By Leslie Ann Woodhouse
Read or Download A ''Foreign'' Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Difference in Nineteenth-Century Siam PDF
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Extra info for A ''Foreign'' Princess in the Siamese Court: Princess Dara Rasami, the Politics of Gender and Ethnic Difference in Nineteenth-Century Siam
The ruling elites also provided protection from worldly dangers, such as bandits or warfare. Given the geographic isolation of many northern villages, it is not surprising that many people would desire the patronage of a chief or chao, as insurance against calamities both spiritual and worldly. As the Chao Chet Ton re-established political stability, the re-populated river plains surrounding Chiang Mai embarked on an era of economic and cultural resurgence. 3 Shifting Economies, Shifting Allegiances: Mid-Nineteenth Century Lan Na Just as Lan Na seemed to achieve political and economic equilibrium once again, the political landscape within and far beyond Chiang Mai continued to change.
The most important difference between this system of rule and that of Siam, however, lay in the relationship of noble rank to control of lands. Though there was a hierarchy of command from the chao luang on down to the lowest rank, there was not the same strict gradation of rank or “point system” as was used in the Siamese sakdina system. The children of a Lan Na chao, like their elite Bangkok counterparts, could inherit the rank of chao. As in Bangkok, land rights could be granted only by the king, who granted rights over lands to his chao officials as compensation – but in Lan Na, these rights applied only for the duration of the official’s service, and could not be inherited.
According to one missionary, “Spirit worship or…the fear of spirits is the curse of this land. ”59 As Ratanaporn explains, these spirit cults could sometimes be manipulated so as to favor the groups in power. Hence, the ruling elites – the only ones permitted to perform the ceremonies propitiating these ancestral guardian spirits – maintained their legitimacy “by serving the ritual function of mediating between”60 the peasant communities and the spirits of the state. ) The ruling elites also provided protection from worldly dangers, such as bandits or warfare.
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