Hats in Thailand: Fashion history

Hats in Thailand: Fashion history

From the hats of noble people to farmer hats to the western hats of King Rama V's reign, hats have a long history in Thailand.

The photos on this page are from the exhibition at Museum Siam: Hat Tricks: Secret Stories Under Siamese Headwear, open daily from 10am to 6pm until Dec 9, except Mondays. 

Above is the Chada worn in the Ramakien dance drama. Below is the tall lom phok worn during the reign of King Narai and the ngob worn by farmers. 

Click button to listen to History of Hats in Thailand download

People

Hat trick & beyond

Exhibition explores what hats say about the wearer, and what they could be hiding
5/09/2012
Sirinya Wattanasukchai

If you think hats are just a fashion accessory, think again... hats are more than just a cover against the sun or rain, according to researcher Pachat Tiptus, senior exhibition coordinator at Museum Siam...

... [The] lom phok ... [is a] ... a tall, white-pleated hat widely used during the reign of King Narai. Pachat believed this unique hat was adapted from the turban worn by rulers of Persia's Safavid Dynasty and later transformed to chada dancers' headgear used in the ancient khon (mask performance) in the royal court in the early Ayutthaya era. It eventually became the headwear of Siamese ambassadors to Europe during King Narai's reign.

...There is a debate whether chada really qualifies as something truly Thai.

''Chada is seen to represent Thainess in advertisement posters. But when a foreigner arrives in the kingdom, does he or she see anyone wearing a chada on the street?'' Pachat questioned.

There are three chada items on display ... the last is the controversial chada worn by Lady Gaga onstage during her performance in Bangkok recently.
 
... Farmers also wore headgear, a bamboo-hat called ngob, to protect them from the heat. ...Unlike typical headgear that is worn close to the head, the space between the head and the top of the hat allows airflow to run inside, making it cooler.

The seventh section, ''Hat: A Symbol of the Civilised'', is all about the hats worn by those at the top of society during the period of King Rama V. The section shows a set of black-and-white photographs of the king, noble people and expats - all wearing hats which represented an element of Western culture that was adopted by Siamese society - sometimes out of local context - during the influx of foreigners.

According to Pachat, the use of hats was a ''symbol of the civilised'' mainly because they didn't really protect one's head back then. Despite living in tropical climate, people still wore felt hats - the same as those worn in the West. Moreover, he noted, bowler hats were also widely worn among the noble people in Siam although it was only popular among the working class in England. Thai people always look up to Western culture with admiration, the researcher said.

... One of the exhibition's highlights is the voice clip of national artist Mantana Morakul, a renowned songstress who was also a hat-wearing campaigner during the government of Field Marshal Pibulsonggram.

It was a time when the hat became a political tool for the government to encourage the people to wear it in public, the researcher said.

And in the voice clip, Mantana, now aged 90, recalled a light-hearted story of a time when she was caught red handed by the field marshal after appearing in public without a hat....

(Source: Bangkok Post, People, Hat trick & beyond, Exhibition explores what hats say about the wearer, and what they could be hiding
5/09/2012,  Sirinya Wattanasukchai, link


Thail Fashion History Vocabulary

Museum Siam - a museum in Bangkok that has a lot of interesting exhibits on Thailand, especially about Thai history (See Thai Wikipedia)

exhibition (noun) - a public event displaying objects of interest (either commercial or artistic) นิทรรศการ, งานแสดง
exhibit (verb, noun)
the exhibition explores what hats say about the wearer, and what they could be hiding

fashion - popular styles in clothing during a period of time (See Wikipedia)

hat - a head covering (See Wikipedia)

felt hat - "in the early part of the 20th century, felt hats, such as fedoras, trilbies and homburgs, were worn by many men in the western world" (See Wikipedia)

bowler hat -
a hard felt hat that is round on top, was popular with the working class during the reign of Queen Victorian in England though, it became the official work uniform of bankers (See Wikipedia)

headgear - a hat (more general word that could include things not normally thought of as hats) (See Wikipedia)
farmers wore headgear to protect them from the heat

hat trick - three goals scored by one player in one game (this is a play on words)
play on words -
when a word or phrase has two meanings (so nice to read and think about) (See Wikipedia)

Hat Tricks: Secret Stories Under Siamese Headwear Open daily from 10am to 6pm until Dec 9, except Mondays. 
hat trick & beyond

fashion accessory - something that a person wears along with their main outfit, not the main part, such as a a bag, hat, handbag, shoes, jewelry, sunglasses belts, scarves or ties (See Wikipedia)

coordinator - someone whose job is to organise the various parts of an activity and make sure that all the people involved work well together ผู้ประสานงาน ประสานงานกัน ทำงานร่วมกัน
exhibition coordinator

If you think hats are just a fashion accessory, think again... hats are more than just a cover against the sun or rain, according to researcher Pachat Tiptus, senior exhibition coordinator at Museum Siam...

King Narai (1633 –1688) - the most famous Ayutthaya king whose palace is in Lopburi สมเด็จพระนารายณ์มหาราช  (See Wikipedia)

reign - a period of time during when a king or queen rules a country ช่วงเวลาครองราชย
the reign of King Narai

unique - very special, unusual or good; on of a kind and not like others ที่มีลักษณะพิเศษ เป็นเอกลักษณ์
a unique hat

Persia's Safavid Dynasty - an important period of history from 1501 to 1722 in what is now Iran (See Wikipedia)
dynasty - a family whose members rule a country for a long period of time ราชวงศ์

turban -
cloth wrapped around the head, a form of headwear (See Wikipedia)
worn
- damaged by continuous use, rubbing or movement ซึ่งใช้จนเก่า, ซึ่งใช้จนเสื่อม

turban worn by rulers of Persia's Safavid Dynasty

transformed
- changed
transformed to chada dancers' headgear used in ancient khon (mask performance) in royal court in the early Ayutthaya era.

eventually became the headwear of Siamese ambassadors to Europe during King Narai's reign.

royal court - connected with the place where the king, queen and the royal family live
the royal court in the early Ayutthaya era

eventually
- at the end of a period of time or at the end of a process ในที่สุด

pleated - with folds
adapted from - created using the same idea or form as (the original)

ancient - very old ที่เก่าแก่ ที่โบราณ
performance -  when music, a play or dance is done (performed) on a stage in front of an audience

khon - a type of dance drama from Thailand "traditionally performed solely in the royal court, by men in masks accompanied by narrators and a traditional piphat ensemble" โขน (See Wikipedia)

... [The] lom phok ... [is a] ... a tall, white-pleated hat widely used during the reign of King Narai. Pachat believed this unique hat was adapted from the turban worn by rulers of Persia's Safavid Dynasty and later transformed to chada dancers' headgear used in ancient khon (mask performance) in royal court in the early Ayutthaya era. It eventually became the headwear of Siamese ambassadors to Europe during King Narai's reign.

debate - a discussion or formal argument on an issue between people with different views (See Wikipedia)
qualifies as X - has everything need to be a X or be called an X

...There is a debate whether chada really qualifies as something truly Thai.

Chada - the big hat worn in the Ramakien dance, shown in the photo at top of page
Ramakien -
the Thai dance drama that tells the story of the ancient Indian King Rama รามเกียรติ์ (See Wikipedia)

Thainess
- the quality or state of being Thai ความเป็นไทย (See Wiktionary)

represent
- to act, speak or be present officially for another person or people เป็นตัวแทน
Chada is seen to represent Thainess in advertisement posters

controversial - causing disagreement or disapproval; something that people disagree about a lot and argue about ความขัดแย้ง ความไม่ลงรอยกัน  ซึ่งก่อให้เกิดการโต้แย้ง ที่เป็นที่ขัดแย้ง
controversial Chada worn by Lady Gaga

''Chada is seen to represent Thainess in advertisement posters. But when a foreigner arrives in the kingdom, does he or she see anyone wearing a chada on the street?'' Pachat questioned. There are three chada items on display ... the last is the controversial chada worn by Lady Gaga onstage during her performance in Bangkok recently.

bamboo - a tree with high poles found in Asia ต้นไผ่, ไม้ไผ่
a bamboo-hat called ngob

airflow - the movement of air (especially around something like the outside of an automobile or airplane)
the hat allows airflow to run inside, making it cooler

... Farmers also wore headgear, a bamboo-hat called ngob, to protect them from the heat. ...Unlike typical headgear that is worn close to the head, the space between the head and the top of the hat allows airflow to run inside, making it cooler.

symbol - something such as a picture that represents another thing (or creates thoughts or pictures in the mind or associations about that thing)  เครื่องหมาย, สัญลักษณ์

civilised - a country, society or group of people with an advanced culture and institutions ศิวิไลซ์, ผู้มีวัฒนธรรม, อารยประเทศ   
symbol of the civilised

... back then - in the past (during the time period talked about) 

noble -
highborn, upperclass ชั้นสูง, มีตระกูล, สูงศักดิ์, 
noble people - people who have a position high in society; high-ranking members of a royal family คนชั้นสูง, คนสูงส่ง, คนสูงศักดิ์

expats - people living outside their own country

an element of Western culture
that was adopted by Siamese society

context - the general situation in which something happens that helps explain that thing
out of context - not in the situation in which something usually happens or is seen (example: western hats were out of context in Siam)

local - in or related to the area that you live, or to the particular area that you are talking about ท้องถิ่น
out of local context

influx -
many people or things coming into a place
influx of foreigners


The seventh section, ''Hat: A Symbol of the Civilised'', is all about the hats worn by those at the top of society during the period of King Rama V. The section shows a set of black-and-white photographs of the king, noble people and expats - all wearing hats which represented an element of Western culture that was adopted by Siamese society - sometimes out of local context - during the influx of foreigners.

tropical - relating to the hottest area of the Earth, between the Tropic of Cancer and the Tropic of Capricorn ในเขตร้อน
climate - the general weather conditions usually found in a particular place สภาพอากาศ
tropical climate - warm area of the world, closer the equator

working class -
people who work in factories and lower paid manual work (with hands) (See Wikipedia)

culture -
the way of life of a group of people วัฒนธรรม (See Wikipedia)
Western culture - the way of life of people who live in Europe, the US, Australia, etc (See Wikipedia)

look up to (verb) - respect, think very well of, think highly of
look up to Western culture

admiration
(noun) - same as "looking up to"

According to Pachat, the use of hats was a ''symbol of the civilised'' mainly because they didn't really protect one's head back then. Despite living in tropical climate, people still wore felt hat - the same as those worn in the West. Moreover, he noted, bowler hats were also widely worn among the noble people in Siam although it was only popular among the working class in England. Thai people always look up to Western culture with admiration, the researcher said.

highlight - an important thing
one of the exhibition's highlights is ...

voice clip
- a short recoding of a person speaking (like a "video clip")

national artist -
the title given to famous artists in Thailand

renowned - famous and admired for a special skill or achievement ที่มีชื่อเสียง
renowned songstress - a famous singer

campaigner
- a person who takes part in organized activities which are intended to change something in society ผู้ต่อสู้,ผู้รณรงค์,ผู้โฆษณาเผยแพร่
hat-wearing compaigner

... One of the exhibition's highlights is the voice clip of national artist Mantana Morakul, a renowned songstress who was also a hat-wearing campaigner during the government of Field Marshal Pibulsonggram.

encourage - make people interested in and excited about doing an activity ปลุกใจ
encourage people to wear a hat

It was a time when the hat became a political tool for the government to encourage the people to wear it in public, the researcher said.

light-hearted -
funny, happy, not serious
light-hearted story - a funny happy story (not serious)

recalled - remembered นึกทบทวน จำได้
recalled a light-hearted story

field marshal - the highest level of general in the army or military

caught - past of "catch" 
catch -
1. stop and hold something; control and stop from leaving; 2. arrest จับ

caught red handed - when a criminal or wrongdoer is caught when they were actually doing the crime or bad thing
caught red handed by the field marshal after appearing in public without a hat....

And in the voice clip, Mantana, now aged 90, recalled a light-hearted story of a time when she was caught red handed by the field marshal after appearing in public without a hat....

Do you like the content of this article?
COMMENT