Thursday, August 17, 2006

Mong Mao: The multiple senses of the toponym

Below is copy of the Wikipedia article in which I try to make clear what Mong Mao means. I am just trying to make clear the different ways that people use the often ambiguous, or at least multi-sensed, term "Mong Mao".

Mong Mao

Mong Mao was an ethnically Tai state that controlled several smaller Tai states or chieftainships along the frontier of what is now Myanmar and China in the De-hong region of Yunnan with a capital near the modern-day border town of Ruili. The name of the main river in this region is named the Nam Mao River also know as the Shweli River.

The chronicle of this region, which was written much later, was named the Mong Mao Chronicle. [1]

Mong Mao arose in the power vaccuum left after the Kingdom of Dali in Yunnan fell to the Mongols around 1254. This kingdom had asserted some unity over the diversity of ethnic groups residing along the southwest frontier of Yunnan. (Daniels, 2006, 28)

"Mong Mao" is sometimes used by authors to refer to the entire group of Tai states along the Chinese-Myanmar frontier including Luchuan-Pingmian, Mong Yang (Chinese: Meng Yang), and Hsenwi (Chinese: Mu Bang), even though specific place names are almost always used in Ming and Burmese sources.

The center of power shifted frequently between these different places. Sometimes these were unified under one strong leader, sometimes they were not. As the Shan scholar Sai Kam Mong observes: "Sometimes one of these strove to be the leading kingdom and sometimes all of them were unified into one single kingdom...The capital of the kingdom shifted from place to place, but most of them were located near the Nam Mao [river] (the "Shweli" on most maps today)" [2]

The various versions of the Mong Mao Chronicle provide the lineage of Mong Mao rulers. The Shan chronicle tradition recorded very early and roughly by Elias (1876) provides a long list with the first ruler of Mong Mao dating from 568 A.D. The dates in Elias for later rulers of Mong Mao do not match the dates in Ming dynasty sources such as the Ming Shi-lu (Wade, 2005) and the Bai-yi Zhuan (Wade, 1996) which are considered more reliable from the time of the ruler Si Ke Fa. Kazhangjia (1990), translated into Thai by Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hong Yun (2001), also provides a fairly detailed local chronicle of Mong Mao.

List of Monarchs
Chinese name Years Length Succession Death Tai Name Other names
Si Ke Fa 1340-1371 31 years natural Hso Kip Hpa Sa Khaan Pha
Zhao Bing Fa 1371-1378 8 years son natural
Tai Bian 1378/79 1 year son murdered
Zhao Xiao Fa 1379/80 1 year brother of Zhao Bing Fa murdered
Si Wa Fa ? ? brother murdered Hso Wak Hpa
Si Lun Fa 1382-1399 17 years grandson of Si Ke Fa Hso Long Hpa
Si Xing Fa 1404-1413 9 years son abdicated
Si Ren Fa 1413-1445/6 29 years brother executed Hso Wen Hpa Sa Ngam Pha
Si Ji Fa 1445/6-1449 son executed Sa Ki Pha, Chau Si Pha
Si Bu Fa 1449-?
Si Lun Fa ?-1532 murdered Sawlon


Daniels, Christian (2006) "Historical memories of a Chinese adventurer in a Tay chronicle; Usurpation of the throne of a Tay polity in Yunnan, 1573-1584," International Journal of Asian Studies, 3, 1 (2006), pp. 21-48.

Elias, N. (1876) Introductory Sketch of the History of the Shans in Upper Burma and Western Yunnan. Calcutta: Foreign Department Press. (Recent facsimile Reprint by Thai government in Chiang Mai University library).

Jiang Yingliang (1983) Daizu Shi [History of the Dai ethnicity], Chengdu: Sichuan Renmin Chubanshe.

Kazhangjia, Z. (1990). "Hemeng gumeng: Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [A History of the Kings of Meng Mao]." In Meng Guozhanbi ji Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [History of Kosampi and the kings of Meng Mao]. Gong Xiao Zheng. (tr.) Kunming, Yunnan, Yunnan Minzu Chubanshe.

Liew, Foon Ming. (1996) "The Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436-1449): In the Light of Official Chinese Historiography". Oriens Extremus 39/2, pp. 162-203.
Sai Kam Mong (2004) The History and Development of the Shan Scripts, Chiang Mai; Silkworm Books.

Wade, Geoff (1996) "The Bai Yi Zhuan: A Chinese Account of Tai Society in the 14th Century," 14th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand [Includes a complete translation and introduction to the Ming travelogue "Bai-yi Zhuan", a copy can be found at the Thailand Information Center at Chulalongkorn Central Library]]

Wade, Geoff. tr. (2005) Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore,
Witthayasakphan, Sompong and Zhao Hong Yun (translators and editors) (2001) Phongsawadan Muang Tai (Khreua Muang ku muang), Chiang Mai: Silkworm. (Translation of Mong Mao chronicle into the Thai language)


^ Elias, 1876; Daniels, 2006; Kazhangjia, 1990; Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hong Yun, 2001
^ Sai Kam Mong, 2004, p. 10, citing Jiang Yingliang, 1983
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