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Fashions of Lanna

class versus clothes

Whoever said that Clothes do not make the man may not have been familiar with ancient Thai culture. From the very beginnings of Thai civilization in the 5th century A.D. - the Dvarati Period - the hierarchy of society was clearly defined; rank and social position were all-important. Kings, princes, nobility merchants and slaves each had their own place in society and were accorded specific worth as well as rights and privileges commensurate with their individual status. The levels of social strata were quite distinct and those of lower classes deferred to the higher classes in every respect.

The separation of social classes was even more clearly established in the manner and style of dress. There was never any uncertainty identifying nobility from commoner; tradesman from slave; princess from housewife. Each social class had its special mode of dress and certain types of apparel were exclusively for royalty and the upper classes.

These illustrations portray the popular costume of both the nobility and the working classes of the Chiang Saen-Lanna Period - 11th to 13th Centuries A.D.

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