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Rites of Passage and Rituals in Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, and Cambodia

Susan Conway

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

The people of Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam are united by their proximity to the Mekong River and its tributaries. Indigenous and imported fabrics are worn for dress associated with religious ceremonies and other rituals. In societies where Hinduism has made an impact, particularly Thailand and Cambodia, children undergo a tonsure ceremony marking the passage from childhood to adolescence. If the ceremony is performed for a male member of the royal family, court affiliates dressed as guar

Court Dress of Thailand: History and Symbolic Significance

Susan Conway

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

According to ancient Buddhist chronicles, Thai royalty descended from heaven. Rule by divine right flourished, reinforced by the Khmer belief that kings were manifestations of Brahmanical gods. Thai royalty adopted Hindu court rituals, while Buddhist monks performed rites reflecting the belief that the king is a bodhisattva (a reincarnated Buddha who is a spiritual guide). Early figurines of boddhisatva wear long draped cloth and elaborate jewelry. Sumptuary laws reinforced belief in the king as

Body Modification in Thailand: Tattooing

Deborah Hill

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Modern tattoo studios are common in Thailand in the early twenty-first century; at these establishments one can acquire a tattoo that is administered using a mechanized needle and contemporary designs. Distinct from this practice, however, is an art form involving an older tradition and using distinctive tools and empowered designs. Tattooing, known as sak yan—sak meaning “to tattoo” and yan referring to yantra, a symbol of spiritual significance, usually containing magical properties—is common i

The Thai King’s Colors

Leedom Lefferts

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Beginning in 2006, many citizens of the Kingdom of Thailand started wearing shirts of a bright canary yellow with stitched logos proclaiming in Thai, Rao Rak Nay Luang— “We love His Majesty, the King.” Nay Luang is a less formal, more affectionate term than the king’s formal title, Phra Chao Pen Din, “Lord of the Land.” Sometimes the formula appears in English: “Long Live the King.” Occasionally, other colors, such as strawberry pink and lime green, have been used, but yellow has remained the mos

The Fashion World of Southeast Asia

Edric Ong

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Each nation of the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) since independence has been asserting its identity through dress. Many of these nations are multicultural, creating interesting blends, including Western styles. Contemporary Malaysian fashion reflects its people’s cultural diversity. Young Muslim girls wear jeans with head scarves rather than traditional dress. Batik textiles are undergoing a major revival, promoted by the Malaysian government. In Indonesia, designers have done m

Thailand

Uraiwan Pitimaneeyakul and Karen L. LaBat

Source: Berg Encyclopedia of World Dress and Fashion. South Asia and Southeast Asia 2010

Encyclopedia entry

Thailand’s geographical surroundings encouraged exchange of cultural traditions. Although the northern border is shared by Myanmar and Laos, the Chinese influenced dress through trade and invasion. Similarly, Indian influences on dress have been adopted by Thais in the west and south of the country. Traditional Thai dress mirrors the complex etiquette of court culture, with strong Indian and Chinese influences. Clothing worn in the early twenty-first century reveals this rich cultural heritage. T

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