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Lecture

 

THE SIAMESE AMBASSADOR AND THE SUN KING RELATIONS BETWEEN AYUTTHAYA AND THE COURT OF LOUIS XIV. A Talk by Jane Puranananda

 

In the early 1900’s a heavy book tumbled off the shelf of the library of the Missions Etrangères in Paris and a remarkable discovery was made. Volume 1081 fell open to pages written in a mysterious foreign script that was eventually identified as old Thai. More surprisingly, the text was found to be part of a previously lost account of the Siamese Ambassador Ok-phra Wisut Sunthon’s (also known as Kosa Phan) trip to France in 1686. This diplomatic mission, sent by Ayutthaya’s King Narai, turned Kosa Phan into such a European celebrity that French textiles were created in imitation of the Ambassador’s attire.  However, behind the glamorous attention paid to the visit, there were intrigues, falsehoods and misunderstandings that eventually led to tragic results following Kosa Phan’s return to Siam.

Jane Puranananda has lived in Asia since 1983, working first as an editor for the National Museum in Singapore and later as a journalist/managing editor in Hong Kong.  She moved to Bangkok in 1990, but now lives part of the year in France. She serves as a consultant to The James H. W. Thompson Foundation, and is the editor of two publications on textiles: Through the Thread of Time (2004) and The Secrets of Southeast Asian Textiles (2007).  In 2011 she traveled with a group of Thai academics from Brest to Paris in order to follow the footsteps of the Siamese ambassador Kosa Phan. The Thai group was officially received by the mayor of Brest and invited to visit the French naval base where the Siamese mission had landed in 1668. Originally from the US, Jane is a graduate in history from Barnard College, Columbia University.

Date: Tuesday, 27 February 2018
Time: 7.30 p.m.
Place: The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21

Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge. For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or

Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

The Siam Society is deeply grateful to the James H.W. Thompson Foundation for its generous support of the 2017-2018 Lecture Series.