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An Asian Arcady: the Land and Peoples of Northern Siam

    Naturevolume 120page78 (1927) | Download Citation

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    NORTHERN SIAM—the Lao country—has received little attention from travellers, and although the teak trade has attracted not a few Europeans, information about it is scanty. This is the more to be regretted as it well deserves Mr, le May's designation of ‘Arcady,’ and its people ethno-logically present many points of interest. This account of the country and its people is therefore welcome, especially as it is illustrated by a large number of excellent photographs. The author has dealt with his subject historically and analytically in an ethnographic account of Lao customs and beliefs, which, though not systematic, contains many interesting data; and descriptively, in an account of a journey through the country. He has also included extracts from the references of early travellers. The first of these is Marco Polo, who, however, did not visit the Lao himself. The Lao were originally an offshoot of the Tai from China, and ethnologically they stand midway between the Shan and the Siamese. Nominally Buddhist, their beliefs are largely animistic, with a firm belief in the power of witches. A characteristic practice is that of roasting the mother of a new-born child, a custom also followed in the Malay peninsula—in a recently reported case with fatal results.

    An Asian Arcady: the Land and Peoples of Northern Siam.

    Recinald

    le May

    By. Pp. xiv + 274 + 64 plates. (Cambridege: W. Heffer and Sons, Ltd.; London: Simpkin, Marshall and Co., Ltd., 1926.) 21s. net.

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    https://doi.org/10.1038/120078b0

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