The Ancient Tai


    So much for the expension of the Shan race; but it is well to remember that the expansion of a race is one thing and that the origin of a race is quite another. We know where the early home of the Chinese was above four thousand years ago at the beginning of their origin. The early home of the Shans may have been, and probably was, in the ravines and valleys of Sze-ch'uan, but this is farfrom saying that they originated there.
    The Chinese seem to have come in touch with a Shan tribe called "Great Mung", at the time of the "geograpical survey which goes under the name of the Great Yu". The western part of Sze-ch'uan is given as their habitat, and the time is put at more than two thousand years. Two other Shan tribes of Sze-ch'uan are mentioned a litter (1917 B.C.), the Lung and the Pa. It may be form the former that the Kui-lung range of mountains takes its name. Kui is a Shan word that might event now be very properly used of a mountainous wilderness, and the name may mean "the Wilderness of the Lung" or the "Lung Wilderness". Still another branch of the Shan family (or another name for the same branch), the Lao, has already been mentioned. If these Shans had their early home "at the intersection of Honan, Hupeh, and An-hwei provinces", and later extended westward in the Kui-lung range, it would give us a belt of Shans (Mung, Lung, Pa, Pang and Lao) on the left of the Yangtse reaching from western Sze-ch'uam almost to the sea, bringing us up in Kingsu, where we started in our linguistic survey. The Lao mountains may have taken their name from this latter Shan tribe.


"The Hua man had to acknowledge that the new savage lands they were appropriating provided many useful things. From the natives of the rich south they obtained stones and metals, handsome pearls and feathers for the ceremonies of their courts and temples, and bamboo and rhinoceros hides for the arrows and breastplates of their aristocratic fighting men".
"It wat not difficult for the Hua men to admit that the best arms and armour, or the materials for them, had to be obtained from unlettered aliens. But it was less easy for them to ackmowledge, or even to realize, that they borrowed idead from foreigners". (Ancient China, 1968 Time-Life, p. 15-16.)

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  • THE SHANS, by W.W. Cochrane, Member of the Royal Asiatic Society of Great Britain and Ireland,
  • THE TAI RACE RESEARCH, by Luang Vichitvatrakran, Colonel, Bangkok, Thailand, 1969 1