinese shop would have been inappropriate for me. One could identify these goods from their beauty.. trans. but I was ashamed to wear it. In contemporary Thai life. and Na Ayutthayas – familiar surnames which denote noble bloodlines. Prince Wachirayan. even if the Indian shops had similar goods. 30 Page 244 . Rockefellers and DuPonts in American society. Amatyakuns. Craig J.. Autobiography.

Middle and Outer Palaces.Woodhouse Chapter 5 persist. particularly since they were friendly with the local Christian missionaries. and sons in the Outer Palace. The subject of Dara Rasami’s mother. research remains to be done on ethnic difference in marital exchanges throughout both the mainland and island Southeast Asia. Certainly in terms of Southeast Asia alone. to provide an even fuller picture of the Inner Palace. The opportunities for new cultural-historical scholarship on Siam’s Fifth Reign are still far from exhausted. The first and perhaps greatest one is that of the other elite women of the Inner Palace. and examine the family links between their daughters in the Inner Palace. It would be immensely valuable to Thailand’s political history to research the various non-Chakri noble families. Thipkraisorn and Aunt Ubonwanna also warrant further investigation. the subject of the architecture of the Fifth Reign also warrants additional research and analysis. The topic of palace women is also useful cross-culturally. 5. rendering contemporary Thai society in many ways nearly as hierarchical today as it was in the past. While I have touched on the space of the Inner. The royal women of Burma’s Konbaung dynasty would make a particularly interesting Page 245 . who left an extensive archive at Payap University in Chiang Mai. and their family lineages. I would pursue more research on the other women surrounding Dara Rasami in the palace.4 Opportunities for Further Research As this study has focused on providing the context surrounding an individual elite woman in the Siamese palace. and suggests that parallel studies could be undertaken for other Southeast Asian. there are accordingly a number of opportunities for research which I have had to pass by. as well as Suan Dusit. With more time to devote to the subject. Asian (and non-Asian) cultures.

5. Dara’s difference assisted the Siamese elites in their formulation of siwilai.5 Concluding Remarks By virtue of her ethnic difference and political uniqueness. Dara Rasami’s promotion to the highest echelon of queenly status – otherwise occupied only by women of Chakri blood – illustrates the fact that only the monarch himself granted promotions to his consorts. As a princessconsort from one of Siam’s most politically sensitive tributary kingdoms. Dara Rasami’s life within the Inner Palace illuminates the centrality of the circulation of women in the political economy of Siam. occurring in 1909. providing them with an “Other within” against which to deploy Siamese superiority. Thus Chulalongkorn’s promotion of Dara Page 246 . and their unique role in linking Siam’s peripheries to its center. Dara Rasami’s promotion to the rank of Phra Rajajaya. and the origins of their decline after the apex of the Fifth Reign era. Finally. those of the Meiji era – which was almost exactly contemporaneous with Thailand’s Fifth Reign era – have not. As gender generally has been poorly historicized in Asia. Dara Rasami provides a convenient window on what we might think of as Siam’s “greatest generation” of palace women.Woodhouse Chapter 5 study of the intersection of cosmology and gender in a palace context. While the elite women of Japan’s Tokugawa era have been well-studied. Palace women and their functions could be explored elsewhere in Asia as well. these are but a few of the opportunities that await future scholarly examination and analysis. thus each and every promotion depended largely upon a woman’s personal relationship with the king himself. came several years after Lan Na’s political status had been cemented under Siam’s centralized thetsaphiban monthon system of administration. As a woman from a distinctly different ethnic group.

it appears to have grown out of their close relationship over twenty-five years in the palace. and Chulalongkorn’s appreciation of Dara’s loyalty in her service to him over that time – as Siam’s last political princess. Page 247 .Woodhouse Chapter 5 Rasami no longer had a direct political aim. Rather.

Woodhouse Chapter 5 Illustrations 5. Bangkok. Page 248 .1 and 5. Thailand.2 ~ Casual snaps of Dara outside her Dusit residence (undated) Source: National Archives of Thailand.

Page 249 . Mae Rim Chapter 5 Source: Photo taken by Leslie Woodhouse August 24.3 ~ Dara Rasami’s Last Residence at Suan Chao Sabai.Woodhouse Illustration 5. 2006.

Page 250 .Woodhouse Illustration 5.4 ~ “Star” motifs in woodwork at Dara Rasami’s Mae Rim House Chapter 5 Source: Photo taken by Leslie Woodhouse August 25. 2007.

5 ~ Phunphitsamai Diskul with Dara’s rose. Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press.) Source: ดารารัศมี สายใยรักสองเผ่นดิน [Dara Rasami: Bond of Love Between Two Kingdoms]. in Chiang Mai (Mom Chao Phunphitsamai Diskul was one of Prince Damrong’s daughters.Woodhouse Chapter 5 Illustration 5. Chulalongkorn. 167. 2003. Page 251 .

Center is Chao Chom Manda Ohn. flanked by her daughters Phra Ong Chao Ying Adisai Suriyapha (L) and Phra Ong Chao Ying Orapraphan Ramphai (R). circa 1925. Source: Anek Nawikkamun. การแต่งกายสมัยรัตนาโกสินทร์ [Thai Dress in the Rattanakosin Era]. Bangkok: Muang Boran Publishing. 146. Page 252 . 2004.Woodhouse Illustration 5.6 ~ Phasin become fashionable in 1920s Bangkok Chapter 5 Note the generational difference in dress.

Bangkok: Chulalongkorn University Press.Woodhouse Illustration 5. Page 253 . Chiang Mai (undated). 167. Source: ดารารัศมี สายใยรักสองเผ่นดิน [Dara Rasami: Bond of Love Between Two Kingdoms].7 ~ Dara Rasami in her garden with niece Chatrsudha Chatrchai Chapter 5 Dara Rasami in garden of residence at Doi Suthep. 2003.

T.). R.Woodhouse Bibliography Bibliography ARCHIVES CONSULTED: THAILAND 1) NATIONAL ARCHIVES OF THAILAND (N.L. BANGKOK • Records of the Mahat Thai (มหาตไทย) during the Fifth Reign (ราชการที่๕) • Records of the Palace Ministry (กรมวัง) 2) NATIONAL LIBRARY (N.L. KEW Foreign Office Series 27.T.L.A). 69. CHIANG MAI UNIVERSITY.A.N. 3/295. 422.R. 3/296 Page 254 . BANGKOK • Records of Chao Dara Rasami’s travels to Chiang Mai in 1909 • Records of Phra Rajajaya Dara Rasami’s funeral arrangements in 1933 4) MANUSCRIPT COLLECTION OF THE HUEN DERM (ORIGINAL HOUSE). 3/288.). 628. and 881 2) BRITISH LIBRARY (B. LONDON: Foreign Office. 3-5 3) ARCHIVES OF THE ROYAL SECRETARIAT (S. THAILAND ARCHIVES CONSULTED: UNITED KINGDOM 1) BRITISH NATIONAL ARCHIVES (B.). Political & Secret documents Series 18.). 94. BANGKOK • Records of Consorts and Queens of Siam.

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“Political.” Doctoral dissertation.A. V and VI. thesis. Social. 1968.” M. History. Ratanaporn Settrakul. Nigel J. 1989.Woodhouse Bibliography UNPUBLISHED ENGLISH-LANGUAGE SOURCES: Bee Melanie Ontrakarn. Northern Illinois University. 2005. University of London. and Economic Changes in the Northern States of Thailand Resulting From the Chiang Mai Treaties of 1874 and 1883. “Servitude of the Ladies of The Royal Inner Court During the Reigns of King Rama IV. Chulalongkorn University.” Doctoral dissertation. History. Brailey. Thai Studies. “The Origins of the Siamese Forward Movement in Western Laos. Page 268 . 18501892.

2002. 2006.ป. สกุลบุนนาค. กรุงเทพฯ: ภาคธาตุ. 2536] กรมศิลปากร. 1998. พระประวัติ พระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี. ดำรงราชานุภาพ.พ.๑๕๔๖. __________.ล. พิมพ์เป็นอนุสรณ์ในงานพระราชทานเพลิงศพ พลตรี เจ้าราชบุตร (วงศ์ตวัน ณ เชียงใหม่) ณ เมรุวัดสวนดอก จังหวัดเชียงใหม่ ๑๒ มกราคม ๒๕๑๖. กรุงเทพฯ: โรงพิมพ์ชวนพิมพ์. จ้าแก้วนวรัฐฯ. Page 269 . ย้อนรอยเจ้าจอมก็กออ. กรุงเทพฯ: วิรายาทุรากิจ. เลาะวัง.1973. ชมรมสายสกุลบุนนาค. 1999. ดร. ม. กรุงเทพฯ: บำรุงนุกูลกิจ.ป. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพิมพ์ ดอกหญ้า. เชียงใหม่ หัวใจล้านนา. เชียงใหม่: ธนบรรณการพืมพ์. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพิมพ์น้ำฝน.. กรุงเทพฯ: กรมศิลปากร. จีริจันทร์ ประทีปะเสน. กัณฑาทิพย์ สิงหาเนติ. 1988. 1935. : ม. ลิมสถาพร. 2004. เรื่องราวในรัชสมัยพระพุทธเจ้าหลวง. สมเด็จพระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าดิศวรกุมาร กรมพระยา. 2001. กรุงเทพฯ: โชคชัยเทเวศร์. ประชุมพงศาวดาร ภาคที่ ๖๑. กิตติพงษ์ วิโรจน์ธรรมากูร. จุลลดา ภักดีภูมินทร์. กรุงเทพฯ: สายสกุลบุนนาก.Woodhouse Bibliography PUBLISHED THAI-LANGUAGE SOURCES: 120 ปี พระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศมี [ม.ท. ศรีฟ้า มหาวรรณ. กิตติพงษ์ วิโรจน์ธรรมากูร. หมะเมียะ จากวันนั้นถึงวันนี้ ๑๐๐ ปี ๒๔๔๖ . ในวังแก้ว. 1992. ประวัติวัดราชบพิธสถิตมหาสีมาราม. รวบรวมและเรียบเรียง.

Woodhouse สมเด็จพระพุทธเจ้าหลวง กับพระสนมเอก. บุญเสิม ฤทธาภิรมย์. 1997. กาเลหม่านไต. นงเยาว์ กาญจนจารี. กรุงเทพ: บริษัทสำนักพิมพ์ บรรณกิจ. กรุงเทพ: องค์การค้าของคุรุ สภา ศึกษาภัณฑ์พาณิชย์. Page 270 .ว. นายคนัง เงาะเซมังภาคใต้. 1960. ตำนานเมืองเชียงตุง: ปริวรรตจากสมุดข่อยภาษาและตัวอักษร ไทยเขิน ของวัดพระธาตุสายเมือง อ.ร. 1984. ดารารัศมี พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี พร้อมพระนิพนธ์ คำปรารภ โดย สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอเจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา. 1984. เชียงใหม่: สถาบันวิจัยสังคม มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม่. กรุงเทพฯ: คณะกรรมการ จัดทำหนังสือ. [กรุงเทพฯ]: 1921. เชียงใหม่: โครงการศึกษา การปกครองท้องถิ่น คณะสังคมศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัย เชียงใหม่. 1991.ท่าขี้เหล็ก จ. คนเมือง. เชียงใหม:่ สูนย์ศึกษาปัญหาเมือง เชียงใหม่. 2001. 1988. แน่งน้อย ศักดิ์ศรี. โครงการตำรา มหาวิทยาลัย ห้องจำหน่ายหนังสือ สำนักหอสมุตมหาวิทยาลัย เชียงใหม่. การปกครองเมืองในสังคมไทย กรณีเชียงใหม่เจ็ดศตวรรษ. ทวี สว่างปัญญางกูร. 1990. 100 ปี สายสัมพันธ์ สยามขล้านนา 2443-2542. ตำนานประกาศเรื่องละครอีเหน้า. 1999. ____________. 1900.เชียงตุง สหภาพพม่า. Bibliography ทวี สว่างปัญญางกูร. ______________. [และคนอื่น ๆ] สถาปัตยกรรมพระบรมมหาราชวัง. เชียง ใหม่: โครงการศึกษาการปกครองท้องถิน ่ คณะสังคมศาสตร์ มหาวิทยาลัย เชียงใหม่. ตำนานเมืองยอง. ธเนศวร์ เจริญเมือง. ______________. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักราชเลขาธิการ. บรรจบ พันธุเมธา. ม. [กรุงเทพฯ]: พระภาธ.

อนุบาลรำลึกพิมพ์เป็นบรรณาการ ในงาน พระราชทานเพลิงศพ อำมเตย์เอก พระยาอนุบาลพายัพกิจ. คณะสังคมสาศตร์ มหาวิทยาลัยเชียงใหม่: [1969]. ปราณี ศิริธร ณ พัทลุง. _____________________. ๒๕๓๘. กรุงเทพฯ: บริษัทอมรินทร์ พริ้นติ้งแอนด์พับลิชชิ่ง จำกัด (มหาชน). บทละครเรื่อง เงาะป่า และประชุมโคลงสุภาษิต. เชียงใหม่: นอร์เทิร์น พริ้นติ้ง จำกัด. กรุงเทพฯ: บำรุงบัณฑิต. พระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว. หม่อมเจ้า. พระประวัติ สมเด็จพระเจ้าบรมวงศ์เธอ พระองค์เจ้าดิศวรกุมาร กรมพระยาดำรงราชานุภาพ. 1943. เผ่าทอง ทองเจือ. พูนพิศมัย ดิศกุล. นาฏศิลป์ล้านนา กรณีศึกษาสมัยพระราชชายาเจ็าดารารัศมี (พ. ประชุมประกาศราชการที่ ๔. 1999. เชียงใหม่: [ไม่มีสำนักพิมพ์]. รัฏฐภัทร จันทวิช. ผัาพิมพ์ลายโบราณ ในพิพิธภัณฑสถานแห่งชาติ.ศ. กรุงเทพฯ: กรมศิลปากร. รักในราชสำนัก รัชกาลที่ ๕. เจ้าทิพวรรณ (ณ ลำปาง) ณ เชียงตุง. Page 271 . 1995. กรุงเทพฯ: คุรุศภา. เพ็ชร์ล้านนา. พิมพ์ครั้งที่ ๒. รุจพร ประชาเดชสุวัฒน์. [กรุงเทพฯ:ไม่มีสำนักพิมพ์หรืป] ี. พ. ปุ่น อาสนจินดา. 2405-2486. ฉลองพระองค์ฝ่ายในสมัยรัตนโกสินทร์. พระยุทธ สิทะิพันธ์. 1986. ประชุมพระนิพนธ์. กรุงเทพฯ: [ไม่มีสำนักพิมพ์หรือปี]. พระราชพงศาวดารกรุงรัตนาโกสินทร์ ราชกาลที่ ๔. กรุงเทพฯ: พระครูคณานัมสมณาจารย์.ศ. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพิมพ์สาระดี. 2002. 2000. 1968. 1989.Woodhouse Bibliography ปราณีศิริธร ณ พัทลุง.

๒๕๓๙. 2004. 2388-2535. กรุงเทพฯ: สังสาร. ๒๐๐ ปี พม่าในล้านนา. กรุงเทพฯ: ด่านสุทธาการพิมพ. ศักดิ์ รัตนชัย และคณะทำงานศึกษาค้นคว้า 2537-2539. กรุงเทพฯ: มัธิชน. ในสมัยรัชกาลที่ 4 ถึงรัชกาลที่ 6 กับกระแส วัฒนธรรมตะวันตก.Woodhouse Bibliography ๒๔๑๖) ถึงปัจจุบัน. กรุงเทพฯ: โอเดียนสโตร.ศ. เสื้อผ้านุ่งเมือง วัฒนธรรมแต่งกาย เมือง ลำปาง. ์ กษัตริย์และกล้อง:วิวัฒนาการการถ่ายภาพในประเทศไทย พ. ลำปาง. ลูกแก้ว เมียขวัญ. ขัตติยานีศรีล้านนา. วงศ์สักก์ ณ เชียงใหม่. เชียงไหม่: วิทินดีไสน์. 2000. สภาวัฒนธรรมจังหวัดลำปาง ร่วมกับศูนย์วัฒนธรรมจังหวัดลำปาง. _____________. วิชาการชุด โครงการอาณาบริเวณศึกษา ๕ ภูมิภาค. วิชิตวงศ์ ณ ป้อมเพชร. แก้วชิงดวง รวมสารคดีเรืองเยี่ยม. 1997. ศักดา ศิริพันธุ. ได้รับทุนอุดหนุนวิจัยจาก สำนักงานคณะกรรมการวัฒนธรรม แห่งชาติ กระทรวงศึกษาธิการ. เมืองไทย. เศรษฐกิจสยาม: บทวิเคราะห์ในพระองค์เจ้าดิลกนพรัฐ กรมหมื่น สรรควิสัยนรบดี ดุษฎีบัณฑิตทางเศรษฐศาสตร์จากเยอรมนีองค์แรกของสยาม. กรุงเทพฯ: 2001. 1989. ลำดับที่ ๗. 1995. Page 272 . ลาวัณย์ โชตามระ. 2006. พระมเหสีเทวี. จอมนางแห่งสยาม. ไม่มีปี] ลัดดาวัลย์ แซ่เซียว. กรุงเทพฯ: 2002. 1962. วรรณพร บุญญาสถิตย์. ศันสนีย์ วีระศิลป์ชัย. สงวน โชติสุรัตน์. กรุงเทพฯ: โอเดียนสโตร์. คนดีเมืองเหนือ. กรุงเทพฯ: [ไม่มีเชื่อนักพิมพ์.

จ. จงจิตรถนอม ดิศกุล. สาส์นสมเด็จ. กรุงเทพฯ: มูลนิธิสมเด็จฯเจ้าฟ้ากรมพระยานริศรานุวัตติวงศ์. พระราชชายาเจ้าดารารัศมี กับงานสังคีตศิลป์. ทรงรวบรวม จุฬาลงกรณราชสันตติวงศ์ พระนามพระราชโอรส พระราชธิดา และพระราชนัดดา. กรุงเทพฯ: เมืองโบราน. เชียงใหม่: จุฬาลงกรณ์ มหาวิทยาลัง.Woodhouse Bibliography สมหมาย เปรมจิตต์. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนัก พระราชวัง. _____________. พระราชวังดุสิต หมู่พระตำหนัก. 2002. เชียงใหม่: มหาวิทยาลัย เชียงใหม่. สันติ เล็กสุขุม. 1996. สมเด็จพระเจ้าพี่นางเธอ เจ้าฟ้ากัลยาณิวัฒนา กรมหลวงนราธิวาสราชนครินทร์.์ กรุงเทพฯ: โสภณพิพิธภัณฑนกร. ศิลปะภาคเหนือ นริภุญชัย – ล้านนา. Page 273 . ศ.๒๕๑๘. 1997. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพิมพ์บรรณกิ. 1986. สำนักพระราชวัง. สมเด็จฯเจ้าฟ้ากรมพระยานริศรานุวัตติวงศ์ และ สมเด็จฯกรมพระยา ดำรงราชานุภาพ. สถาปัตยกรรมในสถาบันพระมหากษัตริ [จัดทำโดย คณะอนุกรรมการเฉพาะกิจจัดทำหนังสือสถาปัตยกรรมในสถาบันพระมหากษัตริยคณะ กรรม การเอกลักษณ์ของชาติ สำนักนายกรัฐมนตรี. 2006. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพระราชวัง.] กรุงเทพฯ: คณะกรรมการอำนวย การจัดงาน ฉลองสิริราช สมบัติครบ 50 ปี. กรุงเทพฯ: เขล็ทไทย. จดหมายเห็ตุการก่อสร้างและ ซ่อมแซม พระที่นั่ง วินานเมฆ พุทธศักราช ๒๔๔๓ . 1997. สัมภาษณ์ ม. สิทธิพร เนตรนิยม. 1991. 1990. สำนักงานเสริมสร้างเอกลักษณ์ของชาติ. สำเนาพระราชหัทเลขาจาก พระบาคสมเด็จพระพุทธเจ้าหลวง พระราชทานกรมพระนราธิป พระพันภงศ. ดร. 1931. 1994. สุลัก ศิวรักษ์. ตำนานสิบห้่ราชวงศ์ ฉบับสอบชำระ.

ส. ล้านนาไทยศึกษา. __________. 2004.1982.Woodhouse Bibliography แสงดาว ณ เชียงใหม่. ราชประดิพัทธ์. 2003. [เชียงใหม่. 1969. เอนก นวิกมูล. กรุงเทพ: คุรุศภา ลาดเพรา. เมืองไทย: ไม่มีสำนักพิมพ์]. กรุงเทพฯ: สำนักพิมพ์อรุณวิทยา. อรุณ เวชสุวรรณ. เชียงใหม่: โรงพิมพ์กลางเวียง. เสงี่ยม คุมพวาส. พระประวัติพระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี 26 สิงหาคม 2416 – 9 ธันวาคม 2476. กรุงเทพฯ: เสริมวิทย์บรรณาคาร. กรุงเทพฯ: สาระคดีพาภ. 1981. พลายน้อย. อำพัน ไชยวรศิลป์. อรุณรัตน์ วิเชียนเขียว. แสงดาว ณ เชียงใหม่. เล่าเรื่องเมืองเหนือว่าด้วยประวัติบุคคลสำคัญ. 2000. Page 274 . พลายน้อย. เรื่องเล่าจากข้าวของเครื่องแต่งกาย. 1998. กรุงเทพฯ: บริษัต รวมสาส์น. พระบรมราชินีและเจ้าจอมมารดา. ประวัติการถ่ายรูป ยุคแรกของไทย. พระราชชายา เจ้าดารารัศมี กับ การรวมหัวเมืองภาคเหนือ. การแต่งกาย สมัยรัตนโกสินทร์. ส. 1974. กรุงเทพฯ: พิมพ์คำ สำนักพิมพ์. กรุงเทพฯ: เมืองโบราณ. 2004.

1986. thesis. 1993. “ภาพลักณ์ ‘ผู้หญิงเหนือ’ ตั้งแต่ปลายพุทธศตวรรษที่ ๒๕ ถึงต้นพุทธ ศตวรรษที่ ๒๖. ๒๔๖๔ .” M. History. Chulalongkorn University.A. 1997. “ล้านนาในการรับรู้ของชนชั้น ปกครอง สยาม พ. 2437-2476. Thammasat University. 1966. Chulalongkorn University. ฉัตราภรณ์ จินดาเดช. 2000. Chulalongkorn University.ศ.” M. History. “ศาลต่างประเทศในภาคเหนือของประเทศไทย (พ. พรศิริ บูรญเขตต์. Economics.A. “การปราบฮ่าและการเสียดินแดน พ. “พระราชชยาเจ้าดารารัศมี กับนาฏยศิลป์ล้านนา.๒๕๒๓. “บทบาทนายทุนพ่อค้าที่มีต่อการก่อและขยายตัวของทุนนิยมภาค เหนือ ของประเทศไทย พ.” M. “นางใน: ชีวิตทางสังคมและบทบาทในสังคมไทยสมัยรัชกาลที่ ๕. History. thesis. 1974.ศ.ส.” Doctoral dissertation. 1981. “กรณีพิพาทระหว่างเจ้านครเชียงใหม่กับคนในบังคับอังกฤษ อันเป็นเหตุ ให้รัฐบาลสยาม จัดการปกครองมณฑลพายัพ (พ.A. 2000. 1999.ศ. Chulalongkorn University. พรพรรณ จงวัฒนา. M. Chulalongkorn University.A. Social Anthropology.” M. thesis. History.A. ภักดีกุล รัตนา. thesis. ๒๔๘๑.” M. Thammasat University. รัตนาพร เศรษฐกุล. thesis. Chulalongkorn University. Department of Fine Arts. thesis. History. thesis. สาระ มีผลกิจ. ปลายอ้อ ชนะนนท์. “สตรีในราชสำนักสยามตั้งแต่รัชกาลพระบาทสมเด็จพระจอมเกล้า เจ้าอยู่หัว Page 275 . thesis. ๒๔๑๖ .Woodhouse Bibliography UNPUBLISHED THAI-LANGUAGE SOURCES: นิธิ เอียวศรีวงศ์. สายสวรรค์ ขยันยิ่ง. History.” M. “การบริหารราชสำนักฝ่ายใน รัชสมัยพระบาทสมเด็จ พระจุลจอมเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว. เตือนใจ ไชยศิลป์.A.” M.A. 2401-2445).A.ศ. Chiang Mai University.๒๔๘๐).

” M. Page 276 . อรุณรัตน์ วิเชียนเขียว. thesis. 2003. thesis. Chulalongkorn University. History.” M.2394-2468. “การวิเคราะห์สังคมเชียงไหม่สมัยรัตนโกสินทร์ตอนต้นฉบับ ใบลานในภ่คเหนือ.” M. “การสื่อสารในวังหลวง กรุงรัตนาโกสินทร์ ของพระราชชายาเจ็าดารารัศมี.A.A. thesis. Silpakorn University. 1999.ศ. 1977. สุวดี พันธ์พานิช.Woodhouse Bibliography ถึงรัชกาลพระบาทสมเด็จพระมงกุฎเกล้าเจ้าอยู่หัว พ. นาง. Communication Arts. History. Chulalongkorn University.A.

soravij.S. Siam Society. Dara Rasami’s father: http://en.wikipedia.gov/history.wikipedia.html Bibliography Page 277 . Bangkok.Woodhouse Websites Accessed: Dara Rasami: http://www.usconsulate. Last Lan Na governor of Chiang Mai: http://en.html Chao Intawichyanon. Thailand http://www.org/facilities/kamthieng.com/dara.org/wiki/Chao_Keo_Naovarat Lan Na-Thai http://en. Consulate Building in Chiang Mai.siam-society.html U.org/wiki/Lanna Kamthieng House.wikipedia. Thailand http://chiangmai.org/wiki/Inthawichayanon Chao Gaew Nowarat.

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