Year published :2012

Pages :436 pp.

Size :17x24 cm.

ISBN: 9786169005339

Chronicles of Sipsòng Panna: History and Society of a Tai Lü Kingdom Twelfth to Mid‐twentieth Century

by Mekong Press

Foon Ming Liew‐Herres, Volker Grabowsky, and Renoo Wichasin

37 color photographs, 9 maps, bibliography, index

The Tai Lü are a Tai‐speaking group closely related to the Khon Müang or Tai Yuan, the dominant ethnic group in Northern Thailand. According to their own historical tradition, the ancestors of the Tai Lü migrated from what is now northwestern Vietnam into the southern part of Yunnan, where they founded their own kingdom in the twelfth century. Through various waves of voluntary migration as well as forced resettlement, especially in the first half of the nineteenth century, they have spread over a large area in the upper Mekong region—roughly one million people living in the four nation‐states of China, Thailand, Burma, and Laos. In pre‐modern times their petty states, particularly the Sipsòng Panna polity, were zones where the spheres of influence of greater powers overlapped. Now, in the so‐called “Economic Quadrangle” of the Upper Mekong, which plays an increasingly significant economic and geopolitical role, the Tai Lü are the most important population group.

Chronicle of Sipsòng Panna offers the first English translation of four different versions of the Chronicle of Moeng Lü (also known as Sipsòng Panna) from the oldest extant manuscripts. Along with extensive annotation, this volume provides a comprehensive analysis of Tai Lü historical sources and, based on these sources, a valuable introduction to the history and society of the Upper Mekong region. It will appeal to scholars of Thai/Tai history, society, culture, and philology, and to general readers who are interested in this region.


  • First English translation of the Chronicle of Moeng Lü (Sipsòng Panna) from four extant versions: History of Moeng Lü, based on Li‐Fuyi (1947a)
  • The Chronicles of the Forty‐Four Reigns of the Cao Phaendin of Sipsòng Panna, based on the Tai Lü manuscript of 1963
  • The Genealogy of the Cao Phaendin of Moeng Lü, based on Li Fuyi (1947b)
  • The Genealogy of the Cao Phaendin of Sipsòng Panna, based on Gao Lishi (1981)
  • Full introduction to the history and society of the Upper Mekong region
  • Fully annotated

About the Authors

Foon Ming Liew‐Herres is a Sinologist specializing in the history of the Ming dynasty and Ming historiography, and the author of the Treatises on Military Affairs of the Ming Dynastic History (1998). Her field of research has in the last decade extended to Sino‐Tai relations in Yunnan and mainland Southeast Asia.

Volker Grabowsky, Professor of Thai Studies at the University of Hamburg, has published extensively on the history of the Tai polities in the Upper Mekong basin.

Renoo Wichasin was Associate Professor of Thai Philology at Chiang Mai University. She is one of the leading experts in Tai manuscript cultures. Together with Volker Grabowsky she has co‐authored Chronicles of Chiang Khaeng: A Tai Lü Principality of the Upper Mekong (2008).


    Northern Thailand | Tai chronicles | Sipsòng Panna | Tai Lü | Upper Mekong | Manuscript studies | historiography

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