Daily Archives: July 25, 2006

Old Siamese Costumes

The following was written in the 1850’s by Monsignor Jean-Baptiste Pallegoix.


(left) A Siamese woman of King Mongkut’s era (right) A Siamese man of King Mongkut’s era. Formerly they shaved their heads and only left a round spot on top of the head where they wore the hair sticking up like a brush. The women cut their hair short, instead of shaving them off and they wore the same circular hair tuft as the men.

The dress of the Siamese is very simple: they go about barefoot and without a hat. As their only dress they have a piece of painted Indian cloth they attach to their belts pulling back the two ends in the back (that is what is called a langouti). This way of dressing is common for both sexes. Moreover, young girls and women put around their necks a silk scarf so that one of the ends falls over the shoulder in the back; while the men are satisfied with a piece of white cloth they sometimes use as a belt, sometimes as a handkerchief, to wipe off sweat, sometimes in lieu of a turban to protect them from sun rays.

People of modest means rarely use an umbrella. Those high placed, on the contrary, always have one. The common people, men and women, use some kind of light basket made of palm leaves instead of a hat. When the lower ranking meet their masters, they must have a belt of silk around their wastes. The King and Princes do not at all differ from their subjects in the shape of their dress but only in the richness of dress and usually they wear Chinese sandals.


(left) A high-ranking Siamese from King Mongkut’s time (right) Two simaese from King Chulalongkorn’s time (1868-1910). Under the government of King Chulalongkorn the Siamese males and females wore their hair combed backwards without shaving any parts of their heads. While formerly only prominent women wore a breast shawl, after King Chulalongkorn returned from Europe, he issued a regulation that all women had to wear a shawl.

About THAT book

Hello Thai-blogs readers and the followers of the Gospel of the OakMonster.

I just want to drop in a line to say hi, I’m alive. I will be coming to Thailand on an unplanned visit in a few weeks. Still trying to find tickets at the moment.

There’s no problem going TO Bangkok from Los Angeles, but coming BACK is another story. You see, August is the month where all the Thai students hop on the planes to either return to the US for their education, or begin such academic journey.

And therefore, my “let’s get you on the plane to come home to see your mom in a few weeks” plan is a bit iffy at the moment.

If you didn’t know, my mom has cancer and recently suffered a stroke. Cancer is in somewhat of a remission and she’s doing fantastic despite the fact that her left side is paralyzed. And that’s why I’m running home to see her for a week. So–no time for a beer with you kids…unless we plan ahead. 🙂

Anyway. I also would like to let you know that I am reading that certain controversial book about the King by that certain American professor. I’m only on Chapter One, but so far only a few things caught me by surprise. The rest is, well for some of us, old news.

Of course, I do intend to finish the Book before I go home. I’ll let you know when I’m done with the Book then you can email me to discuss. 🙂