Ethnologic Notes. พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย Dr. A. F. G. Keek.   

KERR, A.F.G. ETHNOLOGIC NOTES. JSS. VOL.18 (pt.2) 1924. p.135-146.

 

 

                                                           ( 135 )

 

                                              ETHNOLOGIC NOTES.

                                                By Dr. A. F. G. Kerr.

                                                         _______

                              The Lawā of the Baw Lūang Plateau.


          In    the   article  on  the  Wā  in  the  Gazetteer  of  Upper    Burma
and    the   Shan   States (Part 1, Vol. I) it  is  stated  that   the  Burmese
and Lāo name for the Wā  is  Lawā  and  the  author  goes  on   to  say :
"The fact that the Lawa and the Wa  are  the  same  and  that  they  are
of the same race  as  the  Rumai  or  Palaungs  and   the  Riang tribes
seems to be conclusively proved  by  comparative  vocabularies. " The
Lawā  of  the  Baw  Lūang  Plateau  are  no  exception, the  vocabulary*
collected from them, though very meagre, agrees  fairly  well  with   the
Wā   vocabularly  given  in  the  above  mentioned  work. On   the  other
hand, if language is to be the test, the so-called  Lawā   of   Petchabūn
must    be   excluded   from   the   Wā  races. The   very  full  vocabulary
given  for  the  Petchabūn  Lawā  in  Phra Petchabūnburī's  paper, with
a  translation  by  Major  Seidenfaden, in  this  Journal   (Vol. XIV,   Part
1),   when   compared   with   the  Wā  vocabulary   in  the  Gazetteer of
Upper Burma and the Shan States shows that  the two languages are
very different.

          I  have  not  been able to  find much  information  recorded  about
the    Lawā   of   the    Baw    Lūang    Plateau. Holt    S.   Hallett   in   his
"Thousand Miles on  an  Elephant   in   the  Shan  States"  gives  some
account of the Lawā  villages there, chiefly  notes  on  their disposal of
the  dead  and  on   the  dress  of  the  women with a  somewhat  fuller
account   of   their  iron smelting. Hallett also gives one or two legends
connected    with    the  Lawā.  Apart   from  this  very   little   information
concerning  this  particular  community  seems available, though  their
villages  must  frequently have been visited as they are  on one  of   the
best   known  routes between Chiengmai and  Moulmein. The pictures-
que  account  of  the Lawā in Mr.Graham's"Siam" does not  specifically
concern   the  Baw Luang Lawā. The  same  remark  applies  to  Major
Seidenfaden's  note  on  Phra Petchabûnburî's paper, where, however,
a  very   interesting  historical  résumé  of  the  Lawā  in  Siam is  given.

_______________________________________________________

          * This vocabulary will be published later.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        ( 136 )

 

           In     July     1922  I  passed  through  two  of  the  villages on  the
plateau,  Bān   Nā     Fawn   (บ้านนาฟอ่น)   and   Baw  Luang    (บ่อหลวง).
As only a few hours were spent in  these  villages  and  even  that  time
was partly occupied with  other  work, not  much  information  could  be
collected concerning these Lawā and what was gathered must   be  ac-
cepted   with  some  reserve. One  cannot  expect  these, or  any   other
people, to unbosom themselves at once to an utter stranger.

          There   are   seven  Lawā  villages  on  the  Baw  Lūang  Plateau,
which lies westward of Mûang Hawt  on  the  watershed  between  the
Mê Ping and the Salween. Of these seven  villages  Baw  Lūang,  with
about 80 houses,is the largest; another fairly large village is Baw Salī.
This undulating plateau lies at  an  altitude  of  1000   to  1100  metres
above sea level ; much of it has been cleared by the Karen and  Lawā
but there still  remain  tracts  of  the original  forest, composed  chiefly
of oaks and pines. The nights  are  always  cool  on  the  plateau  and
in   December, January and  February  may   be  extremely  cold, hoar
frosts sometimes occurring. I myself  woke  up  one  morning, on  my
first   visit   to   the  plateau  some  twenty  years  ago, to  find  my  tent
frozen hard and the surrounding grass white with rime.

          Besides these seven villages there are other Lawā   villages in
the   surrounding   districts. In   the  district  of  Chāng  Kāng (ช่างเคิ่ง),
to the Northwest of Mûang Hawt,  there  are  five  Lawā  villages, their
names being : Bān Haw, Bān Kawng, Bān Kawknoi (three headmen),
Bān   Pêkao   (two   headmen)  and    Bān  Pêmai. In  the Mê Sarieng
(แม่เสรียง) district   to   the   West   there  are more   villages  but   how
many I was not able  to  ascertain,the  Baw Lūang  villagers   thought
these western people very wild indeed as they had no temples.In the
district     of    Chawm   Tawng   (จอมทอง),  to     the   Northeast,  most
of       the     inhabitants,   as     I      was    informed    by    the    District
Officer, are   of     Lawā    descent    but     they    have   now   taken  up
Lāo    customs   and    assimilated   themselves  with   Lāos to  such
an extent that it  is  difficult   to  distinguish   the   two  races.  Away  to
the S. S. E., nearly 100 kilometres as the crow flies from  Baw Lūang,
is Kêng Soi on the top of the  cliffs to  the  East   of  which,  according
to the legends of the Lao boatmen, Mûang Soi  stood. The  conspicu-

 

 

 

 

 

                                                         ( 137 )

 

ous ruins which  Major  Gerini says  are  still  left  of  the  Lawâ  capital
are no longer to be  seen, at least on the  reputed  site  of  Mûang  Soi.
In  1867  the  late  Dr. McGilvary,  as  he  relates  in   his  book "A   Half
Century among  the  Siamese   and   the Lao," climbed   to  the  top  of
these cliffs but could find no evidence  of  any   human  settlement. On
the  smaller  hills  of   the  west bank and at the foot  of   the  cliff on the
east  bank  there are, however, prachedis in various  states  of  preser-
vation; some of these are known to be quite modern but    others  may
be old.The oldest seems to be one on the east  bank, now completely
covered with vegetation and not  visible  from  the  river. This   may   be
the   Lawā   temple   mentioned    by   McCarthy  in  his "Surveying  and
Exploring in Siam."

          The villages  on  the  Baw  Lūang  Plateau  are  still  distinctively
Lawā but, no doubt, they are  slowly  approximating  to   the  Lāo   type.
Though  Lawā  villages  are often within a few  miles  of   those of  the
Karens the two races do not seem  to mix  in  the  slightest degree, in
fact  some  Karen  carriers  we  had  were  very  unwilling   to  enter  a
Lawā village. Though a certain amount of trading  goes  on   between
these   two   peoples   there  is  no  social  intercourse. With the Lāos,
however, it is different as every now and  then a Lāo marries  a  Lawā
girl  and  settles   in  her  village. The  people  of  Baw  Lūang   indeed
call  themselves Lawā Nam Pā (ละว้าน้ำผ่า) or half-bred   Lawās. Here
it may be mentioned that  the  word these  Lawā  use  in  speaking  of
themselves  sounds more like  Luwā  than  Lawā. The  inhabitants of
this group of villages have adopted Buddhism and the larger  villages
have wats, though often without priests.

          In physical appearance the Lawās of  Baw  Lūang  are  conside-
rably  darker  than  the Lāo  and  perhaps  a  little  smaller. There  are
no marked differences in facial features. The  men  dress  exactly  as
the Lāos. The women wear  a  kind  of  loose  jumper, like  that  worn
by a Karen married woman, and a Lāo sin ; most of them have  silver
bracelets. The hair of the  men  is  cut  short  while  the  women  keep
theirs long, doing it up in a knot  at  the  back  of  the  head  and  wear-
ing a kind of loose turban round it. The  men  tattoo  on  the  hips and
thighs in the same way as the Lāos.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                           ( 138 )

 

          The Lawā  houses  are  substantially   built   of  wood, mai   têng-
rang being used for the posts and lower parts of the house while pine
planks are used above. Each   house   has  a   well  fenced  garden in
which is grown a varied assortment  of  vegetables  and   fruit trees. In
short, these  villages  have a  decidedly  prosperous appearance  and
contrast  strikingly  with  the  miserable  villages  of  their  Karen  neigh-
bours.

           The  chief cultivation  is rice and  it  is  grown  in   fields  situated
in   the   small  valleys  of  the  plateau, sometimes  at  a  little distance
from   the   villages   which   are  always, apparently, on the ridges. The
grain  is  not sown  directly  in  the  fields  but  in  clearings  on  the  hill
side, whence  it  is  transplanted  to  the  fields  when  of sufficient size.
Here we seem  to  have a transition stage between rai  (clearing)  and
nā (field) cultivation. 

           Equally    important    with   rice   cultivation   is  the  smelting  of
iron ore. This ore is brought   from   diggings  or 'wells'  at   a  conside-
rable distance from  the  village  and  is  smelted   in  small   furnaces,
bamboo    bellows   supplying    the  draught.  The  iron  is   principally
wrought   into  spades, knives   and  chains. At   the  time  of  my   visit,
early in July, the people were busy  in  their rice  fields  and  no  smelt-
ing was going on. A  smaller  industry   is  the  breeding  of   buffaloes,
pigs and cattle which are sold to Lāos who come  up   from  the  plain,
often bringing  cloth  to  sell  in  exchange. The  silver  bracelets  worn
by  the women are made locally but  are  not  sold. No cloth  is  woven
at  these villages, which may account  for  the  hybrid  costume  of  the
women. At   other  Lawā   villages,  however,  where  there  is  no  iron
smelting, the women  weave  cloth;  the  iron  smelting   seems  to  be
confined to the Baw Lūang group of villages.

            In  the  few hours spent  at   these  villages  very  little  could   be
found out concerning the Lawā customs and  such customs   as   they
described   were  mostly   derived   from   the  Lāos. Evidently  they  are
far   prouder   of  an  adopted  Lāo  custom  than  of  one   of  their  own.
A   wife   is   usually   bought, the   price  given  by   my  informant  as  a
average one was 55 rupees,which  seems unusually  high  compared

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        (139)

 

with other  jungle  tribes  and  indicates  the  prosperity  of  the Lawà.
The wife goes to live at the husband's house, two or three days later
a   feast   is   held. Polygamy   and   divorce   are  u nknown.  If  either
husband  or  wife  die  the  other  party  is  at   liberty  to  marry  again.
Burial is confined to children and those who die suddenly,others are
cremated. After cremation the ashes and  bones  are  taken  up  and
buried   in   a   graveyard  in  the  forest  at  some  distance  from   the
village, there   bodies   are   also   buried. A  long  stake  of  mai   hak
(ไม้ฮัก) is  driven  through  the  ground  down  to  the  ashes  or   body.
It is not clear  whether  this  mai  hak (Siamese  mai  rak) is  the  tree,
Melanorrhoea usitata, which  goes  under  under  the  name   of   hak
among the Lāo, or whether the expression simply mean  a  stake   to
denote affection for the deceased. The  body  is  burnt  or  buried    at
once after death.

 

          The language sounds   very  different  from  that  of any   of  the
surrounding races but Nai Noê Isarangura who was with me at   the
time and who had been brought up   us a child  among  the  Mon, at
once   remarked  that   it   reminded   him  of   Mon.  The   words   for
religious ceremonies and customs borrowed from the Lāo  are Lāo.
To take an instance:the ordinary expression for the whole  marriage
ceremony   in   Lao  is   kin   kek    (กินแขก), derived   from   the  feast
which is given on these occasions, the Lawâs use the same expression
for the feast given some  days after the marriage  but  for  the  actual
marriage   they   have   a  word  of  their  own. The  names  of   many
cultivated plants are the same as, or merely corruptions of, those used
by the Lāo and no  doubt  such  plants  were  obtained   through  the
agency of the Lāos. On the other hand most indigenous trees seem
to have pure Lawā names, though there are  exceptions  to   this  as
where the Lawās  use  names  like  yom  hin (ยมหิน) and  bahok   fā
(บ่าฮกฟ้า)   which    seem   to   be   genuine   Lāo    words.   In   some
cases   where   the   names  are  similar  it  is  not  unlikely  find  that
that   the   Laos   have   borrowed   them  from   the  Lawā. In  agricul-
ture   we  words  used  in  the  cultivation  of   fields, such  as  plough
(ไถ)   and   harrow  (เฝือ), are   derived   from   the   Lāo, while   words
relating to forest clearings, undoubtedly  the  older  method   of   culti-

 

 

 

 

                                                           (140)

 

vation, are purely  Lawā, for  example  the  word  for   forest   clearing
itself and the word for hatchet.

          These   villagers   have  very  little  knowledge  of   their   history
and denied that there were, any legends handed  down   concerning
their   origin.  All   that  I  could  get  out  of  them  was  that  they   had
always been in the same villages and  that  once  upon  a  time  they
had a king named Kun Lāang Wilangka (คุณหลวงวิลังคะ)

          I   will   conclude   these   notes   with  the   distinctive character-
istics   of   the  Lawā  as  given  me  by  the  District Officer  of  Chāng
Kông, an official who knows these people  well  and  to  whom  I  am
indebted for the  names  given  above  of   the  Lawā  villages  of   his
district:—The Lawā differ from the  Lāo  in  being  dirtier, they  do  not
comb their hair or  wash  their  clothes. The  women  wear  their sins
shorter   than   the   Lāos.  They   eat   dogs. They   are   very  dark   in
colour. Finally,  they  are  not  hospitable ; in  a  Karen  or  Lāo  village
food is always offered to the visitor but not so in a Lawā village.

 

                                The Chāobon to the South of Kōrāt.

          Major Seidenfaden has given a very interesting account  of  the
Chāobon  in   Vol.  XII, Part  3, and  Vol.  XIII, Part  3,  of   this  Journal.
The following are a few supplementary notes  gatheredon  a  recent
brief   visit   to  one  of   their  villages,  Bōn   Chōt   (บ้านโจด),  in   the
southwest corner of the Kratōk district.

          As Major Seidenfaden states, these people are rapidly  becom-
ing assimilated  with  their  Siamese  neighbours, intermarrying  with
them and adopting their language and customs, so it is  worth  while
recording   any   fragments   of   information  about   them. Bān  Chōt
consists of six or seven houses only and  is  fairly  typical  of  the  sur-
rounding Siamese villages.

          The people of Bān Chōt are well  up to  the  average  height   of
their  neighbours  and  are  not  noticeably  darker, but  the  probable

admixture of foreign blood and  the  smallness  of  the numbers con-
cerned forbids the drawing of any conclusions from these facts.They

 

 

 

 

 

                                                          (141)

 

clothe themselves, both men and women, as the Siamese do,in fact it
would not be  possible  to  detect  them  as  a distinct  race  from  their
appearance alone.

          In   many   of   their   houses   they   even   talk   Siamese  among
themselves. One  man,  however,  was  met   with, Nāi  Pim, about  56
years  of  age, whose  father  and  mother  were  Chāobons, who  was
married to a Chāobon and who spoke only Chāobon in his own house.
Nāi Pim stated  that  the  Chāobon   knew   very    little  of  their  history,
his parents had  told him that long ago the  Chāobon  were  settled  in
permanent   villages  near  Wieng Chan but in the time  of  Lūang  Anu
they  were  so   harried by robbers that  they  had  to   flee  and  take  to
the  forests to the South  of   Kōrāt. They  remained  in   the  forests  for
many     generations,   sewing     their     grain    in     forest     clearings,
which   were   changed   from    year    to   year   in  the  usual   manner
of      such      cultivators.  Some    three    or    four     generations    ago
the    then   officials  of  that  district,  promising  them  their  protection,
persuaded   the  Chāobon to  leave  the  forest  and  settle  in  villages,
where  they  have  remained  ever since. For many years the Chāobon
paid  tax   in  the form of lacquer  from  the  rak  tree  but  now they  pay
the  ordinary  poll-tax. Apart   from  the   ordinary  means  of   livelihood
their only industry seems to be the weaving of rattan mats.

          The  remains  of old forest  clearings, some  of  them  very  exten-
sive, can  still  be seen in the wide stretching evergreen  forests  south
of  Ban  Chōt, while mango, jack and lime trees mark  the site  of  their
former settlements.

          One    surprising   statement   made   by  Nāi  Pim  was  that   the
Chāobon   were  Lawā ; on asking him how  he  knew  this  he  replied
that  the 'Chao Nāi' had  told  him  so. This  indicates  how  careful  one
must be not to  make suggestions to these people.Perhaps in another
generation or  so  the  Chāobon, if   they  then  maintain  any   separate
existence, will  definitely assert   that   they  are Lawā, having  forgotten
by that time that it  was  the  'Chao  Nāi'   who   told  them.  so. Nāi  Pim
also gave some account of the customs of the Chāobon, but  such  as

he related were evidently adopted from the Siamese and are  too  well
known to need repeating.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                            (142)

 

 

                               The Kā Tawng Lûang (ข่าตองเหลือง)

 

          In    Volume    XIII,  part    S (pp. 49-51), of    this    Journal    Major
Seidenfaden gives some information, gathered from hunters, about a
jungle tribe known  as  Khā  Dong  Lûang  living  on  Pu  Kio, a  moun-
tain between Pak Bang and Petchabun.

          The  writer  of   the   present   note   had   often  heard   of   the  Pi
Tawng  Lûang, or  Kā  Tawng  Luang, in   the  Northern  Circles but, till
recently, had never met  anyone  who  had   actually   seen  them. Last
March when in the province of Lôi, Udawn  Circle, he  camped  at  Ban
Sîtân, a   village  which  had  been  visited  by   the   Kā  Tawng  Lûang,
and  was  able  to  get  some  account  of them from the villagers. The
greater  part  of   the   information  was g iven by one person, an excep-
tionally intelligent man, but  what  he said was  corroborated  by  other
villagers. It may  be  worth  while  putting   this  account  on   record  as
it confirms  Major  Seidenfaden's  notes  in  some  particulars,  though
differing in others. Also it   is  hoped that  it  will  stimulate   those  who
may have come into more intimate contact with these  strange  people
to give their experiences.

          The   village   of   Sïtān   lies  at  the  foot  of  a  large  sandstone
mountain, Pū     Kading    (ภูกะดิง),  the    top    of    which    is    a   pine
plateau, some 6 or 7 kilometres long by 2 broad, at a height of  about
1*200 metres, on the boundary between Mûang Lôi and Mûang  Lom.
The   informant   stated   that   the  Kâ  Tawng  Lûang  were   living  for
some years on Pū Kading  where  their  leaf  shelters  were  often  en-
countered, though the people themselves were not seen, nor were re-
mains of cooking  fires  noticed. Some  ten  years  ago  a  party  of  30
men  belonging  to  this tribe suddenly appeared at Bān Sītān.  These
men  were  naked  with  the  exception  of a flap of cloth hanging  over
the   privates   in   front   and   a   similar   one    behind. Two  or   three
of   them   could   speak   a   few  words  of  Lao. They  carried  spears
but no other weapons, these spears had a blade about two  spans in
length by three fingers in breadth, the handle  was  a  wa  or  more  in

length ; they were used both for thrusting and  throwing  and   by  their
means they could kill such large and dangerous game as kating. The

 

 

 

 

 

                                                        (143)

 

Kā   Tawng  Lûang  brought  honey  with  them  and  this  they  were
anxious to exchange for maize, rice they refused. They also  wanted
to know where there was another high mountain as they  wished  to
leave Pū Kading ; they  were  recommended to try Pū Lūang, a large
mountain some days journey off to  the  Northwest, towards  Dānsai.
On being asked where they would  go  on  leaving   Pū   Lūang   they
stated  they  would have to  go  and  see  their  'Nai'  who  lived  near
Lūang  Prabāng. Asked  where their women were  they  replied  that
the women  were ashamed to come to  the  village  as  they  had  no
clothes. They  said  they had no children as  babies when born were
left for the tigers to eat.

          The informant stated these  men  were  about  the  size  of   an
average Lao villager but they were very black,their backs  were  bent,
a great deal of the white of  their  eye  was  showing  and   their  hair
was curly.

          While   much  of   the  above  account   was  obtained  by  cross
examining the  informant  at  the same time care was  taken  to avoid
putting  leading questions. It  must  be remembered  that  the  inform-
ant was speaking of events that had happened some ten years previ-
ously  and  may  not  have  remembered all  he saw  and  heard  very
accurately : for  instance it  seems unlikely that  the flaps worn by  the
men  were of cloth, though  the fact  that two  or  three  of  them  could
speak  some Lāo  shows  that they must have had considerable inter-
course   with   Lāos, or  a  Lâo, at  some  previous  time. Possibly  the
language was learnt from some one who found it convenient  to  hide
in   the  mountains  for  a  time. In  this  connection  it  is  strange  that
they should not have learnt the use of a fire from the same source as
they learnt  their  Lao. The  fact  that  they  asked   for  maize   and  did
not want rice is interesting  for  maize   is  more  palatable  uncooked
than rice, particularly in  the  way it is stored by  the  Lāo,  wrapped  in
its    own    leaves. The   story  about   their  children  may  have  been
prompted by  the fear  of  having  them seized  as  slaves. Soon  after
making this  visit the Kā Tawng Lûang disappeared from  Pū  Kading.

          One  of  the   most  interesting  differences  between  the  above
narrative  and  that  of Major Seidenfaden  is  the  appearance  of   the
hair, which  Major  Seidenfaden's informants stated was straight. The

 

 

 

 

 

                                                   (144)

 

question of the hair is  naturally  a  very  important   one  from  an  eth-
nological point of  view. If   the  Kā  Tawng   Lûang   really   have  curly
hair they are probably of the same stock as the Semang of the  Malay
Peninsula, a people whom they resemble in their mode of  life. Later
on the writer  met  another  man, not  from  the  village  of   Sītān  and
whose information was probably second hand, who said that the Kā
Tawng Lûang had straight hair, he also stated   they  often  killed  ele-
phants with poisoned  spears  and  brought  the  tusks  down  to  the
villages.

          All   the   informants   agreed   that  the  Kā   Tawng Lûang were
much more plentiful to  the  East  of  the  Mê  Kōng. It  is  quite  possi-
ble they are well known there, perhaps under some other name.

 

                   Note on some Rock Paintings in Eastern Siam.

 

          When   the   writer   of   this   note   was   recently   travelling   in
Eastern   Siam   he  had  occasion  to  visit  a  sandstone  hill  called
Kao  Chawm  Nâng  (เขาจอมนาง), some  three  or  four  kilometres to
the   West  of  the  Mê  Kōng  in  the  district  of  Mukdāhān  (มุขดาหาร),
Nakawn Panom Province.

          On reaching a height of about 300 metres the guide suggested
a  visit  to  Red  Hand  Cliff  (ผามือแดง)  which, he  said, was  close  by.
He  led  the  way  to  the top of a precipice down which a descent was
made  by  the  aid  of  the  roots  of  a  large  fig tree. Before arriving at
the  foot  a  cleft  in   the   rock,  forming   a   long   cave, was   reached.
This cave, which  ran  in  for  a  distance of  some twenty metres, was
entered,  but,   with   matches   as   the only illuminant, very little could
be  seen  in  the dark interior ; all the other senses, however, testified
to   the   presence  of  bats. Coming  out  of  the  cave  the  rest  of  the
descent  was  made  by  a  short  slope  leading   to   the  foot   of   the
precipice which is some 10 to 42 metres high and  overhangs  above.

          On  this  cliff  are  several  representations of hands and human
figures. Towards  the  western  end, within  a  couple  of metres of the

ground, there  is  a  large  irregular  red  stain  on the rock and on this
stain there are two clearly marked darker  red  hands  in  a  horizontal.

 

 

 

 

 

ethnologic

 

 

 

 

 

                                                      (145)

 

line, a third  hand  in  the  same  line  is  just  perceptible. Below  this
row of red hands is a row  of  four  gray  hands, showing  the  natural
colour  of  the  gray  rock  with  the  red  stain  as  background. Just to
the East of this stain, and at about the same level, is a human  figure
(Fig. 1) in  red  monochrome. This  figure  is  33 cm. high  and 18 cm.
in   breadth   at   its  widest part, i.e.. from hand to hand. Close to  this
is another figure (Fig. 2) about 30 cm. high, also in red  monochrome,
as  indeed  are  all   the  figures  and  hands  with the exception of the
gray   hands   noted   above. This    latter   figure, it   will    be    noticed,
has what appears to be some kind  of  head-dress. Unfortunately  the
anterior portion of  the  head  is  partially  obliterated, as  are  the  feet
and one of the hands. The  attitude  is  reminiscent  of  a  well  known
dance. A little  further  to  the East  are  four  more  figures, something
like Fig. 1 but  with  straight  arms  and  legs. Three of  these are high
up  on  the  cliff, some  five  metres  above ground level. Further still to
the East, about  fifty  metres  beyond  the  last   figures, is another row
of three, rather indistinct, red  hands. All  the  hands  have the thumbs
to the left, as  if  the  right  hand  had  been  placed with its palm to the
face of the rock, its   outline   traced  and  then  filled  in  with red, or, in
the case of the gray hands, the hand left blank while  the  background
was stained. The  writer's  hand  when  placed  thus  on the rock fitted
these hands remarkably  well. There  are  some  other  red  markings
on the cliff but they are  too  indistinct  to  allow  of  any  definite  shape
being made out.

 

          The guide, a local  villager, said  there  was  no  legend  concern-
ing these paintings; all the people knew  was  what  their  fathers  and
mothers  had  told  them, that  the  paintings  had  always  been   there
and   that   the   cliff   was  a  good  place  to  shelter  from  rain.  These
figures were not, apparently, held in any reverence.

 

         Some  way  further  up   the  hill, beneath   a   small   overhanging
rock, there is an impression in the sandstone strongly resembling the
human  eye. This  eye  appears  to  haye  been cut  into  the  rock  to  a

depth  of  about  0.5  cm., its  length  being 17 cm. It  is  possible,  how-
ever, that this is a natural marking.

 

 

 

 

 

                                                           (146)

 

          No attempt  was  made to  disturb  the  earth   at  the  foot  of  the
cliff, or  in  the  cave, as  it was hoped that some day  a  properly equip-
ped  expedition  might  take  up  this  investigation. There  are  on  this
hill a number of other rock shelters which might be worth exploring.

          Nothing  can  be  said  at  present  about  the  age  of   the  paint-
ings. It  is  not  improbable  that   prehistoric  man  found  a   home  in
these hills of  the Mê  Kōng  valley  and  it  may  be  that  the  paintings
are a  relic  of  his  presence  there,  but,  pending  further  information,
this must not be regarded as anything more than a suggestion.

          Other  rock  paintings  have  been  recorded  for  the  Far East. In
'Man' for last December Dr. Mersh  Strong  describes  some paintings
on    a    rock   in   Papua, British  New  Guinea, These   paintings   are
also  in  red  monochrome  and  include a man, a cassowary, various
fantastic designs and one figure of  a  man's  hand. Dr. Strong  states
that similar paintings have  been recorded  from  other  parts  of  New
Guinea and from the Marshall — Bennet Islands. To come still nearer
home: Professor Cœdès drew the writer's  attention  to  a  description
of  some  paintings in Commt. L.de  Lajonquière's "Essai d'Inventaire
Archéologique du Siam" (Bulletin de  la  Commission  Archéologique
de l'Indochine. 1912). These paintings were found on undercut  rocks
at  three  different  places  in  the  bay of  Panga, Puket Circle. Various
animals   are  represented, some in  outline  only,  others  completely
filled   in   in   monochrome, either  in  red  or  brown.  There  are  also
geometrical designs; no hands, however, are  mentioned.Commt  de
Lajonquière thinks  these  paintings  have  no  particular  significance
and may be the work of some idle fisherman, though the local people
assert they are very ancient and  appeared  on  the rocks  at  the  com-
mand of a demon.

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