Archive for the ‘Mon’ Category

Coins and History

July 10, 2008

While wondering around an old market outside Bangkok we found a seller of religious amulets and old coins. The coins were interesting because he had arranged them in sequence and the earliest, before Dvaravati, were from the Funan Empire. Taking it that they were found in Thailand it does begin to give a sense of who controlled parts of Thailand in the first few centuries AD. We know the Mons were here very early but we do not know for sure the people who were under the influence of Funan back then. In fact the ethnic make up of the Funanese people themselves is in doubt. We can guess they might have been an early Khmer nation. They were centered in present day Vietnam and Cambodia. “Money makes the world go round” maybe, but it certainly hints at influence in these early times.


Ban Chiang

July 1, 2008

Ban Chiang PotteryI visited the National Science Museum on Sunday and was impressed by the Ban Chiang Pottery. I hope they were not copies. The colours were superb. If you haven’t seen them they are a maroon design on buff background. These are from a bronze age community living in the northeast of Thailand in a period ranging from 2000 BC to 200 AD. I’m not sure where the pottery dates inside in this range.

I don’t think much is known about who the people of Ban Chiang were but we know both the Mons and the Khmers were around sometime in this range. Red does seem to be a popular colour with the Mons but I don’t think there is any indication of Ban Chiang being a Mon settlement.


April 1, 2008

Driving through the central plains of Thailand this weekend took me through some of the towns associated with the ancient kingdom of Dvaravati. Wikipedia Dvaravati entry tells us we are looking at a kingdom or possibly a collection of city states dating from 6th. to the 11th. Centuries straddling the Chao Phraya river basin. It’s likely that the Gulf of Thailand’s shores were much farther north than they are today due to the gradual silting up of the river’s estuary.

Map of Dvaravati

Not much is known of the people but it is a good guess to say they were or were related to the Mons. The Mons had reached Chao Phraya river basin prior to the Christian era and no other large town settlements have been found from before this. The Dvaravati civilization was very much influenced by Indian culture and also the Buddhist religion.