The Lawa in Northern Siam (1) พิมพ์ อีเมล
เขียนโดย E. W. Hutchinson   



HUTCHINSON,E.W. THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM. JSS. VOL.27 (pt.2) 1935. p. 153-182.








                                                 E. W. Hutchinson (2)*

In November 1932 Major Seidenfaden came up to Chiengmai on a
few weeks holiday, and we decided to  devote  the  major  part of  it  to
visiting    the  Lawn  iron  mines  some  hundred  miles  southwest  of

Our object was to collect as much information as was possible in a
short time concerning the  Lawa, in  the  hope  that  our  investigations
would provide a basis for a closer and more extensive study  of  these
people later on for those with more time at their disposal.

We decided to devote our main attention to compiling a list of
Lawa words on the lines of  the Siam Society's questionnaire. At
the same time we hoped to learn something of Lawa religion, habits
and industries. Lastly we carried calipers with which to take cra-
nial measurements, if practicable.

The first stage of the journey is 35 miles along  the  fire  metalled
road to Chôm Tông. This we covered in less than  two  hours. Then
came an hour's tramp across padi-fields to the Me Ping river below
Fai Huey Ling—a weir which interferes with boat traffic above
Chôm Tông.

We found our party waiting for as in the boat: we embarked
without delay and arrived at Muang Hôt next morning. Here we


(1) Transliteration of Siamese words in the text : Consonants:—The aspi-
rate is shown by apostrophe after the consonants t and p, e. g t'ai  instead
of thai, p'ai instead of phai. The English value of consonants is   preserved.
Vowels:—The Italian value is given to simple  vowels. A  circumflex  accent
over o represents the อ sound.

(2) Amplified with two appendices on the geographical distribution of the
Lawa and their ancient history by E. Seidenfaden,









154                                   E. W. Hutchinson                            [ VOL. XXVII


spent the rest of  that  clay  arranging  for  carriers. The  Nai  Amp'œ
had been notified by the Governor of Chiengmai concerning our trip.
One of his assistants, the Palat Sai, Nai  Sri  Mun, was  deputed  to
look after us while at the same time he attended to official business
in the Lawa country.

The next day we set out for Bô Luang, following the  track  over
which in former days lay the direct route from Chiengmai to Moul-
mein,  via   Me   Sarieng   and   Papun.  During  the  vIIIth  century,
when Chiengmai was subject to the Kings of Burma, traffic was pro-
bably considerable, and Muang Hôt a place of importance.

At Muang Hôt we explored the ruins of a large  temple  on  the
northern side of the village. The Chedi known as Prachedi Sung—
is still extant, to bear witness, together with nearly one  hundred
other ruins in this neighbourhood, to the vanished glories of Muang Hot
as an outpost of Chiengmai on the Burma road.

Two miles below Muang Hot the track leaves the river-bank  at
Ban Wang Luang and follows the course of a stream—the Me Pa
P'ai—in a westerly direction to the foot of the  hills. It  then  climbs
steeply up to a plateau of rolling country about 3500 ft above  sea
level, which is reached at k. m. post 21 above Muang Hot.

Between k. m. posts 21 and 34 the track is  broad  and  easy. The
forest growth becomes thinner, and pine trees appear in  increasing
numbers towards the highest point on the road from which there are
fine views of the hills in the Me Ping valley a nd  of  the  western
slopes of Doi Angka. After passing k. m. post 34 the track  des-
cends slightly and opens out into the fields of Bô Luang.

In the Lawa language Bô (pronounced like the Lao word for a well
or mine) means village. Bô Luang is the largest of five villages con-
nected by narrow padi fields lying in the shallow valleys on the plateau.

The other four villages are Bô Sa'ngae, Bo Pāk Wen, Bô  Wang
Kông and Bô Nā Fon, the latter between 3 or 4 miles distant from
Bô Luang, and itself subdivided into two villages.

The population is almost entirely Lawa, and numbers about 350
souls. Ten to twelve miles further west on the way  to  Me  Sa'rieng
there is a second group of villages, Bô Sali and Bô Kông Loi   com-
prising about 100 houses, but the population is mixed  Lao  and  Lawa.

There are no habitations anywhere near the iron-mines, which are
distant two  days  journey over  rough  country i n  a  north-westerly
direction. Beyond them, and in the same direction, but situated on
a tributary of the  Me  Yuam  is  the  Lawa  strong-hold  of  Um  Pai,















PT. II]                       THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                     155


where the inhabitants are said to be ignorant of Buddhism and the
Lao language and to preserve their customs such as eating dogs and
drinking the water in which they wash their clothes. The men  wear
short sleeved white homespun coats and short white trousers, the
women leggings.(1)

Bô Luang appeared the easiest centre in which to conduct preli-
minary  investigations, since  our  time  was  limited. We  therefore
took up our quarters in the Wihān of a Buddhist temple.

Nai Sri Mun, the Amp'œ's assistant, camped  in  the  Monk's   house
nearby, and we had his assistance, whenever  we  needed  it,  through-
out   our   stay   at   Bô   Luang. The   novice   of   the  temple, (a  nen  of
about thirteen years of age) a Lao, Nân La, husband of a Lawa women,
and the village headmen all rendered assistance to us on  the  prompt-
ing of the Amp'oœ's assistant. In the company of one or other of   these
people we  spent half of  each  day  in  compiling  a  vocabulary  for  the

The   remaining  hours  were  devoted  to e xploring  the  village  and
neighbourhood, making enquiries concerning the beliefs and habits of
the people, taking photographs and measurements of 51  men  and  6
women, and writing up our notes.

The  following  notes  were  made  during  our  walks  through  the


Bô Luang consists of several lines of houses in  ascending  order
across the south face of a hummock on the western crest of which is
a small Buddhist temple: on the lower  Eastern  crest  is  a  grove  of
heavy trees with a spirit-shrine.


                                          Dwelling Houses.

Houses in the topmost line just under the crest face southwards,
but those in all the lower lines face  north. The  houses  are  4  ft  or
more above ground-level and cattle are stalled  underneath. Before
building on the site selected, the Lawa bury  in  the  ground  for  one
night a box containing sand and some grains of rice which must be
more numerous than the future inmates, allowing an extra grain for
the    genius  loci. Four  sticks  garlanded  with  flowers  are  set  up
around the box to represent the future house-posts.


(1)From a photograph by Dr. Hugh McCormick Smith.








156                                       E. W. Hutchinson                          [ VOL. XXVII


Each house has an open front veranda, but no separate  kitchen.
The hearth is in the main room, and is used for cooking as well  as
to warm the occupants, who sleep  with  their  feet  to  it. The  result
is that the interior of every house is begrimed with smoke and soot.

Many houses consist of a single room, but where married  sons
inhabit the house with their parents there are sometimes  cubicles
screened off for them at the back of the main room.

The majority of the houses have walls and floor of sawn timber ;
plaited bamboo takes the place of wood in the remaining cases, which
are the smaller and poorer dwellings The houses are roofed  with
thatch-grass: the gable ends are ornamented with the cross-set horns
called by the Lao klæ.

The roof slope is very steep, and its sides are  extended  to  within
a few feet of the ground, providing storage room for firewood.

Grain is not stored in the house but is generally kept in a separate

Padi is pounded into rice by hand in a moveable mortar made by
hollowing out a segment of a tree stem. The pestle resembles  two
Indian clubs joined at their thin end, and is wielded  by  the  women
of the village.

Small untidy gardens planted with tobacco, Indian corn and fruit
trees surround most of the houses, but the general impression  of
drabness is relieved by banks of sunflowers which grow in great pro-
fusion, particularly near the temple. They are a  recent  importation
which have seeded themselves from a few plants brought up from
the Me Ping valley some years ago.

Household utensils are few in number. We noticed clay cooking-
pots and vessels for storing water (made at Sa-ngæ), also wooden
spoons and tobacco pipes. Hollow bamboos for carrying water are
being replaced more and more by zinc buckets, and flints by matches
bought in Muang Hôt.

Small shouldered celts (axes) of soft stone have been found by
Lawa who are ignorant of their origin.

The most striking defect in these villages is the absence of  wells
and running water.The situation is near the source of  watercourses
draining into the right bank  of  Me  Chem ; but,  being on  a  plateau
with no high ground above it to give a  graded  descent  for  water, it
is deprived of the advantage of running water. Rain water collects in
pools in the shallow depressions which  would  normally  be  water-
courses, but which are here utilised for Paddy fields. There are only














PT. II]                             THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                    157


two springs, one on the south-east side of the settlement at the edge
of the fields, and the other considerably lower down  at  the  north
side. There are no privately owned wells, as in a Lao  village, and
water has to be carried to each house by its owners. The result is
that young children go unwashed until they are old enough  to  go
down to the Springs in person—a condition which no T'ai community
would tolerate.

The Buddhist temple on the other hand is of the conventional
pattern   in  Bô  Luang,  with  both  Bôt  and  Wihān  of  plastered
brick, and ornamental gable faces. At Bô Sa'ngse the  Wihān  is
of wood, resting on piles—more suggestive of a spirit shrine with its
boxed up appearance than of a Buddhist edifice. It is however off
the main track. Bô Luang Temple is the one seen by most passers
by, many of whom spend the night in a tumble-down Rest House
outside the Temple fence. Its appearance, (apart from the absence
of temple staff, which here consists  of  one P'ra  and  one  Nen—
likewise absence of the usual, village school for small boys), suggests
nothing which would lead a visitor to  suspect  any  difference  between
the  religious  beliefs  of  Lawa  and  Lao. Being  camped  in  the
Wihān, with Nai Sri Mun beside us in the Monk's House, we had
the constant presence of these young Monks to answer our questions,
but we checked and supplemented all their information with Noi La,
the Lao who has a Lawa wife, and with  the  P'u  Yai  Bān,  Khun
Khao Mūn.


                     Religious Beliefs and Daily Life of the Lawa.

Our enquiries led us to the conclusion that in north Siam Buddhism
exercises a deeper influence upon the life and thought of the Lao
than of the Lawa, although it has never displaced the Lao's belief in
spirits—P'i, which include both ghosts, and embodiments of the
powers in Nature.

Near the entrance of many Lao houses is a small shelf or table for
the reception of offerings to P'i. The Lawa tie flowers to the top of
the house-stairs or to the houseposts and mumble prayers to the P'i,
who is the disembodied spirit of some ancestor.

We learnt  that  there  are  three principal P'i(1) invoked by  the
Lawa :


(1) The word p'i is transcribed with the low consonant, to represent the
actual pronunciation in Lawa, which does not use the rising tone.






158                             E. W. Hutchinson [ VOL. XXVII


the House Spirit - P'i Huan ;

the Field or Local Spirit - P'i Ti ;

the Mines Spirit - P'i Rce (pronounced hæ)

All three are regarded as the disembodied spirits of ancient Lawa
Heroes. The presiding P'i at the spirit-grove is the spirit of a Lawa,
P'ya In, who died in Burma long ago,  and  returned  to  haunt  this

We learnt that the P'i especially venerated at the Mines are those
of five heroes', named :—

Khun Ta'

Khun Tōng

Khun Luang Wi Lang Ka
Khun Kio Na Lông
Lām Chông Wong Pāk Wen

A P'i to whom offerings are brought at New Year is P'i Mang
—another disembodied ancestor.

P'i P'et and P'i Lôk were also mentioned as disembodied spirits.
The only non-ancestral spirits of whom we heard were P'i Kien and


The use of Siamese names for the Spirits venerated by the Lawa calls for
comment. The names given in the text are the only ones supplied to us by
our Lao-speaking Lawa informants, and there is good reason   to  believe
that they really are the actual names now used by the Lawa, for their Spirits,
and not given to us to conceal the Lawa names.

We obtained a transcription in Lao characters and again in Siamese of
the actual Lawa text of the Invocations, of which English translations are
given.  The   Lawa  text  begins  with  the  Lawa  invocation  A-ha,  A-ha,
followed by the words chao t'i p'i raksa and then the Lawa word for fields,

and the rest in Lawa, with the exception of  the  numerals  scen, lan  for
which no Lawa equivalents exist

It may be that the T'ai language in the ears of the  Lawa.  lias  the  same
effect as Pali in the ears of a  Siamese,  and  is  deliberately  used  for  the
nomenclature of sujierior beings. In the section concerning the language of
the Lawa, the fact has been noted that the Lawa both of Bô Luang and  of
Pang Chô use  certain  T'ai  words, where  Lawa  words  are  either  non-
existant  or  obsolete, through  not  simultaneously. In  the  case   of  these
small Lawa communities living among T'ai speaking people, it  is  natural   if
not inevitable that they should tend to absorb T'ai words into their language,
both from laziness and for reasons of utility.

The name of their chief village Bô Luang is   a  blend  of  Lawa  and  T'ai.
B'ô is the Lawa equivalent for  ban ;  luang  may w ell  have  been  applied
by their Lao neighbours to designate the chief one among a group of Bô, or
villages. In fact, where the name of a Lawa village is not completely  Lawa
but partially or wholly T'ai, the presumption is that the Lawa  have  adopted
the name given to it by their neighbours,









PT. II]                         THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                     159


P'i Koi, forest powers inimical to wayfarers. Thus our general im-
pression was that reverence for the distinguished dead would appear
to be the root of the religious belief of the Lawa, who at the same
time reverences the force of natural phenomenon or "genius loci".
The great spirit grove on the North-East crest of Bô Luang ridge is
the joint property of the inhabitants of Bān Nā Fon and Ban Sa'ngæ.
In a clearing among heavy Banyan trees are three ramshackle sheds
on piles, with connecting galleries, unroofed. Access is through an
opening in a dilapidated surrounding fence facing a rough stairway.
At the head of the steps to the left is a rough shed with penthouse
roof, reserved for villagers assisting at the ceremony : facing it, a
gable-roofed shed, the home of the male spirit: beyond it, and facing
the steps, a second gable-roofed shed for the spirit of his daughter,
all three sheds opening onto a common rough platform.

Once  every  three  or  four  years  a red bull is sacrificed, and the
following year a black male pig, also a red cock and  hen. We  were
assured that to the eyes of the assistants a tiger  is  visible, waiting
to devour the remains of the sacrifice : the beast is only a source of
danger to the uninitiated : the assistants regard  it  as  a  watchdog,
and do not fear it.

At the iron mines a creamed-coloured bull is sacrificed in the 5th
month once every three years. The bull must be entire and of cream
colour, even to the  hairs  of  the  tail,  in  order  to  be  acceptable  to
the spirit.


                                       Superstitions and Magic.

Side by side with this reverence  for  the  Supernatural,  flourish
superstitions similar to those still surviving among Europeans,but
with the difference that among the latter they  are  little   more  than
conventions, while with the Lawa their observance is  a  matter  of

A few of these magic beliefs came to our notice even during the
few days of our visit.

The wrists of mast Lawa, as of the Khamü, are bound with string
and magic poles are common in the Fields.

For augury they count  the  number  of  rice-grains  from  a  handful
thrown on the ground in preference to consulting chicken-bones—An
even number of grains represents an affirmative answer to the  ques-
tion demanded of the oracle.






160                                        E. W. Hutchinson                      [ VOL. XXVII


There is no lack of wizards at Bô Luang. The elder people are all
conversant with the appropriate incantations, but no chief sorcerer
was discovered.


Hunting the Rhinoceros is strictly forbidden by the elders. This
is the only fact we observed which could be construed as evidence of
totemism. We were told that two of these animals visited the
district in 1931, but that any attempt to molest them would have
resulted in general disaster.



It is the House Spirit which is invoked at marriages. The
marriage of cousins is forbidden on account of the House Spirit. Nai
Sri Mun asserts that the preliminary to bethrothal is a consummation
of the union in the girl's house with the tacit consent of her parents.
The latter are informed of the fact on the following morning, and
betrothal is effected by the youth's parents paying Rs. 9 or Rs. 5 or
Rs. 3 according to their means, for purchase of sacrificial pigs or

Three or four days later the marriage ceremonies are enacted.
They begin in the bride's house, at the gate of which a red dog (sup-
plied by the bridegroom) is felled by a blow. The body of the dog
is split open, and a small portion of each of the vital organs is
extracted: portions of the dog's tail, tongue and paws are also cut
off, and are offered to the house spirit together with snippets of the
vitals, while an elder asks for a blessing.

The party then proceeds to the bridegroom's house, and offers can-
dles, incense and flowers outside it to the House Spirit. These offer-
ings are repeated at the foot of the stairway, and again before the
door of the cubicle reserved for the bridal pair.

At this moment, boys, related to the couple bring round liquor
which all the assembly drinks. A tray bearing an old silver piece—
a bullet coin—" Khāku" is placed in the midst. Liquor is sprinkled
both on the tray; the head of the stairs, the door, and fireplace;
after which, all those present take a sip : if anyone fails to drink, he
must pour out the liquor for the House Spirit. We were told that
this Spirit is present on the tray, and that it is believed to drink be-






PT. II]                       THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                        161


fore the congregation. The ceremony is followed by a feast.

The bridegroom occupies a cubicle with his wife in his parent's
house until such time as his younger brother is ready to take a wife.
He then builds his own house. He selects the site, but before build-
ing he tests its suitability by burying in the ground a grain of rice
for each of the intending occupants, together with one extra grain.
If all grains germinate, the house is built on that spot. An ox may
also be loosed in the jungle. This was formerly part of the marriage
ceremony, but is now optional, and no significance is attached to
failure by the animal to return home.

Monogamy is the invariable rule. The bride must be sought out-
side the family circle, even marriage of cousins is forbidden, as
stated above.


The marriage bond is regarded as equally binding upon husband
and wife. Should either party violate the bond, the offender is re-
quired by the village headman to indemnify the other with Rs. 72,
even if it means selling up the offender's property to procure the
money. The same fine is inflicted on a young man who refuses to
many a girl he has seduced. Young people appear to be allowed
considerable pre-marital intimacy but no actual intercourse. The
number of young unmarried women is striking.



If the father of a family dies, half the property goes to the widow,
and the other half is divided among her sons, while she takes up
residence with her youngest son. If there are no sons, the share
which would have been theirs goes to the dead man's relatives. If
the wife predeceases the husband, on his death all the property goes
to the sons. Daughters only inherit if there are no sons.



Death ceremonies are reported to resemble those of the Lao. The
corpse is kept for three nights : if death has been due to natural causes,
it is then burnt. A silk shroud is used, if there is money to procure
it, otherwise a cotton one. A coin is put into the mouth, but Noi La
was ignorant of the reason. The corpse is never carried down the






162                                   E. W. Hutchinson                       [ VOL. XXVII


stairway, but lifted over the veranda, following a precedent set by
the Hero, Luang Rang Ka. Buddhist priests attend the funeral.
Burial in the ground is reserved for those dying a violent death or
from epidemic disease.


                          Daily Life and Character of The Lawa.

We had no opportunity to observe the customs connected with

Very young children appear to lead much the same life as in Lao
villages; they are seen in their mother's arms, or crawling about the
veranda of the house, always filthily dirty. When they are able to
walk and carry, they are seen drawing water at the spring, and
herding buffaloes.

There was little evidence of idleness in the village, and even less
of games and distractions. We were told that, apart from hunting
the deer and wild cattle which abounds near Bô Luang, the sole
amusement of the Lawa is to play on a pipe made from the horn of
a buffalo, and to consume Liquor. Nai Sri Mun assured us that in
his official dealings with the Lawa he found them singularly free
from crime. Civil disputes are almost always settled by the village
headman, whose authority over his people is remarkable. The only
fault he had to complain of was a tendency to evade taxation. We
found that the Amp'œ's authority was more respected than that of his
assistant. Our visit co-incided with the harvest, when every able-
bodied person was engaged in work on the fields. On receiving Nai
Sri Mun's orders to assist us in every way, the Lawa sent down to
Muang Hôt to enquire whether these orders had the Amp'œ's
approval ; and on obtaining it the Lawa gave us in every satisfaction.

From June to December the village is occupied in agricultural
pursuits.. Tobacco, fruit and vegetables are raised in the gardens of
the Houses, but on a very small scale and under the most primitive
conditions. The absence of water during the dry season restricts
the diet of the Bô Luang people considerably, depriving them of the
vegetables and cereals which would flourish at an altitude of 3000 ft
with plentiful water. Fish is a luxury which can only be purchased
at the price of a journey to Muang Hôt. The staple diet is non-
glutinous rice. The glutinous variety preferred by the Lao is held
by them to be less fortifying. They are mainly vegetarians, but.















PT. II]                         THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                       163


occasionally indulge in the flesh of both wild and domestic
They possess no oxen but a large number of buffaloes for plowing.
Their dogs are small and resemble foxes. There are but few pigs
and cats. The 60 elephants they owned forty years ago have all
been sold now.

                                                        Hill Rice.

Before clearing the forest, the Lawa consults the augury of a
handful of rice, counting the grains odd and even, so Noi La says.

There are numerous forest clearings—Rai—on the hillocks sur-
rounding Bô Luang, where rice and chillies are cultivated on a small
scale. From the Rai beyond the northwest end of Bô Luang, a
magnificant panorama is obtained of the Me Yuam hills on the west,
Chiengmai hills on the north and of the west face of Doi Angka on
the eastern horizon.

Noi La told us that before clearing a Rai the Lawa utters the
following invocation :—

" May the Lord of the Land grant that I clear this land for the
benefit of religion and Government. May the answer be revealed to
me in a dream."

                                                     Field Rice.

The narrow depressions between low ridges on the plateau provide
a natural field for Padi cultivation. The altitude of Bô Luang
assures its farmers of ample humidity during the S.W. monsoon
when clouds usually surround the highlands, and we gathered that a
fair crop seldom fails to be reaped. People at Bô Luang are thus
assured of their principle item of diet, non-glutinous rice.

We watched the harvest being collected. The rice stems are
shorter than on the plain, and the straw and stubble are burnt
instead of being preserved for fodder. The Reaping instrument is a
small sickle, less semi-circular than that used by the Lao. Reaping
is the work of women.

The sheaves of reaped Padi are collected into piles at various spots
on the fields, and are stacked around an improvised threshing-floor
of hard earth strewn with mats, in much the same way as by the Lao.

Threshing was generally done by a man. The thresher stands
upon the mat with a sheaf of Padi held between his shins. In either
hand he wields a stick fashioned from the curved root and stem of








164                                   E. W. Hutchinson                          [ VOL. XXVII


" Mai Buang " to a form resembling a short and light hockey-stick.
Having beaten the sheaf, he turns it lightly with his two sticks and
beats it again until he has removed every grain.

A woman then winnows the grain, using two circular fans, simi-
lar to those in use by the Lao.

Our visit ended before the harvest was gathered in. We thus had
no opportunity to observe the carousal if any, with which we might
expect it to be celebrated, as with the Lao.



Our informants stated that the dry months following the harvest
are devoted by the whole population to extracting the iron ore from
the once famous deposit, a long days journey 35 K. M. to the North-
West of Bô Luang, beyond Me T 'ŏ.

Families migrate to the Iron Mines which are the exclusive pro-
perty of the Bô Luang Lawa, who own them in common. If any
outsider were to mine there, he would be devoured by a tiger. Both
men and women collect the ore which is found on the surface. The
men carry it home on their shoulders in baskets attached to either
end of a yoke, while the women carry it on their backs in cone-
shaped baskets, supported by a fontal band—as is common among
Khamū, Karen, etc.

The ore is smelted in Bô Luang. Three village elders showned us
the process. The smithy was not in use at the time, but it was
opened up for our special benefit.

For the furnace, a square oven of clay 2½ ft x 2½ ft x 2½ ft is
used, the sides being supported by rough boards. The upper surface
is pierced in the centre by a round hole, 6 ins in diameter, which
serves as a flue. The furnace has a second outlet at the base of one
of the sides : this aperture is closed by a trapdoor in the form of a
shell. In a line with it, on the opposite side of the furnance, a clay
pipe serves as an inlet into the furnace for air pumped in by the

The bellows consists of two large sections of a Bamboo stem (Mai
Hok) fixed side by side in an upright position near the furnace, and
connected with the Clay Pipe by two small Bamboo tubes. A piston
rod projects beyond the top of each tube. These rods are operated
by the smith who works one with each hand, as he sits behind them,
pumping vigorously first with one hand then with the other.

















PT. II]                        THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                        165


The furnace is heaped up with charcoal, upon which the ore is laid
and heated. The iron droppings from the ore are collected four
times and returned to the furnace. The operation takes six hours,
at the end of which a lump of rough iron is produced, resembling a
small orange in shape.

This iron lump is again made red hot. The smith then lifts it
from the furnace with rough tongs and beats it out on an iron anvil
into sundry crude implements, such as knives, bells, tongs, etc.

Behind the furnace a small basket hangs on the wall of the smithy
for the reception of offerings of flowers and rice presented to the
Forge-Spirit after harvest-time each year to feed him at the incep-
tion of the mining season.

                                         Invocation of Spirits.

Noi La, who through his Lawa wife is intimately acquainted with
Lawa habits, dictated to Nai Sri M un some of the customary invoca-
tion used by the Lawa. The latter took them down for us in the
original, using the Lao script employed by the Lawa when they
write : he also gave us a Siamese translation. To these invocations
is attached the following caution :—

" When making offerings to the Spirits of the House and of the

" Mines, no one is to speak.

" Speech is contrary to custom and will cause the Spirits of the
" House and of the Mines to refuse the offering."


                                                ๑. คำเลี้ยงผียังนา

สาสาตุหมู่ท่านเจ้าที่เจ้าตีบผู้รักษายังทุ่ง ยังนาจะเลี้ยงดู ให้อิ่มยังไก่ผู้แดง
ตัวหนึ่ง ไก่ร้องเหมือนสุนัขเห่า ขันเหมือนฟานโขก สูงเหมือน
กระทีง เลี้ยงดูให้อิ่ม จะไปกินของง่ายของข้า ให้ได้เข้าได้ของเนอ
ได้เข้าแสนเข้าล้านแท้เนอ เออกินอันนี้เอาอันนี้ สาตุ


1. formular for an offering to the spirits of THE FlELDS.

Hail, Ye Lords of the place, Guardians of the Rice fields. Taste
and take your fill even of a single red Cockerel : his voice is as that
of a dog, the sound of his crowing is as the barking of a deer, his





166                                   E. W. Hutchinson                          [ VOL. XXVII


height is that of, a bison. Eat at your ease of my offering, and bes-
tow upon me possession of rice tenfold and one hundredfold. Take
and cat of this I pray you.


                                       ๒. คำให้พรเวลาแต่งงาน

เออผีพะวาดพะวงษ์สกุลมูลทั้งหลายทั้งหมดเปนต้นเปนประธาร สุรา ๑
ปัน เข้า ๑ ขัน ให้มันมากเหมือนไก่ ให้มันใหญ่เหมือนนกยุง ให้
มันสูงเหมือนต้นกล้วยต้นอ้อย ทั้งหญิงทั้งชายทั้งหมู่ทั้งหมดทั้งหลายเออ
ผีญาติพี่น้องกินอันนี้เอาอันนี้ ผีกินก่อน คนกินทีหลัง


2. Formula to Obtain a Blessing at Marriage.

O Spirits of our noble ancestors, each and all of you—the offering
is a dram of alcohol and a portion of rice.

May the(1) bridegroom increase as a chicken, may he grow big as
a peacock, may he be tall as a Banana-tree or a Sugar-cane. Do you,
each and all of you, male and female alike, our kinsmen, take and
eat of this; first the spirits, then the human kinsmen.


                                       ๓. คำเลี้ยงผีประตูบ้าน

สาสาธุ เสื่อมทุกสิ่งที่เสื่อม เสื่อมหมูเสื่อมสุนัข เสื่อมไก่เสื่อม
นก ฟ้าผ่าเด็กตาย ให้มันขาวดังฝ้าย ให้แจ้งดังไฟในวันนี้ เปนขี้
ขะยะมูลฝอย มันดำชั่วช้าให้ตกไปในวันนี้ ตั้งแต่วันนี้ไป ให้พวกของ
ข้า อยู่ดีมีสุข อายุมั่นยืนยาวทั้งหญิงทั้งชายสาธุ

3. Formula for Offering to the Spirits of the Gate.
All hail. Remove all cause of destruction from perishable beings,
from'2' his pigs, his dogs, his poultry, his birds, and the stroke of the
lightning from his children. May he be white as cotton, and bright
as fire, on this day. May the clouds of dust and darkness disperse
today. From this day onwards, may all in my family enjoy good
health and long life. Hail.


(1) Lit. he.

i. e. the house-holders.







PT. II]                    THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                     167


                                    ๔. เลี้ยงผีคนป่วยว่า

สาธุผีทุกสิ่ง ผีที่อยู่ทิศเหนือทิศใต้ ตลอดอยู่บนหนอากาศ อยู่
ที่ลอดใต้ข้ามไปบนและไปมา ถ้าพูดหยาบพูดคราย ซึ่งมาทรมารยังคน
ผู้นี้ ให้ถอดถอนพิศม์เสีย ข้าจักถวายขันเข้า ๑ ขันให้หาย ถ้าไม่หาย
ไมให้ ถ้าใช่มึงจริงจะให้ ข้าไม่ใช่จะไม่ให้ กำหนด ๓ วัน ๗ วันให้
หายภายหลังหลับเย็นภายหลังนอนแท้เนอ สาธุสาธุ

4 Formula of Offering to the Spirits for the Sick.

Hail, Spirits of all things, dwelling in the north and the south,
Spirits in the Heavens, and Spirits which wander across them. Wipe
out the poison of any harsh or bitter word which is tormenting this
being. For his recovery I will offer a tray of food, but will not give
it unless he recovers. If you keep faith, I give it; if not, I withold
it. May he recover within a few days, and then lie down to sleep in
peace. Hail. All Hail.


                              ๕. เลี้ยงผีประตูเรือนทั้งกระใดเตาไฟว่า


        สาธุสาธุ ผีเตาไฟ ผีห้ากระใด ผีประตูเข้าออก ข้าเลี้ยงด้วย
อิ่มเต็มใจท่าน ด้วยสุรา ๑ ปัน ไข่ไก่หรือไก่ ๑ ตัว ๑ ลูก ปู่ย่า เตาไฟ
กระใดประตูเข้า กระใดคำประตูเงิน หม้อเข้า หม้อแกง เข้า เข้าสาร
หม้อหนึ้ง ไหเข้า ปู่ย่า สุรา ๑ ปัน อย่ากินเปล่า ๆ อย่ากินของง่าย
ขะยะและเสื่อมพญาตพะยำให้ตกไปในวันนี้ ปกป้องรักษาไฟอย่าให้ใหม้
หอเรือน เดือนดาว หมัดไฟอย่าให้ขึ้นที่อยู่ที่นอน ขอให้อยู่ดีมีสุขให้
ได้เงินสลึงลำปาง ให้ได้เงินข้างเชียงแสน ให้ได้แหวนเมืองอังวะ ให้
เรียกมาสู่ขึ้นหาตนไป ให้เปนที่พึ่งตนมา ให้เปนที่อยู่ไปทางหลัง ขอให้
เก็บของเขาซ่อนไปทางหลังให้เก็บของลืมเมื่อวันให้ เอาหัวแม่มือกั้งก่า
พยาต เมื่อคืนไห้หอบอุ้มด้วยขา สัตว์ร้ายคนร้ายให้ตามไปกับลมกบไฟ
ให้ไหลไปด้วยน้ำแม่แท้เนอ สาธุสาธุ







168                                     E. W. Hutchinson                          [ VOL. XXVII



      คำเลี้ยงผีบ้านและผีบ่อเหล็ก ห้ามไม่ให้พูดอะไรสักอย่าง ผิดประเพณี

ถ้าขืนพูด ผีบ้านหรือผีบ่อเหล็กไม่รับของเส้น

                                   เวลาเดิรทางไปนอนกลางป่า เส้นผีป่าหรือไว้นางธรณี ใช้ภาษาไทย

5. Formula for Offering to Spirits of the House,


                                    Gate, Stairs, and Hearth.


Hail Spirit of the Hearth, Spirit of death, watcher over the stairs,
Spirit of the gate of entrance and exit. I offer you to feed your fill
upon a dram of alcohol and an egg or chicken. Enter, my paternal
ancestors about the Hearth, the Stairs, the Gate. May the stairs be
gold and the gate silver, and may there be rice in the cooking pots.
May all sickness vanish this day. Guard the lire and prevent it from
burning the house. May no rays from the Moon or stars, nor sparks
approach the place where I lie. May I have health and happiness,
and for wealth the pence of Lampang, the Crowns of Chiengsen and
the Rings of Ava.

Call me to return when I go, be my defence when I come. Be
the guardian who stands behind me ; be he who discovers what is
hidden behind me, and who pricks up what I have forgotten in the
daytime. Cross the thumbs against sickness, and by night surround
me and enfold me with your leg. Pursue wild beasts and evil men
with wind and fire, that they be carried away on the current of the
stream. Hail. All Hail.(1)

These word are uttered in conjunction with offerings to Spirits of
the House and of the Iron Mines. Let there be no sort of talking
whatsoever. If there is talking, the spirits of the House and of the
Iron mines refuse the offering.

When travelling by road and when sleeping in the forest; when
making offering to spirits or praying to the Lady T'oranḯ, make use
of T'ai speech. Lawa speech is not (used).

The Lawa always referred in our hearing to the T'ai as " the peo-
ple of the land " Whatever may have been their state in ancient
times, they now have no pretentions to be other than foreigners in
Siam among the Siamese.


(1) The following instructions are appended to the invocation.










PT. II]                    THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                     169


                              Historical and Geographical Notes.

Although the Lawa in Siam are now almost negligible, there is
evidence that in past days they enjoyed a recognised status in the
country. The village Headman told us of the existence of a ritual
Silver Plate inscribed in Lao characters with the names of former
Lawa headmen and a record of their connection with the Lao Chiefs
of Chiengmai by whom the plate is said to have been presented. A
gold plate is also spoken of as lost years ago. The silver plate is
said to have been buried in the ground at Bô Luang for the past twenty
years. It is only brought to the light on great occasions, when ten
bottles of liquor and a pig must be offered to the Spirits of the place.
We were told that deaths in the village occurred after the previous
exhumation, which fact may account for the unwillingness of the
Lawa to show us the plate.

When we returned to Chiengmai, we made enquiries about this
reputed connection between Lawa and the princely family in
Chiengmai. The Abbot P'ra Malia Meun, of the temple adjoining
Chedi Luang on the north side, confirmed the connection. He says
that when he was young, in Chao Int'awong's time, the Lawa came
to Chiengmai every year in the fourth month to present offerings of
the crops, particularly ginger; to the Chief. The latter, on accepting
the offering, took it into his mouth, and then spat it out again. This
was a magic symbol for the fertilisation by the Chief's agency of the
Lawas' crops. Major Seidenfaden was received by H.R.H. the Chao
Dara Rasmi, who remembered this old custom, as well as the custo-
mary presentation of a white orchid by the Lawa to the Chief. She
said her people, the Lao, respected the Lawa as being their prede-
cessors in Siam, and often invited them to their homes on the occasion
of weddings, regarding such a visit as of good augury. She had
heard of the gold and silver plates, and understood that they were
inscribed in a manner corresponding with the sup'annabatr bestowed
by the King when conferring a higher rank on a Prince.

In the Siamese records of historical times the Lawa are sometimes

In the Lao annals, relating to the origins of Chiengmai, frequent
references are made to the Lawa. The translator of these annals(1)
in his Introduction, admits that " Chronicles in the vernacular must


(1)C. Notton, Annales du Siam, Première partie, pp. VII-IX.






170                                  E. W. Hutchinson                           [ VOL. XXVII


"have been composed by gradual steps contemporaneous with the
" events related :— ….... while it is certain that no texts can be
"accurate which have been preserved through the centuries by the
" expedient of re-copying,.......... they probably contain the nearest
"reproduction of the author's meaning achievable in the circumstances,
"especially when the importance attached in this country to tradition
"is born in mind. Men's memories have always furnished the soil
"on which Legends have grown up. It may well be that in a long
"period of misfortune, such as is recounted on p. 26, men's interest
"becomes focussed upon old habits and ceremonies, the strict obser-
"vance of which in days gone by coincided with a period when the
"evils of war, etc., were unknown. It is thus that the memory of
" ancient usages may be kept alive."

These Lao annals, though fantastic and legendary, are on this
account worthy of consideration, and the numerous references in
them to the Lawa deserve notice.

According to the chronicle of Mahāthera Fạ Bŏt, the Lawa had a
settlement on Doi Sut'ep, from which they founded a city at Chieng-
mai before the coming of the T'ai.(1)

When the T'ai founded Chiengmai under Meng Rai they found
relics of the earlier Lawa occupation. Meng Rai established contact
with the Lawa who had then retreated to Doi Sut'ep and learnt from
them the story of the Lawa occupation.(')

In the chronicle of Suvaṇṇa Khamdëng, that T'ai ruler is reputed
to have converted the Lawa of Chiengmai to Buddhism, and to have
received two wives from their headman.

Again, at a time when Lawa and T'ai were living side by side, a
Lawa chief, Vivo, proposed that in order to deceive the evil spirits,
Lawa and T'ai should exchange clothes and head-dress. This chief-
tain by a further ruse defended the T'ai from attacks by the Cloud
Spirits, Phi Khõk Fa Ta Yün—giving them rice from the T'ais'

The Sinhanavati refers to the place K'ôm Khăm on the Me Khong
where there were only wild men, Milakkha, of Lawa race, whose chief
was called Pû Chắo Lao Chỗk—lord of 500 spades—with which his


(1) C. Notton, op. cit., p. 38.
(2) C. Notton, op. cit., p. 45.
(3) C. Notton, op. cit., p. 21.








PT. II]                      THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                       171


men cultivated the Hill gardens on Doi Sàm Sằo on the southern
borders of Chieng Tung State.(1) The son of this chief paid an
annual tribute of 4 baskets of small golden Māk P'm to a T'ai over-


Ptolemy's Geography mentions an oriental land named Miilava-
deça. Gerini, in his Researches on Ptolemy's Geography,(3) warns
the reader against the facile conclusion that this was Lawa Land.
He identifies Davāka with the Shan States of Burma, and the
Dabasça range with the hills which separate the Salween (Nam Kŏng)
from the Me Kong (Me Nam Khōng)—He points out that the letters
D and B aïe interchangeable with L and V.(4) Dabasai might thus
represent Lavasai, and may possibly have been associated with either
the Lawa or the Lao in Ptolemy's time.

Gerini refers the origin of these Sanscrit Words to two tendencies
on the part of the early Hindu travellers, to whose nomenclature
Ptolemy was indebted for the place names in that region. These
early travellers, he suggests, were inclined to give a Sanscrit turn to
the local names of the inhabitants of Indo-China. In his view
" Muang Lao " would naturally be classicised as Mālava. The second
tendency was to adapt Indian place-names to features in Indo-China
corresponding with those familiar to them at home.

Thus Mālava, being their rendering of " Muang Lao ", suggested
Malwa in India. The eastern portion of Malwa is Dasana. Ptolemy's
Dasāna is therefore the eastern part of the Lao territory.

This explanation is interesting in connection with the terms
Damila and Milakkha which are applied to the Lawa in Lao chro-
nicles. Damila, meaning savage in Sanscrit, was the name given by
the early immigrants into India to the earlier inhabitants whom they
dispossessed and drove into the hills—i. o. the Dravidians or Tamils.

If the Lao States were named Darçana and Mālava in
memory of Indian places, so, their earlier inhabitants (as Gerini
imagines the Lawa to have been) would naturally be termed
Damila, or Milakkha corresponding to the dispossessed aborigines
in India.


(1) C. Notton, of. cit., p. 143.

(2) C. Notton, op. cit., p. 185.

(3) Gerini, Researches . . . , pp. 118 s99.

(4) ibid, pp. 58-59.






172                                  E. W. Hutchinson                           [ VOL. XXVII


Gerini doubts whether the name Lawa was used for these early
inhabitants in ancient days. He favours the supposition that they
were known as Ghieng, or Hill-people—a name contracted into
Che. He quotes the Luang Prabang chronicles to show that the
Kha-Che race ruled there before the T'ai came down.

Gerini adds that Chieng also has the same meaning as the
Sanskrit word Yavana—mixed. He suggests that Yuen (as the
Laos call themselves) may be a corruption of Yavana, representing
the T'ai who settled in the country of the Chieng and mixed with

According to his system of correction of Ptolemy's reckoning,
Gerini is able to locate Lasippa near Ban Sa-iep, a village on the
Me Yom river some 50 miles north of P're. He points out the exis-
tence of a second town of the same name in lower Burma, and
another of kindred name, Lasiep, above Kamp'eng P'et. He
concludes that this word belongs to the language of the early

If any broad deduction may be drawn from these historical and
geographical notes, it would be that the T'ai invaders of Siam in the
early years of the second millenium established relations with
another and less cultured people, for the most part hill-dwellers,
whom they found established in Siam before their coming.

These people are suspected to be the ancestors of the modern Lawa.



On our return to Chiengmai we were disappointed to find that in
the Siam Society's Questionnaire, which we had filled in at Bô Luang,
there are only 125 words which are common to it and to the vocabu-
laries of the Indo-Chinese languages given in the Gazetteer of Upper
Burma with which we proposed to compare our Lawa vocabularies.

At the same time we learnt that the Lawa in Vieng Pa Pao
district are unintelligible to those at Bô Luang. Holt Halliett had
remarked this fact fifty years ago in regard to the small vocabularies
he collected first at Bô Luang, then in the Pa Pao district.(2)

A vocabulary was subsequently compiled of words in use by Lawa


     (1) Cf. place names: Sa-iep, Sa-nam, Sa-keun, Sa-rieng, etc., with
Lawa word Sa-ngae = Sun.

     (2) Holt Hallett, A thousand miles on an Elephant.











PT. II]                       THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                    173


at Pang Clô, near Vieng Pa Pao, thanks to the Christian Elder at
that place, who sent down two Lawa to Chiengmai for the purpose.
It revealed considerable divergence from a vocabulary collected by
Monsieur Notton in that same district from Lawa of Ban Ta Ko
some years ago.

It appears that only 19 out of 425 words in the Questionnaire are
common to Bô Luang and Pang Chô Lawa, and 26 more words are
closely related.

The structure of both Bô Luang and Pang Chô Lawa differs from
Tai in many ways, notably in the use of the Welsh double L, in the
prefix 'M or 'N before another consonant, and in the sounding of final
S and L, also in the short explosive sound with which many words

The tone system of Bô Luang is more developed than that of Pang
Chô, the Rising tone being the only T'ai tone not recorded at the
former place.

Pang Chô follows the T'ai order of words, Bô Luang inverts it.
Both languages borrow a considerable number of T'ai words, but not
on the same occasions—e. g. Pang Chô uses T'ai numerals and the
T'ai word for fire, while Bô Luang has its own native word for both,
but Bô Luang uses the T'ai word for iron, while Pang Chô has its
own word.

A comparison of 125 words from our Bô Luang vocabulary with
the lists of Mon-Khmer language vocabularies given in the Gazetteer
of Upper Burma reveals the following results.

63 Bô Luang Lawa words identical with Wa, i.e. 50%

6 „ „ „ „ Palaung.
9 „ „ „ „ Khamu.

              12 „ „ „ „ Riang.

7 „ ,, ., ,,Rumai.

5 ,, ,, „ „ Nya Kuol.

2 „ „  „ „ Môn.

In a number of other cases there are obvious affinities. The evi-
dence of language thus points to the Mon-Khmer family as the
source of the Lawa tongue, also to the kinship of Lawa and Wa. The
fact that the Bô Luang people have T'ai names and use T'ai words in
a number of cases need not indicate anything more than the influence
of more powerful and more cultured neighbors.

That the Lawa are of different origin from the T'ai is suggested
by their physical features, absence of the fold of the eye-lid,







174                               E. W. Hutchinson                                 [ VOL. XXVII


That the Lawa wear the dress of the Lao or the Karen smock is
explicable in the same way as their use of Lao nomenclature. The
similarity in spirit worship between Lawa and Lao with emphasis on
the House-spirit would be natural, if the early home(1) of T'ai and
Mon-Khmer was—as has been claimed—the land where Ancestor-
worship is observed until the present day.



















(1) Different areas in the southern watershed of the Yangtse river.









                                                                                   Appendix i




                                                      Anthropological Measurements of fifty-one
                                                                  Lawa Men and Six Women







                                                                              E. W. Hutchinson












































PT. II]                        THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                  177


Notes to Tables.
Skin. A Chocolate brown.

Hair. Black with a brown tinge : wavy compared with the lank
hair of T'ai.

Eyes. Brown : straighter than those of the T'ai, and without the
skin-fold in the corner.

Fashions Hair. The men wear their hair short, in some cases
very short; the women part their hair down the middle—in contrast
with the T'ai.

The following notes were made upon the men.

All the older men were tatooed from the Waist to below the knee,
and many were tatooed on the back, chest and fore-arms. As in the
case with their T'ai neighbors, the younger men are not tatooed
lower than half way down the thigh, and sometimes only on one leg.
Most of them are tatooed on the arms, or back or chest, but not to
quite the same extent as the senior men. They wear their hair short
like the T'ai.

No. 3. has a pleasant, intelligent face.

No. 5. has a good nose.

No. 7. a slight moustache.

No. 10. good eye-brows, small elongated ears, no lobes.

No. 11. bushy hair.

No. 12. has a wide face.

No. 15. fairly straight hair and a big nose.

No. 24. heavy eyebrows.

No. 26. short, curly and very wavy hair.

No. 27. hazle-brown eyes.

No. 28. a big-boned man.

No. 29. a prominent nose, with heavy eye-brows.
No. 33. a broad nose, fairly straight.
No. 34. and 35, heavy eye-brows.
No. 37. small ears.

No. 41. short nose, small ears, good teeth.

No. 42. thin eye-brows, small ears.

No. 44. big ears.

No. 45. a big-boned man.

No. 46. small prominent ears, good eye-brows.








178                                   E. W. Hutchinson                          [ VOL. XXVII


No. 47. small ears, good teeth.
No. 49. small ears.
No. 56. good eye-brows, hairy legs.
No. 59. heavy eye-brows.

Six women were measured five of whom were under 30 years of
age, and three had remarkably fine breasts (Nos. 16. 17. 18.) while
Nos. 19 and 20 had slight tatoo marks on their fore-arms. No. 8.
was the wife of No. 2, and No. 16 the daughter of No. 39.


                                                   appendix ii

                          Geographical Distribution of the Lawa


                                               E. Seidenfaden.

(1) Changvat Chiengmai :

Amp'œ Ban Mae, S. S. W. of Chiengmai :

Ban Biang, the inhabitants are Lawa but now all speak T'ai.
Am’ œ Muang Hôt on both banks of Me Ping S. S. W. of

Chiengmai : Bô Luang, Bô Sa-ngae, Bô Pākwaen, Bô Nā Fon

and Bô Wang Gông all with a pure Lawa population.

Bô Sali (2 villages) Lawa mixed with T'ai and a few Khamu

also Bo Gong Loi.

At Doi Khun Dan (Tambon Khun Dan), a former Lawa village,
débris of pottery found.

Umgoi is a sub-district of Hôt S. S. W. of Muang Hôt, a
former Lawa stronghold.
Amp'œ Mae Rim North of Chiengmai :
Following villages said to be Lawa :

Ban Tha Kilek Noi, Ban Tha Kilek Luang, Ban Ba-ngae and
Ban Muang Ga.

Amp'œ San MahapUon due north of Chiengmai at the upper
reaches of Me Ping. On Mae Taeng are found ruins of an old
village, explored by Mr. Miles, of The Borneo Co., Ltd., who
found an image of the Buddha and was told that many images
had been taken from here down to Bangkok. This place is
said to have been an important Lawa settlement.

Amp'œ San Sai :

Following villages are said to be Lawa :—
Ban Lau, Ban Sali Ngam and Ban Bong.







PT. II]                          THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                      179


Amp'œ Ghieng Duo :
Ban Bak Tliam.

Amp'œ Mae Sarieng or Muang Yuam in the Salwin valley. In
this district lies Umphai (North of the Ainphœ village) which
is inhabited by healthier Lawa. Their strong-hold may also
be reached from Bo Luang by marching 40—50 Kilometers
towards N. W. The Umphai Lawa, about 300 in number, are
weavers and supply the Amphoe Hôt Lawa will part of their
clothing. The Bô Luang Lawa are said to come from Umphai.
The clan living then speaks however a dialect slightly differ-
ent from that of Bô Luang and Bô Sali. They are held in
disdaim by the Amphoe Hôt Lawa because they do not profess
Buddhism, eat dogs and are uncleanly in their habits. To
judge from Photographs they look a better set up people than
the Bô Luang people having more clean and features. Their
women wear gaiters of cloth. Umphai is situated in very
difficult inaccessible hills. To reach it from Bô Luang at
least 4 days march is necessary. Elephants are to be preferred
for transport, since water is very scarce along the route.

(2) Changvat Mae Hong sôn.

On the hills forming the divide are found a great number of
Lawa tombs, now mostly rifled for their contents.

(3) Changvat Nakon Lampang.

In the town of Lampang there was formerly a renowned Lawa
spirit shrine. The Lawa from Ban Tha Chang, Na Vierng,
Sala, and Amphœ Go Kha used to go every year to worship at
this shrine. All the above villages are now completely T'ai.
Amp'œ Chaehom N. N. E. of Lampang.

Tambon Chaesôn—Ban Muang To, the inhabitants still speak

Amp'œ Hangchatr on the railway line W. N. W. of Lampang.
Tambon Mae San—Lawa of origin but now speaking T'ai with
a Lawa accent.

(4) Changvat Ghiengrai,

Around Old Chiengsaen are said to live some Lawa.
(This according to the Saravat in Bô Luang.

(5) Changvat Phrae.

According to legend a Lawa prince ruled here in ancient days.
Ban Yang Oi is said to be a Lawa village.







180                               E. W. Hutchinson                          [ VOL. XXVII

                                            Appendix iii

           Appendix to Historical and Geographical Notes


                                        E. Seidenfaden.

The Lawa(1) who called themselves Lavu'a, constituted a large
part of the early population of Northern Siam, according to the Pali
work entitled Cāmadevīvaṃsa. This chronicle relates how the
daughter of an independent Môn ruler, whose capital was at Lop-
buri, then called Lavo or Lavapurī, was sent on a kind of civilizing
mission to the North where she founded Hariphunchai, the present
Lamphun, about the year 660 a. d. The valley of the Upper Me
Ping was at that time populated by the rude Milakkha or Lova, i.e.,
Lawa, and to them the Môn princess, later crowned a queen of Hari-
puñjaya, brought civilization and the Buddhist religion.(2)

It seems reasonably certain that the Môn from Central Siam,
where we find them organized in the kingdom of Dvāravatī already
in the 6th century a. d., expanded their dominion, at the latest dur-
ing the 8th century, to North Siam where they built the towns of
Haripunjaya (Lamphun) and Khelānga (Lampaṅg). The Lawa
were considered by the Môn as a kind of savage cousins, both
belonging to the Môn-Khmer group, a branch of the ancient Austro-
Asiatic race.

To begin with, the Lawa did not receive the Môn invaders in a
friendly way, and it was only after having been beaten in war that
they accepted the Môn hegemony. According to the Cāmadevī-
sa, the Lawa of the present Changvat Chiengmai were ruled by
a powerful king, a Milakkharāja, named Milaṅkkhaa, who had his
capital at Doi Stithep to the west of present clay Chiengmai. This
king considered himself sufficiently great to demand Queen Cāma-
devī in marriage after the death of her husband the Môn prince of
Ramaññanagara ; and when he met with refusal he attacked Hari-
puñiaya at the head of an army of 80,000 warriors. However, Queen


      (1) By the Northern T'ai they are called Lua, the word Lawa being a
Siamese term. They call themselves La-wœ a.

     (2) For the important part played by the Mon in the history of North
Siam, vide BEFEO, vol. XXV, Documents sur l'Histoire politique et
religieuse du Laos Occidental, by G. Cœdès which gives the text and trans-
lation of both Cāmadevīvamsa and Jinalakāmālinī






PT. II]                   THE LAWA IN NORTHERN SIAM                        181


Cāniadevī's eldest son, Mahantaysa, seated on a splendid white
elephant, sent as a gift by the gods, issued from the western gate
of Haripuñjaya with his army and beat the enemy who fled in terror
and confusion.

Not long after this victory on the part of the Môn colonists, the
twin sons of Cāinadevī are married to daughters of the Lawa king,
and thereafter there is a complete union of the two peoples Môn and
Lawa—probably due to more intermarrying.

In another Pali chronicle Jinakālamālïnī, it is record that about
880 A. D. a Lawa prince, Lakkhundriya, or Milakkhamahārāja by
name seized Haripuñjaya and ruled it for three years, and then with-
drew. This Lawa prince seems, however, to have come from the
present Shan States.

At the time of the T'ai conquest of Siam the Lawa played a poli-
tical role. In 1281 the T'ai prince Meng-rai expelled the last Môn
king from Haripuñjaya (Lamphun) and proceeded to seize Lampang,
where he appointed a Lawa chief as ruler.

At present no Lawa population is found near the city of Chieng-
mai, but certain traditions point to their former presence there
Thus, for instance, it is said that the place actually occupied by the
Royal Pages School was the former Lawa king's pleasure garden,
and that a palace stood there. The capital of the Lawa king, who
fought Queen Cāmadevī, lay, according to tradition, on a small
level clearing on the mountain behind the Doi Suthep temple at a
height of about 3,000 feet.

Here, it is also said, are situated the Royal Lawa tombs.

As the Lawa are a dwindling race—in Bô Luang they marry late
and have only few children—it is of the utmost importance to carry
out as soon as possible a complete survey of the remaining commu-
nities and through them collect evidence of their former settlements
in order to arrive at a correct idea of original extension of the
habitat of this interesting and by no means unsympathetic people.

We know of their former and present presence in the Changvats
of Chiengmai, Chiengrai and Lampang ; and, according to the tradi-
tional history of Tāt Chô Hae, which begins characteristically with
Ai Phraya Laiva kab mia man, there are traces of them in Prae.
In the Changvat of Maehongsorn there are still a few Lawa commu-
nities left, and here are also found a considerable number of ancient
Lawa tombs. But unhappily most of these have been rifled for their
interesting contents.







182                               E. W. Hutchinson                               [ VOL. XXVII


Besides the population of the former Circles or nionthons of Phayab
and Maharāṣṭra, we know of a former Lawa population on the
middle course of the Me Ping, which still existed there in the begin-
ning of the 16th century a.D. According to an inscription dated
1510 a.D. the pious but shadowy "king" of Sukhothai, Crī Dharmā-
çokarāja, admonished his subjects not to sell their cattle to the
impious Lawa cow eaters (Cœdès, BIS, XIII, 2). Colonel Gerini in his
Researches on Ptolemy's Geography of Eastern Asia, p. 143, says that
these Lawa had a capital at Mu'ang Sōi, somewhere about Raheng,
of which traces are still to be seen in the jungle near Keng Soi.

Furthermore in spite of the more than 900 years of Môn rule and
that of the succeeding T'ai it seems that the Lawa blood still persist-
ed so much at the end of the 16th century that the Burmese invaders
considered the T'ai Yuan to belong to that race. This is proved by
the advice of the Burmese king to Prince Nawrataza, who had been
appointed viceroy of Chiengmai in 1579, that when speaking to the
Chiengmai nobles the prince must not hurt their feelings by treating
them as Lawa.(1)

To conclude this historical sketch of the Lawa I may as well take
this opportunity to plead guilty to a serious error committed by me
when translating and commenting on a paper written in 1921 by the
then Governor of Petchaboon on the Chaobun who officially were
called Lawa.(2) Not having had any occasion to meet the true Lawa
or to read about them up till that time I adopted the official term
and treated the Chaobun as Lawa. Dr. A. Kerr, formerly for many
years a member of the Council of the Siam Society, after a visit to
the Bô Luang Lawa found out this error of mine and pointed it out
in a paper published iu 1927 in the JSS.''5'

I now have no doubt as to the correctness of Dr. Kerr's contention
that the Lawa and Chaobun are different peoples and that their lan-
guages differ very much indeed. On the other hand it is not doubtful
that both of them belong to the Môn-Khmer group of peoples and


       (1) Hmannan Yazawin Dawgyi, translated by Phra Phraisorn Salaraks
in JSS, vol. XII, 1918.

       (2) Phra Phetchabunburi. The Lawa or Chaobun in Changvat Petchaboon,
JSS, vol. XIV, 1921.

      (3) Dr. A. Kerr, Two Lawa vocabularies, JSS, vol. XXI, 1927, pp. 53 s99.














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