Siam Society Books


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As Mother Told Me

By HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Baht 700


As Mother Told Me is the personal story of the late Princess Mother (1900-1995) from her humble origins from a commoner family in Thonburi, to her eventual rank as mother to two Thai kings. Recorded as a memoir by her only daughter, HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra (1923-2008), it was originally published in Thai in 1980 as Mae Lao Hai Fang, becoming one of the most widely-read royal biographies.









The Renaissance Princess Lectures: In Honour of Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn on Her Fifth Cycle Anniversary

Articles by: Thanpuying Tasniya Punyagupta, Toem Meetem, Weerachai Nanakorn, Piriya Krairiksh, Martin Polkinghorne, Christophe Pottier and Christian Fischer, Chris Baker and Pasuk Phongpaichit, Dhiravat na Pombejra, John Guy, ML Pattaratorn Chirapravati, and Peter Skilling Baht 1,200

A distinguished scholar, historian, linguist, author, musician, and artist, Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn deserves to be recognized as Thailand's "Renaissance Princess" for her many talents and outstanding record of public service. In celebration of Her Royal Highness' 5th cycle anniversary and to honour her many accomplishments, the Siam Society invited prominent scholars in the fields of history, art history, archaeology and culture to present lectures on their recent research and fields of interest.








Sombat Sayam : the Siam Society collection

Prepared by: Eileen Deeley, Euayporn Kerdchouay, Rita Ringis, Dawn F. Rooney, Thweep Rittinaphakorn, Ruth Gerson, Chris Baker, and Pairin Kankaew Baht 1,200

Over more than a century, the Siam Society has acquired many beautiful, valuable, and historically important objects, mostly as donations from members and friends. This book presents a selection of the best in the collection, including woodcarvings, Buddha images, paintings, textiles, ceramics, maps and masks.

Each piece has been identified and explained by a team of experts. All have been beautifully photographed by Pairin Kankaew.

This sumptuous book is a perfect gift - to yourself or to someone else.






Before Siam: Essays in Art and Archaeology

Edited by Nicolas Revire & Stephen A. Murphy Baht 1,000

The birth of Siam has been traditionally marked by the founding of the great city-states of Sukhothai and Ayutthaya respectively. These civilisations, however, grew out of a rich milieu of cultures and traditions in the region present from as far back as prehistoric times. Whether the Mon Buddhism that flourished during the so-called Dvaravati period, the architectural heritage of the Khmers or the Brahmanical and Mahayana stimuli of the Malay Peninsula, these varied aspects and influences came together to shape what became early Siam and today modern Thailand.

The aim of this peer-reviewed publication is to present new research and discoveries to reconstruct the cultures, religious persuasions and artistic traditions in pre-modern Thailand and its neighbouring regions. Through a large array of contributions by renowned experts, the public and academics alike will gain a richer and more multifaceted appreciation of this early history which played such a formative role in the birth of Siam.





Seventeenth Century Siamese Explorations

By Prof. Michael Smithies Baht 500

In the seventeenth century, Siamese explored Europe and Europeans explored Siam. Some of these explorations resulted in enlightenment and discovery, others in deception and death.

In this collection of 20 articles, Michael Smithies recounts both the grand dramas in this cultural collision as well as some more obscure but perhaps more telling tales. What really happened during the Macassar Revolt? What became of Madame Constance’s jewels? What trail of events brought cadet Beauregard to an untimely death in Pegu? How did Robert de Challe write books on Siam without ever visiting the country? How did a lion arrive in Narai’s Lopburi, and what was its fate? Was the Jesuit Guy Tachard a saint or a schemer? How did Europeans become governors of Siam’s three major ports, and what became of them? What are the true details of Constance Phaulkon’s final hours?

Michael Smithies has published 60 books and 55 articles on Southeast Asia, with a concentration on Siam in the seventeenth century. This volume is published to mark his 80th birthday.



Five Hundred Years of Thai-Portuguese Relations: A Festschrift

Edited by Prof. Michael Smithies (SOLD OUT)

Thai-PortugueseOne does not often get the chance to celebrate 500 years of smooth diplomatic relations, so this year the Thai and Portuguese governments are making the most of the occasion.

The Siam Society, Under Royal Patronage, was invited by the Thai Ministry of Foreign Affairs to produce a volume in English to mark the event, and the Society commissioned one of its Honorary Members, the historian Professor Michael Smithies, to compile the book. He contacted specialists in the field for contributions and included a few articles which had already appeared in print and were relevant, filling some of the gaps in the overall picture.

The result is this collection of articles, most being original, a few reprints, which seek to explain and contribute to the mutual respect and understanding of these long-standing and mutually beneficial relations.

The volume comes with reproductions of early maps and sells at Bt 500.




Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia: Towards a Chronology of Thai Trade Ware

By Roxanna M. Brown Baht 800

minggapShipwrecks discovered throughout Southeast Asia and the precious cargoes they contain represent invaluable information for the study of ceramics and international trade networks. However, these treasure troves of Thai, Vietnamese and Chinese trade wares have rarely been published. ‘The Ming Gap and Shipwreck Ceramics in Southeast Asia: Toward a Chronology of Thai Trade Ware’ by Roxanna M. Brown traces the changes and developments in this trade between Southeast Asia and China during the 14th – 16th centuries and in doing so proposes for the first time a chronology of Thai trade wares.

With a database presented through 30 tables and over 250 colour illustrations including Sukhothai and Sawankhalok celadon wares, Vietnamese enamels and Chinese blue and white porcelain, this book represents an invaluable work of reference and a visual collection of the beauty of Southeast Asian ceramics.





Through Woven Heritage: The Textiles of Thailand

By Vithi Phanichphant Baht 800

textileThe book “Through Woven Heritage: The Textiles of Thailand” outlines the general knowledge on textile use and production in traditional cultures through various regions of the kingdom since ancient times. The content provides historical background based on archaeological finds in the country and various materials and technical know-how employed in creating textile crafts. Each geographical region of Thailand and its ethnic composition nurture characteristic features of weaving in picturesque northern, northeastern, central and peninsular southern regions. Diffusion with the neighboring cultures of Burma, Laos, Cambodia, and Malaysia also enrich the textile traditions of the Thais. The textile culture includes the past practice of importing specific fabrics designed for aristocratic functions, court wear, and royal ceremonies from China and India.






The Customs of Cambodia

By Zhou Daguan
With an additional text on The Temple of Angkor Wat by Louis Finot (1929)
Edited and newly translated from the French by Michael Smithies. Baht 1,295


Zhou Daguan (Chon Ta-Kuan) spent a year in Cambodia from 1297 as part of a Chinese diplomatic mission sent by Timur Khan, the grandson and successor of Kublai Khan, to the court of Indravarman III (reigned 1295 – 1308). The Khmer empire, though under attack, was still powerful and wealthy. Zhou wrote his account some time before 1312.

The text was translated from Chinese into French by Paul Pelliot and published in 1902. It is here edited and newly translated from the French by Michael Smithies.

As Pelliot pointed out in his translation of the text in 1902, Zhou Daguan’s is the only account to come down to us describing daily life in the Khmer empire. True, the empire had passed its zenith, and a fundamental shift to Theravada Buddhism was occurring, but that does not diminish its value. Seen in conjunction with the bas-reliefs at Angkor, particularly the Bapuon, the Bayon, and Angkor Wat, the text tells us a good deal about how people lived then and how society was organized. Although it is undoubtedly occasionally inaccurate or incomplete — Zhou seems to have depended on members of the Chinese community in Angkor for some of his information, and many of his views were typical of those of a Chinese male chauvinist — it is, as a record of daily life, considerably more informative than the numerous stele erected in temples by kings pompously proclaiming their greatness.

This new edition is greatly expanded on previous editions, with far more illustrations, and the whole text has been revised to take account of recent scholarship. It also has the very important additional text of Louis Finot on Angkor Wat, which has been brought up to date by Jacques Dumarçay, and a series of remarkable EFEO photographs from the 1920s illustrating the Churning of the Sea of Milk.

The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya

A Synoptic Translation by Richard D. Cushman. Introduced and Edited by David K. Wyatt.
Baht 1,200

ayutthayaIn the sack of Ayutthaya in 1767, most of the historical records of the Siamese Kingdom were destroyed. The early Bangkok kings collected what little could be found of the old chronicles. But even most of these collections later disappeared from view. Only later were seven major versions and several smaller fragments rediscovered and published in the original Thai.

In the early 1970s, a young American scholar in Texas, Richard D. Cushman, decided to translate all the known versions of the Ayutthaya chronicles into English, creating a master translation showing all the variations. He worked on this enormous task for almost 20 years. In 1991, when he had virtually reached the end, he tragically died.

His work was painstaking. He photocopied the different versions, laid them side-by-side, and tracked word-by-word differences between eight different versions. The result is an epic of 375,000 words.

Richard Cushman was not only a talented linguist, but also an outstanding writer. His translation is meticulous, exceptionally faithful to the original, and often beautifully poetic.

David K. Wyatt, the John Stambaugh Professor of History at Cornell University, and translator of several Thai chronicles, edited Cushman’s work for publication. Both Professor Wyatt and the Siam Society have ensured that the manuscript is unchanged from Richard Cushman’s monumental efforts.

The Royal Chronicles of Ayutthaya are a unique record of 400 years of Thai history. The task of making them available in English has taken quarter of a century. The Cushman translation will undoubtedly become a classic, valued by historians for its extraordinary scholarship.

The Siam Society: A Century

By William Warren

siam centuryOne hundred years ago, on February 26, 1904 a group of Thais and Western residents of Bangkok gathered at the Oriental Hotel. Their purpose was to establish an organization that would meet to exchange and disseminate reliable information about the kingdom’s history, archaeology, anthropology, languages, natural history, and other subjects.

The Siam Society was the result of the meeting. Over the century since, despite wars and other difficult periods, it has adhered steadfastly to its original aims. It has published an annual Journal as well as a Natural History Bulletin which together cover a wide range of learned studies. In addition it has held regular meetings, offered countless lectures by experts in their field of study, arranged field trips for members to places of interest in Thailand and abroad, and sponsored numerous projects to advance causes as varied as the restoration of temple murals and the importance of environmental conservation.

The centenary book, written by William Warren, not only tells the story of an institution respected worldwide for its learning but also elaborates on some of the remarkable men and women who have been responsible for its achievements.

Footprints of The Buddhas of This Era in Thailand

By Virginia McKeen Di Crocco Baht 500

footprintThis book traces the evolution of Buddha Footprints from early origins in India to the creation of magnificent gold version in honor of Queen Sirikit’s Fifth Cycle in 1992.

Early Footprints were natural impressions in rock. Later the Footprint became an important medium for illustrating Buddhist cosmology.

Virginia Di Crocco’s deeply researched text explains how the iconography changed in Buddha Footprints in Thailand and adjacent areas according to developments in beliefs about the world. The book is a landmark record of the practice of making Buddha Footprints, as well as a contribution to the religious and artistic history of Southeast Asia.

Virginia McKeen Di Crocco is a long-time resident of Bangkok and an honorary member of the Siam Society under Royal Patronage. She has published widely on the ceramics, design, and art history of Southeast Asia.



Witnesses to a Revolution: Siam 1688

Edited and translated by Michael Smithies Baht 500

witnessIntrigue, mystery, murder, double-dealing, corruption, and deception are all found in the accounts of the twelve persons (three of whom are anonymous and hitherto unpublished) who describe here their roles in the dramatic events of 1688 in Siam surrounding the coup d’état of Phetracha and the death of King Narai.

The succession was complicated by the role of Constantine Phaulkon, a Greek adventurer who acted, without the title, as minister of foreign affairs and trade, and who cultivated the French presence in the country to support his own position. The French had stationed troops in Bangkok, “the key to the Kingdom” and Mergui, on the Bay of Bengal, and became hopelessly embroiled in events beyond their comprehension, leading to their retreat in November that year.

Professor Michael Smithies, Honorary Member of the Siam Society, has studied this period for several years. He has done a great service in bringing together and translating these texts. They give fascinating insights into the conspiracies, self-interest and betrayal that characterized so many of the participants. His book is a serious work of scholarship, but can also be read as an adventure.

The Society of Siam: Selected Articles for The Siam Society's Centenary

Edited by Chris Baker. Bangkok, Siam Society, 2004 Baht 800

societyThese articles from the last 50 years of the Journal of the Siam Society show why Thailand is such a fun place to live and to study. The pregnancy of the rice goddess. Cremating an abbot with a tug-or-war. Sexy scenes on wat walls. How to court a northern girl. Karen riddles. Spirit doctors who remove calamity. The varieties of hell. The beauty of rice. Spirit cults. The structure of the monkhood. The marquis de Sade and Bangkok traffic. The guardians of the city. The cult of the King’s Spirit. The door to the underworld. How to sing in Isan. Shadow puppets. Love poetry. Political novels. Historical movies. All this in 409 pages.

  • Alec Gordon
  • Anan Ganjanapan
  • Andrew Turton
  • Benjamin A. Batson
  • Charles F. Keyes
  • Euayporn Kerdchouay
  • Frank E. Reynolds
  • Gehan Wijeyewardene
  • Grant A. Olson
  • Hjorleifur Jonsson
  • Jane Bunnag
  • Jarernchai Chonpairot
  • Jeremy H. Kemp
  • John P. Ferguson
  • K.I. Matics
  • Kraisri Nimmanhaeminda
  • Manas Chitakasem
  • Michael Smithies
  • Napat Sirisambhand
  • Phya Anuman Rajadhon
  • Puey Ungphakorn
  • Richard A. O'Connor
  • Shalardehai Ramitanondh
  • Sunait Chutintharanon
  • Suriya Ratanakul
  • Terry B. Miller

Dedications to Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana on her 80th birthday

Baht 700

dDedications is a collection of fourteen articles written by the President of the Privy Council and Statesman, and noted scholars working in various fields of Thai studies. As the title shows, the collection is offered to HRH Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra on the auspicious occasion of her eightieth birthday. Her Royal Highness has been Honorary President of the Siam Society since 1984. She is a tireless supporter of the Society’s cultural activities, attending many lectures, including those given by some of the contributors to this volume. Her broad interests are reflected in the wide scope of articles, which range from prehistoric excavations to the sets produced for a Thai opera first performed in Bangkok in 2003.

This fascinating 255-page volume, with many illustrations in colour, is at a bargain price of 699 baht. It is certain to became a collector’s item.





Art and Art-Industry in Siam

By Charles Doehring Baht 3,500 (SOLD OUT)

art 19" x 25", 2 vols. 1999, ill. (First published in 1915)
Baht 5,000 (or equivalent in foreign currency)

This new special limited edition commemorates His Majesty King Bhumibol Adulyadej's Sixth Cycle Anniversary. This extremely rare book, the new edition in a beautiful two-volume set with the brass emblem of the Sixth Cycle symbol on the cover, was one of the first books published in English about Thai art. It is, to this day, considered the most exquisite and the best ever compiled book on Siamese lacquer work in black and gold. The drawings include significant lacquer works of the Kingdom at the beginning of the twentieth century, most of which have since disappeared, deteriorated, been repainted, or now reside in private collections. Proceeds will go to the Centennial Endowment Fund to ensure continuity of the Society's mission and programs for the next 100 years.


Cultural Representation in Transition: New Vietnamese Painting 1997

Baht 300

The arts are flourishing in Vietnam today. Hundreds of painters are at work in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, and other Vietnamese cities. They work in a broad range of styles and themes, building on techniques developed in French colonial times, but related to the issues that concern Vietnamese people today. This full color trilingual catalogue (English, Vietnamese and Thai) includes essays by Mr. Chatvichai Promadhattavedi, Mr. Nguyen Quan and Mr. Neil Jamieson that make scholarly contributions to the understanding of Vietnamese art.

The Connection Phuket, Penang and Adelaide

By Ian Morson, 1993. 126 pp., ill.

Baht 350

An account of Francis Light's 15 years in Phuket before he founded Penang, portraying the peoples of the islands between 1770 and 1794, with an intriguing connection between Phuket, Penang and the city of Adelaide.

Early Accounts of Phetchaburi

Introduction by Michael Smithies, 1987. 90 pp., ill.

Baht 230

Ten essays give a feeling for the enduring attraction of this 19th century point of excursion-popular even before King Mongkut built his palace there on the "Mountain of the Highest Heaven."

Environment and Culture with Emphasis on Urban Issues

1993, 461 pp., ill.

Baht 150

Proceedings of the Siam Society symposium in Chiang Mai in February 1992, where 30 distinguished authorities from Thailand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore and the Philippines presented their views on how to achieve sustainable growth in this urban age, while protecting our fragile environment.

Gardening in Bangkok

By William Warren and Ping Amranand, 1996, 240 pp., ill.

Baht 400

A new printing of M.R. Pimsai's pioneering work, designed "to assist Bangkok gardeners in a practical way." William Warren has brought this classic up-to-date, while retaining M.R. Pimsai's unique voice, described by John Blofeld as "vivid, natural, and compelling-a style based on the principle that people should write very much as they talk" (from the Preface). Ping Amranand's 136 photographs have been re-edited and integrated with the text.

A History of Wat Phra Chetuphon and its Buddha Images

By Kathleen I. Matics, 1979. 71 pp., ill.

Baht 150

Comprehensive introduction to the fascinating-and historically and artistically important-Bangkok temple popularly known as Wat Po.

The Singing Ape: a Journey to the Jungle of Thailand

By Jeremy and Patricia Raemaekers, 1990. 142 pp., ill.

Baht 150

A light-hearted account of the two years the authors spent studying gibbons in Thailand's tropical rain forests.