Forensic Fashion
(c) 2006-present R. Macaraeg


>Costume Studies
>>1910 Siam. k̄ĥārāchs̄ảnạk
Subject: ข้าราชสำนัก royal courtier
Culture: Siamese/Thai
Setting: nationalist period, Siam late 19th-early 20thc

Context (Event Photos, Period Sources, Secondary Sources)

* Baker & Phongpaichit 2005 p104
"Over the second half of the nineteenth century, the conversion of the traditional 'port and fort' city into a colonial port and national capital brought into being new social forces.  The great families of the service bureaucracy, and the great families of the junk-trading and tax-farming jao sua, were converted into the new bureaucratic elite of the royalist nation-state."

* Baker & Phongpaichit 2005 p96-97
"From the start of the twentieth century, the city and its society were reshaped by its new role as capital of a nation-state.  Under the new centralized structure, revenues flowed into the ministries located in the capital, and power flowed outwards.  The number of salaried officials grew from 12,000 in 1890 to 80,000 in 1919.  In 1916 the Civil Service School was combined with other institutions into Chulalongkorn University, which became the main avenue into the senior bureaucracy.  ...
"The senior bureaucracy was the elite of this new government city.  At its core were members of the royal and noble families who were cajoled by Chulalongkorn into adopting official careers.  In effect, official salaries became the solution to the problem of supporting the rapidly spreading pyramid of the royal clan.  In this era, senior official salaries were enough to support a whole household, while old habits of living off the profits of office also lingered.  Provincial rulers and great families were also urged to send their sons to the new schools and colleges, as part of cementing their loyalty to the new nation-state."


* Conway 2002 p139
"The most significant Siamese item of clothing (as opposed to Euro-Siamese), was the gold coat that formed part of court regalia from the time of Rama I (ruled 1782-1809).  Rama V issued gold coats as part of official uniforms throughout the tributary states, and to his Ministers of State in Bangkok.  Brocaded shirts were also sent as gifts to the rulers of tributary principalities.  According to the Chiang Mai chronicle lengths of brocaded silk described as 'fabric with gold and silver patterns' were also distributed.  Some samples have been identified as pha yearabab [khemkhab cloth], a type of brocade imported from India.  This fabric was used to wrap manuscripts and ceremonial regalia, such as swords and water vessels."


* Baker & Phongpaichit 2005 p100
"By the Fifth Reign, both men and women in the court clothed their full body with mainly tailored garments.  The new bureaucrats, often working with European advisers, affected a colonial style of cotton shirt and trousers.  So did employees of farang companies.  These elite styles were quickly adapted by other levels of urban society.  Male labourers remained bare-chested, but others wore a tied upper cloth, tailored shirt, or jacket in public.  By the early twentieth century, urban Siam was fully clothed."

* Thongchai 1994 p73
"[T]he Ratchapataen ('raja's pattern') [was] the semi-Western-style official suit used only at the court in Bangkok ...."

* Conway 2002 p139-140
"Under the new administrative reforms, government officers were issued with white tunics.  On a journey north from Bangkok to Chiang Mai in the late 1880s Satow noticed that all officials in the towns were wearing close-fitting white jackets and chong kraben with the addition of white stockings and shoes for senior officers. At court the Prince of Chiang Mai 'donned a white jacket and a silk sarong, or waist cloth worn Siamese fashion'.  However the princes did not always wear a white jacket and there are many accounts of more colourful dress.  When he went on a state visit to Chiang Rai, a satellite of Chiang Mai, the Prince of Chiang Mai 'looked resplendent' in a bright red silk chong kraben, a blue jacket with gold buttons, and shoes and white stockings.  Prince Indra Witchayanon of Chiang Mai (ruled 1871-1897) received tributary offerings from the Lawa wearing a black silk jacket, silk chong kraben and was barefoot.  His son, who was present at the ceremony, wore a green satin jacket and yellow silk chong kraben.  Many princes wore embroidered slippers made in Chiang Mai rather than European style shoes.  At his wedding the Prince of Lampang wore a blue silk jacket embroidered with gold, purple chong kraben and black velvet cap with a gold band."


* Thai World Heritage Information Centre online >
"The Japanese sword was a popular weapon among the elite in Ayutthaya. It remained one of the regalia of Siamese royals up to the Rattanakosin period."