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Mong Mao

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Title: Mong Mao  
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Subject: Mong Ping Township, 1370s, Shan States, History of Yunnan, Jinghong
Collection: Former Countries in Asia, Former Countries in Chinese History, History of Yunnan, Shan States, Tai History
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Mong Mao

Mong Mao
State of the ancient Shan States
Location of Möngmao state founded
Modern representation of Mong Mao king Sae Khann Phaa
 •  Möngmao state founded 560
 •  State extinguished 1604

Mong Mao, Möngmao or Mao kingdom (Mong is the etymological equivalent of Thai Mueang, meaning nation) was an ethnically Dai state that controlled several smaller Tai states or chieftainships along the frontier of what is now Myanmar and China in the Dehong region of Yunnan with a capital near the modern-day border town of Ruili. The name of the main river in this region is the Nam Mao, also known as the Shweli River.


  • History 1
  • List of Monarchs 2
  • References 3
  • Notes 4
  • External links 5


The chronicle of this region, titled the Mong Mao Chronicle, was written much later.[1] Some scholars identify Mong Mao with the Kingdom of Pong, as well as with the kingdom of Luh Shwan mentioned in Chinese chronicles. Like most of Tai Yai history, the history of the Kingdom of Pong is largely legendary and existing chronicles and traditions include conflicting names and dates which have led to different interpretations.[2]

Mong Mao arose in the power vacuum left after the Kingdom of Dali in Yunnan fell to the Mongol Yuan Dynasty around 1254. The Yuan ruled the region indirectly in what was known as the Native Chieftain System. This kingdom had asserted some unity over the diversity of ethnic groups residing along the southwest frontier of Yunnan.[3] In 1448, a combination of Ming, Xishuangbanna, and other allied forces subjugated Mong Mao.

"Mong Mao" is sometimes used by authors to refer to the entire group of Tai states along the Chinese-Myanmar frontier including Luchuan-Pingmian, Mong Yang/Mong Yawng?? (Chinese: 孟養; pinyin: Mèngyǎng), and Hsenwi (Chinese: 木邦; pinyin: Mùbāng), even though specific place names are almost always used in Ming and Burmese sources.[4]

The center of power shifted frequently between these smaller states or chieftainships. Sometimes they were unified under one strong leader, sometimes they were not. As the Shan scholar Sai Kam Mong observes: "Sometimes one of these [smaller states] strove to be the leading kingdom and sometimes all of them were unified into one single kingdom ... The capital of the kingdom shifted from place to place, but most of them were located near the Nam Mao river (the "Shweli" on most maps today)" [5]

The various versions of the Mong Mao Chronicle provide the lineage of Mong Mao rulers. The Shan chronicle tradition, recorded very early by Elias (1876), provides a long list with the first ruler of Mong Mao dating from 568 A.D. The dates in Elias for later rulers of Mong Mao do not match very well the dates in Ming dynasty sources such as Ming Shilu (Wade, 2005) and Baiyi Zhuan (Wade, 1996) which are considered more reliable from the time of the ruler Si Kefa. Kazhangjia (1990), translated into Thai by Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hongyun (2001), also provides a fairly detailed local chronicle of Mong Mao.

List of Monarchs

Chinese name Years Length Succession Death Tai Name Other names
Si Kefa 1340–1371 31 years natural Hso Kip Hpa Sa Khaan Pha
Zhao Bingfa 1371–1378 8 years son natural
Tai Bian 1378/79 1 year son murdered
Zhao Xiaofa 1379/80 1 year brother of Zhao Bingfa murdered
Si Wafa ? ? brother murdered Hso Wak Hpa
Si Lunfa 1382–1399 17 years grandson of Si Kefa Hso Long Hpa
Si Xingfa 1404–1413 9 years son abdicated
Si Renfa 1413–1445/6 29 years brother executed Hso Wen Hpa Sa Ngam Pha
Si Jifa 1445/6-1449 son executed Sa Ki Pha, Chau Si Pha
Si Bufa 1449-?
Si Lunfa ?-1532 murdered Sawlon


  • Daniels, Christian (2006) "Historical memories of a Chinese adventurer in a Tay chronicle; Usurpation of the throne of a Tay polity in Yunnan, 1573–1584," International Journal of Asian Studies, 3, 1 (2006), pp. 21–48.
  • Elias, N. (1876) Introductory Sketch of the History of the Shans in Upper Burma and Western Yunnan. Calcutta: Foreign Department Press. (Recent facsimile Reprint by Thai government in Chiang Mai University library).
  • Jiang Yingliang (1983) Daizu Shi [History of the Dai ethnicity], Chengdu: Sichuan Renmin Chubanshe.
  • Kazhangjia, Z. (1990). "Hemeng gumeng: Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [A History of the Kings of Meng Mao]." In Meng Guozhanbi ji Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [History of Kosampi and the kings of Meng Mao]. Gong Xiao Zheng. (tr.) Kunming, Yunnan, Yunnan Minzu Chubanshe.
  • Liew, Foon Ming. (1996) "The Luchuan-Pingmian Campaigns (1436–1449): In the Light of Official Chinese Historiography". Oriens Extremus 39/2, pp. 162–203.
  • Sai Kam Mong (2004) The History and Development of the Shan Scripts, Chiang Mai; Silkworm Books.
  • Wade, Geoff (1996) "The Bai Yi Zhuan: A Chinese Account of Tai Society in the 14th Century," 14th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand [Includes a complete translation and introduction to the Ming travelogue "Bai-yi Zhuan", a copy can be found at the Thailand Information Center at Chulalongkorn Central Library
  • Wade, Geoff. tr. (2005) Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore,
  • Witthayasakphan, Sompong and Zhao Hongyun (translators and editors) (2001) Phongsawadan Muang Tai (Khreua Muang ku muang), Chiang Mai: Silkworm. (Translation of Mong Mao chronicle into the Thai language)


  1. ^ Elias, 1876; Daniels, 2006; Kazhangjia, 1990; Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hongyun, 2001
  2. ^ Yos Santasombat, Lak Chang: A Reconstruction of Tai Identity in Daikong, p. 3-4
  3. ^ Daniels, 2006, p. 28
  4. ^ Wade, 2005
  5. ^ Sai Kam Mong, 2004, p. 10, citing Jiang Yingliang, 1983

External links

  • Crucible of War: Burma and the Ming in the Tai Frontier Zone (1382–1454), by Jon Fernquest
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