The LAWÂ or Chaubun in Changvad Petchabun. พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย Phra Petchabunburi   



                    THE  LAWĀ  OR  CHAUBUN  IN  CHANGVAD

                                 PHRA   PETCHABŪNBURI
                          Governor of Changvad PetchabŪn.
         Translated from the Siamese by Major E. Seidenfaden.


          These people are of a red-brown colour, rather darkish, but
not very different from the Thai people, of middle height, inclining
more to stoutness than to meagerness. The face seen " en face " is
round, " en profil " the chin springs out, but the nose, which is big,
is generally flat. The ears are big, but not thick, and are set tightly
to the head ; the lips are thick, but the mouth is not bigger than
that of the ordinary Thai people (i.e. in Petchabūn ?).*)
          The men grow a moustache but have no whiskers, the hair on
the head is thick and of black colour, straight and lank, the indivi-
dual hair is thick and stiff, no curled hair occurs ; the hair on the
body is soft and also of black colour. The eyes are of a yellowish
tint, the pupils round ; the eyes are set quite horizontally with the
same distance between the eyelids at both corners.
          While the skin on the covered parts of the body is of a red-
dish brown colour, that exposed to the sun and weather is much
darker. The baby child has a dark blue spot on its back (the exact
place is not given) which spot disappears when the child is about one
year old.
          Originally these people lived in the jungle on the hills and
mountain slopes along rivulets and streams ; at the present time they
live in a territory which to the North is limited by Khao Luk
Khāng (the chin mountain), to the East by Khao Pōng Ai Khōk, to
the South by the Pu Chanuen stream and to the West by the Ban
Bong stream.


* All remarks put in brackets are the translator's.




          The people call themselves Lawā and are by the neighbour-
ing Thai called Chaubun, (officially they are called Lawā) and their
distribution is as follows :—
          Tambon Bān Khōk 95 males 94 females ; tambon Bān Nā Pā
in Bān Nām Lau & Bān Sadeng Ngām 71 males 69 females; tambon
Thā Deng in Bān Ngiu Ngām, Bān Tin tok and Bān Tha tuang tam
109 males and 90 females, or total 528 individuals ; the above-
mentioned tambons are all included in the territory of Ampho'
Mu'ang Petchabūn.
          Originally the Lawā lived in temporary huts — กระท่อม —the
walls and roofs of which were made of leaves, and every three years
they went to live in another place, but now they are settled perma-
nently as other people. Their house utensils are partly made of
bamboo, partly of rattan ; their clothing consists of the " panung "
but the men often wear trousers ; they buy all their clothing, as they
do not understand to weave ; for personal adornment they use gold
and silver rings as the Thai. Both sexes cut the hair according to
the style called " Dok Krathum " (i.e. cutting the hair close to the
skull leaving on the top a brushformed tuft).
          The most important item of food is rice and Indian corn,
spirit is occasionally drunk, tobacco as well as hemp-smoking — Kan
cha — is indulged in, but opium-smoking is quite unknown ; when
chewing betel they use the leaves of the wild betel plant and sisiet
(catechu); they buy their ricepots.
          The Lawās are hunters and fishermen ; they use as weapons
muskets and cross bows and arrows; for fishing purposes they have :
ròb, khai, tom, chū and lan (sorts of nets and traps). The animals
hunted are deer, wild pigs, barking deer and the krathing ox. They
do not possess any sort of vehicles. They cultivate both fields and
rais on the hill slopes, in the last one they plant pumpkins ; they do
not plough the fields, all work is done by hand ; their implements
being the hoe, spade, axe and knife. The Lawās keep no domestic
animals ; they understand now the use of money and sell some few
things as betel-leaves, sisiet, rattan mats and plaited bamboo mats,
they are clever basketmakers,




          From the point of view of administration these people were
originally classed as " Kong suei " (i.e. paying taxes in form of
certain products), and had to send " Khòn dòk " (i.e. the deadwood of
which the fragrant incense sticks are made) to Mu'ang Petchabūn ;
they had a chief or " hua nā ", whom all Lawās must obey. Before
going out in the jungle to fetch the Khòn dòk they made an altar
— (san phieng ta — literally " of the height of the eyes ") — and
here sacrificed rice spirit, rice, ducks and fowls to the spirits of the
forest ; these ceremonies took place in November-December and May-
June every year. The Lawās were exempt from money taxes and
corvée until Sok 116 (1897), when they were brought under the
ordinary laws and regulations of the kingdom. 



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