UNITED24 - Make a charitable donation in support of Ukraine!


Thailand - Si Wichai Kingdom (Sri Vijaya) P'an-p'an - 420-617

The Si Wichai Kingdom (Sri Vijaya in the Pali form) established itself in the South. Sri Vijaya has been referred to as early as Circa AD 150 by Ptolemy under the form Samarade; and a thousand years later— itself or its territory have been recorded in the Angkorwat inscriptions under a similar name — Sydma-kuta or Syama-huta (or Kota).

Kaundinya, a Brahman from India, having been notified by an oracle that he was called to reign upon Fu-nan [Kamboja], proceeded south [from Eastern India] until he reached the country of P'an-p'an, whither a deputation from the people of Fu-nan came to meet him, and proclaimed him King. This occurred in about AD 420-450. The position of Pan-p'an must have been in the northern part of the Malay Peninsula, bordering upon the Gulf of Siam, at a point where overland communication was practicable with the Bay of Bengal. Therefore, this State was probably located around the north-western corner of the Gulf of Siam. P'an-p'an must not have been far away from the sea, as Ma Tuan-lin relates that the people of that district chiefly inhabited the sea-board. In fixing its location, it must be borne in mind that fourteen centuries ago, the period at which Chinese relations with P'an-p'an commenced, the sea penetrated many miles further up the Menam Delta than it does at present.

Ma Tuan-lin, relates that "The kingdom of P'an-p'an entered into relations with China at the time of the Liang" [AD 502-507]. Ma Tuan-lin repored that the people lived chiefly about the sea-shore. These barbarians know not how to build defensive walls; they remain content with erecting stockades. The King was wont to lounge upon a gilt couch shaped like a dragon. The dignitaries of his entourage attended in a kneeling posture in front of him, the body erect, and the arms crossed in such a manner that the hands rest upon the shoulders. At his Court may be seen many Brahmans, who had come from India in order to profit by his munificence; they were all in great favor with him.

Ma Tuan-lin, relates that the arrows employed in the kingdom of P-an-p'an were tipped with heads made of a very hard stone; spears are fitted with blades sharpened on their double cutting edges. This statement shows that stone implements—arrow-heads, at any rate—were used until at least the fifth century AD in Siam and the Malay Peninsula, iron being still sparingly employed. The view that iron did not become known to the populations of Indo-China until shortly before the beginning of the Christian Era would thus receive further support.

During the periods of Yuan-chia (AD 424-453), Hsiao-chien (454-456) and Ta-ming (457-464), of the Sung dynasty, the King of P'an-p'an regularly offered tribute. The P'ei-wen Yun-fu states: "In the second year of Hsiao-chien (AD 455) the State of P'an-p'an sent an envoy for audience, and to offer tribute. Under the Liang in the first year of Ta-t'ung (AD 527), and also in the fourth year of the same period (AD 530), P'an-p'an again sent ambassadors, who offered amongst other things a Buddha's tooth, little painted spires, and various perfumes. The P'ei-wen Yiin-fu places this same embassy in the first year of Chung-Ta-tung—i.e., AD 529 — and says: "The State of P'an-p'an handed in a letter with a Buddha's tooth and an ornamental pagoda. They also offered £»r«-wood, sandal, and a score or so of such scents." Two years later (AD 532) a new embassy brought images of painted pagodas, She-li (i.e., Mainah) birds from the kingdom of Pu-fi (Bodhi),t leaves from the Bodhi tree, scents, etc. Finally, under the Sui, during the period Ta-yeh (AD 615-617), yet another mission from P'an-p'an was received at Court.

The embassies sent to China range from AD 454 to 617, after which date every mention of Pan-p'an ceases from the Chinese annals. It is not referred to even a score of years later by Hwen-ts'ang, neither is it by I-tsing another fifty years afterwards. The State located at P'an-p'an did continue to exist, only its capital was shortly afterwards removed from the neighborhood of the P'hrah Banthom spire to Sup'han, and the western portion of the State seceded, forming a separate principality, with its capital at Ratburi. At the same time, it is possible that P'an-p'an, being simply its seaport, silted up or became otherwise difficult of access to sea-going craft, and that therefore the latter ceased to call thither, and preferred to put in at Dvarapuri, which had in the meantime grown up into an important emporium, attracting to itself most of the foreign trade, and acting as a distributing centre for merchandise in Southern Siam. Thus P'an-p'an became forgotten by the seafaring folk of that period, and its name ceased to appear in the relations of travellers.

Circa AD 850 KaHka-raja reigned. Circa AD 860 P'hya Kong, son of the preceding, succeeded. A boy, afterwards known as P'hya P'han (Bana) is born to him, but is ordered to be killed, it being predicted that he would murder his father in after years. The boy is, however, saved, and later on goes to Sukhothai. Circa AD 905 P'hya P'han, or Banuraj, having obtained troops from the King of Sukhothai, enters the State of Sri Vijaya, allies himself with the chief of Rajburi (Rajapuri), a feudatory of Sri Vijaya, whose daughter he obtains in marriage, and marches against the Sri Vijaya ruler, P'hya Kong, whom he kills in single fight on elephants, without being aware of this personage being his father, and that therefore he was perpetrating parricide. Rebuilds and enlarges the P'hrah Banthom (or Prathom) spire in order to atone for the atrocious crime committed.

King Ramadhipati, the founder of Ayuthia [in 1350], sent his brother-in-law, Khun Luang I'hangua, to reign over Sup'han-burl as vassal king. From this period the history of the Sup'han State merges into that of Ayuthia. Since 1418 no further royal princes were sent to rule over it as vassals of the Crown, but ordinary governors, with the result that Sup'han dwindled down to the level of a mere province of the kingdom of Siam.

Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list

Page last modified: 08-04-2012 18:43:19 ZULU