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  •   Background and Rationale

    To develop the ethnic groups database where systematized research data are available online and can be made use of by interested parties or individuals, following the subjects or topics of their interests, and thus making it easier for them to sum up the essential points necessary for further in-depth studies. 


    S'gaw youth at Mowakee Chaingmai

    Less savings. Much to share.

    S'gaw's proverb
    Mowakee Chaingmai

    Salak Yom Festival
    Pratupha Temple

    Sea as Home of Urak Lawoi, Moken, Moklen

    Rawai beach Phuket Thailand


    Computer class of S'gaw students
    Mae La Noi , Maehongson

    Khaw Rai (Rice)
    produced from rotational farming
    Li Wo, Kanchanaburi


    S'gaw woman at Hin Lad Nai village

    Fermented Beans

    Important ingredient of Tai


    Phlong(Pwo) woman

    Li Wo village

    Boon Khaw Mai rite

    Phlong at Li Wo


    Little Prince of Tai

    Ordination in Summer of Tai boys


    Boys are ordained as novice monks

     Poi Sang Long is the tradition of the Tai. 

    Be novice monk to learn Buddhism


    Tai-art  mural painting of  Buddha 
    at Wat Chong Kam Chong Klang
    Maehongson Thailand

    Wat Chong-Kam, Chong Klang

    Hmong childs at Ban Kewkarn
  •   Smile

    Smile in problems
    Urak  Lawai at Rawai Phuket
  •   Hybrid




  Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre
Ethnic Groups Research Database
Sorted by date | title


Subject Lisu, religion, healing, northern region, Thailand
Author E. Paul Durrenberger
Title Lisu Religion
Document Type Research Paper Original Language of Text English
Ethnic Identity Lisu, Language and Linguistic Affiliations Sino-Tibetan
Location of
Sirindhorn Anthropology Centre Total Pages 43 Year 1989
Source Center for Southeast Asia Studies on Southeast Asia, Northern Illinois University

The author presents forms of diagnoses and the healing of illnesses according to the belief and faith in supernatural powers, ancestors’ spirits and ghosts of the Lisu. These supernatural beings can bring benefit or harm to human beings if humans are sacrilegious to or violate traditional norms and practices relating to daily life. The author uses case studies of sicknesses with unknown causes, showing diagnoses according to the Lisu’s beliefs and wisdom and the logic of the social relationship to those beliefs as well as explaining the concepts of mind, spirits or animistic beliefs, bilateral logic and polarities of sicknesses. Initially, sicknesses were believed to be caused by spirits, be it ancestors’ spirits regulating the morality, traditions and customs of their children, spirits dwelling in nature which were looked down upon, black magic from enemies, or other bad spirits or witches. Ancestors’ spirits were asked to possess mediums in order to identify causes or symptoms, so that healing could be conducted correctly. Sometimes the ritual was repeated because the sick had not recovered, indicating wrong diagnosis. If the sickness persisted, modern medical treatments were sought after, which was due to the influence in Christianity of some villages.

Text Analyst Pornarin Phermphun Date of Report Apr 18, 2013
TAG Lisu, religion, healing, northern region, Thailand, Translator Chalermchai Chaichompoo


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