Vol. 2, No. 1, Christian DANIELS

Contents>> Vol. 2, No. 1

Blocking the Path of Feral Pigs with Rotten Bamboo: The Role of Upland Peoples in the Crisis of a Tay Polity in Southwest Yunnan, 1792 to 1836

Christian Daniels*

*Research Institute for Languages and Cultures of Asia and Africa, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies, 3-11-1 Asahi-cho, Fuchu-shi, Tokyo 183-8534, Japan

e-mail: cdani[at]aa.tufs.ac.jp

This paper challenges James Scott’s thesis of state evasion and state prevention as the basic features of lowland-upland relationships. It scrutinizes the validity of Scott’s assumptions by examining the case of prolonged violent conflict in a tiny Tay polity feudatory to China during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Civil war broke out in the Mäng2 Khön1 polity (Mangshi, Dehong Autonomous Region in southwest Yunnan, China) due to mismanagement by the monarch of two upland peoples, the Jingpo and the Ta’aang. The analysis of the hostilities furnishes no evidence to validate Scott’s thesis of mountain areas as refuge zones for migrants from lowland oppression. What it does expose, however, is the symbiotic side to upland-lowland relationships.
 It concludes that symbiosis of upland and lowland was a central issue for the maintenance of political and social stability. Rather than viewing diametric opposition as the main characteristic of upland-lowland relations as Scott does, this study demonstrates the role of interdependence and cooperation, and reveals that relationships between upland peoples and Tay polities shifted according to changing politico-social circumstances. It also identifies the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a tumultuous period for upland and lowland, when the migration of new ethnic groups forced basin polities to readjust their strategies.

Keywords: upland-lowland, Jingpo (Kachin), Ta’aang (Palaung), governance, power abuse, Han native militia, raiders, mercenaries

I Introduction1)

Photo 1 shows two young Jingpo and Tay women clasping hands and chatting cheerfully sometime during the 1950s. The caption reads: “In the past, the conflict between the Jingpo and the Tay ethnic groups was excessive, but now they cordially practice mutual self-criticism and cooperate closely together.” The words eulogize the triumph of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) in putting an end to over 150 years of intermittent conflict between these two ethnic groups in the Dehong Dai and Jingpo Nationality Autonomous Region 徳宏傣族景頗族自治州 (hereafter Dehong) in Yunnan, China. The caption is significant because it confirms widespread clashes between upland and lowland peoples before the 1950s, a historical fact often underplayed since the eradication of ethnic disharmony. Needless to say, conflict between upland peoples and lowland polities is a persistent theme in the history of pre-modern continental Southeast Asia. In his recent book The Art of Not Being Governed: An ­Anarchist History of Upland Southeast Asia (2009), James Scott argues that upland peoples deliberately attempted to evade conflict by choosing a material lifestyle (residential location, agricultural techniques, and even rejection of written scripts) and ideology, and a flexible social organization that protected them from incorporation into the administrative ­systems of lowland polities. He asserts that upland peoples aspired for statelessness, adopting state evasion and state prevention as political strategies for dealing with lowland polities; the sheer immensity of lowland political and military power compelled upland peoples to choose non-contact and non-participation as survival strategies.2) This paper, based on empirical research, challenges Scott’s thesis of state evasion and state prevention as the basic feature of lowland-upland relationships. It scrutinizes the validity of Scott’s assumptions by examining the historical evidence of prolonged violent conflict in a Tay polity feudatory to the Qing during the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. It specifically tries to ascertain whether upland-lowland relationships were as confrontational and incongruent as Scott claims, or whether they encompassed more symbiotic features such as interdependence and cooperation. The purpose is to try to broaden our perspective on the complexity of the history of upland peoples, in order to redress the simplistic view espoused by Scott.

Photo 1 Two Women Chatting: Jingpo (Right) and Tay (Left)

Source: Photograph from Yunnan Provincial Government Committee for Nationality Affairs 雲南省人民政府民族事務委員會圖片 album, 1950s to early 1960s (private collection).

Note: The caption in Chinese on the reverse side of the photograph reads: “Conversation: They altered their way of thinking during the symposium, and understood that in the past non-unity and non-cooperation constituted the greatest contradiction between the Jingpo and Tay ethnic groups, and that the discord was sown and created by the reactionary clique. They now cordially practice mutual self-criticism and cooperate closely together.” 交談。他們討論會中,打動了思想,認識到了過去不團結不合作,是反動派挑撥造成的山頭族和傣族過去矛盾最大。現在一塊親切的互相檢討親密的合作。

The caption cited in the first paragraph of the paper was written on the album itself.

The empirical evidence comes from the case of the tiny polity of Mäng2 Khön1, which experienced intense political turmoil and civil unrest from 1792 to 1836. According to the chronicle of the polity, previous Tay monarchs sponsored Buddhism and their subjects both on the mountains and in the basins had been relatively contented and law-abiding prior to this period, but suddenly the incumbent ruler could not ensure social and political order in the realm anymore. Civil war broke out and left the country rudderless for many years; the basin was burnt and inhabitants harried from end to end by warriors of three different ethnic groups. The cause of the strife was mismanagement by the monarch of two upland peoples, the Jingpo (Tay: Khaang1) and the Ta’aang (Tay: Pa4 löng4/Pö4 löng4, Chinese: De’ang 徳昴). The monarch brought the curse on himself by first bringing in the Ta’aang (rotten bamboo) to fight the rampant Jingpo (feral pigs). For this small realm, the four-decade war was of epic proportions: it divided the country into two factions pitted against each other, caused havoc and destruction, and brought normal administration to a halt. First a Tay group vied with a joint Ta’aang/Tay group, and later, after the fall of the Ta’aang, violent conflict broke out between two Tay cliques, one of which relied heavily on Jingpo mercenaries. This paper analyzes the roles of upland peoples in this four-decade conflict in order to clarify the exact nature of their connections with the Tay polity.3)

The history of the relationships between upland ethnic groups and Tay polities is marred by scanty and scattered information. Chronicles tell us something of Tay polities but almost nothing about upland peoples. This has encouraged historians to ignore the latter and to portray history from the Tay perspective. Needless to say, partial and selective histories can be tolerated no longer, and we need to make greater efforts to capture the whole picture. Upland peoples, mostly illiterate, left few records of their own, but the chronicle cited as the main source occupies a most unusual position in Tay literature because it offers detailed evidence concerning lowland-upland conflict; the account occupies roughly half of the entire work (150 pages out of a total of 298 printed pages). It is known as the Khä2 Mäng2 Mäng2 Khön1 (KMMK, A history of the pedigree of the realm of Mäng2 Khön1, hereafter the Chronicle).4) Apart from this version, only one other version has been identified, a manuscript that carries the puzzling title Lik6 Öng3 Kyaam3 Sin3 Mäng2 Khön1 (LÖKSMK, The text of Öng3 Kyaam3 Sin3 of Mäng2 Khön1). A search has revealed no Chinese sources, so we have no alternative but to rely on the account in the Chronicle to uncover the realities of upland-lowland relations. Though constrained by reliance on a single indigenous source, this paper is a modest attempt to try to understand the past in its own terms and establish some benchmarks for understanding the history of upland peoples.

As background, I will first of all elucidate the political environment surrounding the polity of Mäng2 Khön1 and then provide a detailed summary of the four-decade civil war according to the Chronicle, before analyzing the role of the Ta’aang and Jingpo in the upland-lowland conflict.

II The Qing Army and the Polity of Mäng2 Khön1

Mäng2 Khön1 (Chinese: Mangshi 芒市) is a small basin located in Dehong in southwest Yunnan, China. The basin ranges from 860 to 900 meters in elevation, and it measures 26.5 kilometers from north to south and 6–10 kilometers from east to west. The total area amounts to approximately 141 square kilometers (Luxi Xianzhi Bianzuan Weiyuanhui 1993, 53; Yunnan Shifan Daxue Dilixi et al. 1998, Vol. 1, 232). The territory of the polity included the surrounding mountains as well as the basin itself, but we have no data concerning its population during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. A recent government gazetteer estimated the combined average population of the Mäng2 Khön1 and the Ce4 Faang1 (Chinese: Zhefang 遮放) basins and adjacent mountain areas during the 1919–47 period as roughly 50,000 people.5) Another source reported the total non-Han population of the same area in 1935 and 1946 as 39,618 and 29,716 respectively (Yang 1946, 74–75). The 1946 figures were probably lower than the 1919–47 period average due to the ravages of World War II, but the breakdown in Table 1 shows that over 50 percent of the population (Tay) resided in the basin while the other three ethnic groups—the Jingpo, Ta’aang, and Lisu—lived scattered over the mountains. Based on the above figures and allowing for the Han Chinese who resided on the mountains, we may speculate that the population of the Mäng2 Khön1 polity in the first half of the nineteenth century did not exceed 50,000. In terms of population and territorial size it was, indeed, a tiny polity.

Map 1 Southwestern Yunnan in the Nineteenth Century

Table 1 Non-Han Population of Mäng2 Khön1 and Ce4 Faang1 Luxi Shezhi Ju (潞西設治局) in 1946

Qing Troops Garrisoned at Longling

Chinese and Burmese dynasties exerted progressively stronger influence on Tay polities after the Mongol conquest of Yunnan in 1253. Mäng2 Khön1 (hereafter the polity) came under indirect control of the Ming Dynasty in 1443. As a polity that swore fidelity to China, it was designated by the Ming court as a Chief’s Office (Zhangguansi 長官司), headed by a leader of rank 6a who held an appointment as a civilian native official (tuguan 土官) under the supervision of the Ministry of Personnel (Li Bu 吏部). In the eighteenth century the monarch bore the title Mangshi Anfushi 芒市安撫使, or the Mangshi Pacification Commissioner (rank 5b), and successive rulers held this position until the abolition of the commissionership by the PRC in the early 1950s. Chinese control over the polity changed markedly in the aftermath of the 1766–69 Qing-Konbaung War. Though the Qianlong emperor (reigned 1736–95) dispatched four expeditionary forces to fight the Konbaung army, the Qing failed to attain a decisive victory. Qing relations with the Burmese Kingdom remained tense following the truce of 1769 due to dissatisfaction over the postwar settlement, particularly the failure of the Burmese to pay tribute. On high alert against incursions on the Yunnan border, the Qing army halted trade with Tay polities owing fealty to the Konbaung monarchy and prevented civilians from traveling back and forth until 1788, when relations between the two dynasties were finally normalized.6) In order to enforce the embargo, the Qing established a new administrative unit known as Longling Sub-prefecture 龍陵廳, contiguous to Mäng2 Khön1, in 1770.

The polity occupied a strategic point on the thoroughfare from Tay polities in northern Myanmar to Dali Prefecture in Yunnan. Traveling northeast from the Sino-Myanmar border, the road passed through the basins of Mäng2 Maaw2 (Chinese: Ruili 瑞麗), Wan2 Teng4 (Chinese: Wanding 畹町), Ce4 Faang1, and Mäng2 Khön1 before crossing the ­Salween River at Mäng2 Khä2 (Chinese: Lujiang 潞江). Due to Longling Sub-district’s location in the mountains on the road between Mäng2 Khön1 and the ferry at Mäng2 Khä2, the Qing made it responsible for both Mäng2 Khön1 and Ce4 Faang1 after its establishment (DQGCHS, 12175; Zhang and Cun 1917, 138). This measure afforded Qing officials tighter control over traffic on the roads from northern Myanmar and strengthened Qing supervision over the two adjacent Tay polities.

The aftermath of the Qing-Konbaung war marked a profound reversal of fortune for the Mäng2 Khön1 polity. While the polity had been spared from ravages by the Konbaung army, after hostilities ceased it had to endure the presence of large numbers of Qing troops garrisoned within the basin and on the surrounding mountains. Table 2 indicates that in 1776 the Qing suddenly enlarged the Green Standards (lüying 緑營) quota for the Longling Brigade (ying 營) to 1,500, which amounted to an increase of 900 since 1770. The escalation reflected growing Qing anxiety over civilian contact with Tay polities feudatory to the Konbaung monarch. The Longling Brigade came under the Tengyue Garrison 騰越鎭, which supervised 16 native officials over a broad area that stretched from Dehong and Baoshan 保山 in the west to present-day Lincang 臨滄 and Pu’er 普洱 in the east. The fact that the Longling Brigade occupied 20 percent of the Tengyue Garrison quota of 7,500 soldiers at the height of the alert in 1775–76 bespeaks its importance (Tengyue Zhouzhi, 10, 4a–4b). As imperial suspicions about the Burmans abated, Qing officials lowered the troop quota for the Longling Brigade to 1,343 soldiers in 1783. Though sources provide figures only for rises in 1873 and 1876, we may infer that the 1783 quota remained in effect until the second half of the nineteenth century.

Table 2 Shift in the Number of Qing Troops Garrisoned at Longling, 1770–1876

Qing Troops within the Polity

During the 1770s, Qing officials began to station troops within Mäng2 Khön1 territory on narrow paths and trails that ran over the mountains leading to Tay polities feudatory to the Konbaung Dynasty in neighboring northern Myanmar. The troops manned checkpoints (guanka 關卡) set up to regulate the movement of people and goods. The reform of the Longling Brigade in 1776 included the posting of 50 troops under the command of squad leaders (bazong 把總) at Longling Pass 龍陵關, the southern gateway to the sub-prefecture, and at Xiangda 象達, on another route up from the capital of Mäng2 Khön1 (DQGCHS, 14764; Zhang and Cun 1917, 146). Qing officials stationed Green Standard troops at outposts (xun 汛) in the Mäng2 Khön1 and Ce4 Faang1 basins from 1770 until 1838. The Green Standards assigned to the Mangshi Outpost 芒市汛 and Zhefang Outpost 遮放汛 were quartered there seasonally: they went down on guard duty to these outposts in the autumn and winter and returned to the high ground in Longling to escape malaria during the spring and summer. Even the thousand Green Standards posted at Santai Mountain 三臺山 (Tay: Löy4 Paang4 Tëng4), a strategic point on the thoroughfare from the Mäng2 Khön1 to the Ce4 Faang1 basin, under the command of Regional Commander (zongbing 總兵) Kamčibu 喀木齊布, during the alert years of 1773 and 1774 did not remain in garrison the whole year round (Daniels 2011).7) The governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou, Li Shiyao 李侍堯, memorialized the throne in 1778 requesting that 100 troops be assigned to Santai Mountain, “50 of whom were to be allotted to Kaat3 Cong4 [Chinese: Kazhong 戞中], Nongchou 弄臭 [Tay name unknown], Ce4 Maü 3 [Chinese: Zhemao 遮帽], Mäng2 Ka4 [Mengga 猛戞], and other places in order to lead the native militia (tulian 土練) in strictly inspecting people’s coming and going” (DQGCHS, 15537). Mäng2 Ka4, which lay in the mountains of Mäng2 Khön1, played a vital role in the four-decade war, while the other three places lay in Ce4 Faang1 territory with Kaat3 Cong4 occupying a strategic position on the route south to Wan2 Teng4. Gioro Tusedei 覺羅圖思徳, the governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou, informed the emperor in 1774 that the principal duty of the troops at the checkpoints was the “inspection of merchants and peddlers ” (GZDQZ, Vol. 37, 62) for the purpose of ensuring that prohibited goods such as “silk cloth, needles, pieces of felt” were not exported (ibid., Vol. 33, 849).

Map 2 Mäng2 Khön1 and Ce4 Faang1 in the Nineteenth Century

Table 3 lists the names of 11 checkpoints set up in the mountain tracts of the polity between 1815 and 1820. The magistrate of Longling Sub-prefecture established Nos. 1 and 2 in 1815 for the purpose of handling disturbances by the Jingpo, and built Nos. 3, 4, and 5 to control bandits in 1820 (Zhang and Cun 1917, 256–257). The militia men (lianding 練丁) at these checkpoints either relied on rent rice collected from tenants in the basin (No. 1) for their grain supplies, or were allocated land in the mountains to cultivate their own grain crops (Nos. 2–8). Qing officials founded the checkpoints to maintain law and order on the mountains during these tumultuous years (details in next section), and the Qing army ended up encircling the polity.

Table 3 Checkpoints (Guanka) Set up in the Mountains of Mäng2 Khön1, 1815–20

Han Native Militia from Mäng2 Ka4

The native militia mentioned in Li Shiyao’s memorial provided the Qing army with essential support. On duty the whole year round, they conducted most of the inspection and guard work. Native officials originally bore the expenses for the native militia, but the Qing footed the bill for them until 1789, by which time the tense relations with the ­Konbaung Dynasty had ended (GZDQZ, Vol. 72, 773–774). The Tay ruler of Mäng2 Khön1 relied heavily on the Han native militia from Mäng2 Ka4 (thu2 lën3 luk6 khe3 Mäng2 Ka4) as mercenaries during the four-decade civil war. He hired these upland Han to fight the Jingpo when they began raiding in 1792 (Qianlong 57).

The Tay referred to the Han and other ethnic groups resident in Yunnan as well as Han native-born to Tay Land (Mäng2 Tay2) as the khe3. By the eighteenth century the Han had established villages in the mountains of the polity.8) Tay rulers generally welcomed Han immigrants, whether merchants, craftsmen, or economic refugees, long-standing or recent, because of their practical utility.9) The largest concentration during the late eighteenth century was at Mäng2 Ka4 in the mountains south of the basin facing Tay polities owing fealty to the Konbaung. Over the years, the upland Han of Mäng2 Ka4 had forged a close relationship with the Mäng2 Khön1 monarch as vassals (kha5) as well as native militia on his payroll who generally acquitted themselves well. The Tay regarded them as quick-witted and cunning; the Chronicle abounds in phrases such as “clever people, the Han troops from Mäng2 Ka4 (ko6 phu3 kat6 säk3 khe3 Mäng2 Ka4).”10)

III The Four-Decade Civil War (1792–1836)

Providentially spared the anguish of occupation by the Konbaung army during the hostilities between 1766 and 1769, and enjoying protection from the Qing army, the polity encountered trouble from an unexpected quarter: the mountain tracts. In 1792 the ever-unruly Jingpo began to raid villages in the west of the basin, and their plundering con­tinued until c.1796 (Jiaqing 1). The initial disturbances, and indeed most of the later rivalry as well, occurred at a place known as Mäng2 Khi1 (Chinese: Xuangang Ba 軒崗壩), literally “Land of Sorrows,” reportedly because the Tay regularly suffered from the depredations of roving Jingpo. It lay in undulating country adjacent to the high mountains, and many a Tay lost his property, cattle, or family members to marauding Jingpo up to the 1950s. Checkpoint No. 1 (Table 3) was established at a position with easy access to this locality. The Jingpo moved into these mountains from the direction of Mäng2 Wan2 sometime in the second half of the eighteenth century. The attacks greatly damaged the Tay polity but were overshadowed by a conflict of deeper significance for the administration of the country—the contest of wills between a pro-Ta’aang ruler and anti-Ta’aang Tay, which aroused deep passions and unsettled life in the polity down to the first settlement of 1817–18.

Here below, tortuous as they will seem, are the events from 1792 to 1836 that hurled the polity into chaos. The ruler at the time of the first raids was Faang1 Song3 Fa6 ­(Chinese: Fang Yuzhu 放愈著). The Chronicle records how the situation compelled him to fall back on the Han native militia from Mäng2 Ka4:

The evil and destructive Khaang1 from the jungle destroyed and occupied all places in the western part of the basin. They robbed travelers everywhere from Mäng2 Na5, Caan2 Ta4, and Mäng2 Wan2 to Mäng2 Maaw2 and Ce4 Faang1, and it became difficult to raise an army in Mäng2 Khön1. They devastated tribute-paying villages (cum2 haay2) in Mäng2 Khön1; plundered property, cattle, and water buffaloes; and burned villages as well. This distressed the military commanders and Tay commoners of the realm, and worried the raja of the Faang1 family. At that time, only the old Saw1 Mäng2, a great leader and official of the royal lineage (su5 kön4), spoke boldly; he issued orders to all members of the royal pedigree, the six ho1 kaang6, as well as the heng1 and the ke3 of tribute-paying villages, instructing them to hire 100 khe3 [Han] native militia from Mäng2 Ka4. He had them dig broad trenches (tap6) at Pha1 Te2 [village] to guard against the hordes of wild and destructive Khaang1. (KMMK, 65, lines 4–15)

Faang1 Song3 Fa6 turned to the Mäng2 Ka4 native militia out of desperation for he could not muster an adequate force from among his own Tay subjects. Indeed, the harm inflicted by the Jingpo proved so immense that he found the initial 100 insufficient and had to supplement them with “another team of 100 gallant native militia troops,” which the Chronicle describes as “valiant, competent, capable of enduring hardship, and having withstood [the Jingpo] on several occasions” (ibid., 66, lines 10–12).

Photo 2 A Jingpo Warrior Armed with a Long Sword and Shield

Source: Photographed by Fang Wenlong 方文龍 2.20.1959. Yunnan Provincial Government Committee for Nationality Affairs 雲南省人民政府民族事務委員會圖片 album, 1950s to early 1960s (private collection).

Note: The caption in Chinese on the reverse side of the photograph reads: “Long sword for chasing away spirits (nian gui) and shield of wild boar skin for sending off spirits (songgui) as well as for fighting. Jingpo Nationality, Bangwa.” 照片背後文字:幇瓦景頗族在械鬪或送鬼時專用的盾牌(野猪皮)和長刀(唸鬼).


Plundering by the Jingpo persisted until sometime after the new monarch, Faang1 Ko3 Fa6 (official name Tay: Faang11 Cung3, Chinese: Fang Zezhong 放澤重), ascended the throne on the 10th day of the second lunar month of 1796 with support from the Qing Dynasty (ibid., 73, line 10–74, line 2). The succession struggle that arose following the demise of Faang1 Song3 Fa6 in the eighth lunar month of 1795 (Qianlong 60) unsettled society, but the new ruler soon restored order. His policies proved so effective that apparently the Jingpo stopped pillaging of their own accord and presented lavish tribute of tiger skins and ivory as a token of capitulation. Peace lasted for over 10 years, but raiding resumed in 1807–8 (1169 BE, a water buffalo [hong6 paw5] year), when a large Jingpo force burned down a part of the capital. As the Chronicle puts it: “regretfully the wild Khaang1 torched the Buddha images, the scriptures, and the Wi6 Ha3 of the Kyöng2 Sëng1 temple, completely devastating and reducing it to ashes” (ibid., 85, lines 4–6).

Faang1 Ko3 Fa6 came up with the idea of utilizing the Ta’aang as bulwarks against the Jingpo. He invoked the metaphor of a home garden in which “vegetables grow well if securely enclosed by a fence.” He reasoned that a sturdy enclosure would check the advance of animals (i.e., the Jingpo) into the basin to feed on the seedlings. He announced his plan as follows:

We should pacify the gallant Pö4 löng4 subjects (kha5) who dwell in the jungle. They have fought the Khaang1 wild bandits several times and have never been weak. We should get them to build forts (tap6) and garrison them permanently in the mountains as obstacles against the destructive and wild Khaang1. This method is what people call “using rotten bamboo to block the trails of feral pigs.” I will order them to guard the narrow paths everywhere on the mountains. (ibid., 92, lines 20–25)

Thereby the monarch promoted influential Ta’aang to office and issued them with ­vermilion-letter seals of office (cum5 laay2 lëng4) as a sign of their authority (aa4 se3) and exempted them from paying taxes (ibid., 93, lines 10–12). The data concerning the Ta’aang officials assembled in Table 4 indicates that four out of the total of seven were military appointments (Nos. 1, 2, 3, and 6). Furthermore, the holders of the two key posts of Sëng1 Yöt6 Mäng2 (No. 4) and Süng3 Kaang4 Mäng2 (No. 5) were, in effect, put in charge of the entire western part of the basin, particularly the Land of Sorrows. The Chronicle refers to the Ta’aang as “rotten bamboo” because political power corrupted them and eventually embroiled the polity in a civil war that saw the basin overrun and considerable damage wrought. The author/s therefore regard the Ta’aang as basically similar to the destructive “feral pigs” (the Jingpo) whom the Tay ruler recruited to keep the Jingpo out in the first place.

Table 4 Ta’aang Men Promoted to High Official Positions by Faang1 Ko3 Fa6

By elevation to military positions that defended the polity against despoliation from the dreaded intruders, Ta’aang officials assumed an authority that outranked that of hereditary Tay nobles and administrators in the countryside. Though effective as bulwarks, they brought catastrophe to Tay villagers:11)

Let us narrate the age after Mäng2 Khön1 appointed the Pa4 löng4 as gallant warriors (1 haan1). Why after some time did the Pö4 löng4 gradually become increasingly bold, daring to insult and abuse the people? In considering matters, they still pretended to respect [the ruler], but they took whatever they saw without asking. They drew their swords, and waving them chased and slaughtered any pigs, horses, cattle, water buffaloes that they happened to come across. No one dared say anything, and had to grin and bear, because they were terrified of offending them and frightened of being fined in silver. They seized and slept with any attractive woman whom they fancied, no matter whether she was married, unmarried, or widowed. If they really liked a woman, they took her away to use, and did not listen to any yells of protest. They dragged her away despite remonstrations from her father. Her mother was unable to say anything, and there was no way of pulling her back.
 They were vainglorious, and boasting of their abilities claimed that they could wreak havoc on the ill-tempered animals with matted hair that dwelt among the kha2 grass of the forest [i.e., the Jingpo]. They seized and appropriated any suitably located dry fields (hay4) or wet fields (na2) that they coveted. The stationing of [Ta’aang] men who had been appointed to office12) brought about the deterioration of forts (weng2) that were already undergoing hardship. This resulted in the appropriation of land plots by one of their men and incessant attempts at their seizure by another. The Pö4 löng4 capriciously chose dry fields and wet fields and took them for inheritance (süb6) on many occasions.

This passage enumerates such arbitrary behavior as confiscation of cattle, women, and land as the reasons for galling and offending Tay commoners. Abuses of power multiplied and intensified as the careers of the Ta’aang flourished. Then dissatisfaction over the incumbent rulers’ adjudication of a quarrel between two implacable enemies, the Ta’aang stronghold of Weng2 Maan5 Yak3 and the pro-Tay fort at Maan5 Paang3/Weng2 Ho1 Na2, erupted into a rebellion that occasioned the sacking of the monarch’s palace by a motley Ta’aang and Jingpo army. This created wide insecurity; Tay society was unsettled by the ascendance of the Ta’aang to power and apprehensive about how things were going to turn out under them.

The main figure in the toppling of the Ta’aang was a man named Pö42 (literally, “the father of Cö2”), the leader of all the groups of people associated with Weng2 Ho1 Na2. Judging from data given in Table 4, his ethnicity appears to have been Ta’aang, suggesting that the leader of the anti-Ta’aang faction was not Tay but, in fact, a pro-Tay Ta’aang. The Chronicle furnishes no other information except that he was also known as Po3 Um3 (Commander Um3)13) and that he bore the title Commander Maang2 Ka6 La6 (maang2 ka6 la6 po3).14) Realizing that he had no chance of winning the war for mastery of the basin straight away, Po4 Co2 left and hid with his followers in a village in the Jingpo mountains. While sheltering there, he contacted the deputy ruler (huyin 護印) of Mäng2 Yaang2, the father-in-law of Faang1 Ko3 Fa6, requesting assistance in his proposed campaign to recover the polity. Some Tay in the basin rallied to his cause after soldiers from Mäng2 Yaang2 and Caan2 Ta4 eventually turned up.15)

Po4 Co2 managed to secure combat troops from Jingpo leaders known as the 10 caw5fa6 commanders of the country (caw5fa6 sip1 po4 mäng2) for his campaign against the Ta’aang mountain strongholds.16) The allied Tay and Jingpo offensive on the 10th day, the third month of the Tay calendar, 1177 BE (1815–16 CE) succeeded in expelling some of them. Later, a Ta’aang man with the title Kin4 Mäng2, the Pu3 Kaang6 of Köng2 Long1 village, dispatched a letter to the monarch tendering his allegiance together with 14 taels (Tay: höng4 [Chinese: liang 兩]) of good-quality silver as a token of submission. But the Tay at Fa6 Pha3 prevented the Ta’aang messengers from delivering the letter and silver. This caused a renewal of hostilities, but the Ta’aang routed the Tay in the ensuing battle and the victors burned many villages in the basin and completely destroyed most of the temples and the Buddha images in the realm. According to the Chronicle, “only two temples, the Kyöng2 Sëng1 and the Kyöng2 Kham2, remained intact, being spared from the conflagration” (KMMK, 119, lines 1–2). Tay fled in large numbers, and the Ta’aang, together with their Tay brethren, plundered the “gold, silver, cattle, water buffaloes, rice, belongings, and property” that they left (ibid., 117, lines 13–14). The Chronicle describes it as the “ruin, downfall, and emptying (haam2 laay4) of the country” (ibid., 117, line 18), and lists the names of Tay polities on the east side of the Salween River (Nam5 Khong2) where the Tay took refuge:

Mäng2 Khön1 was entirely empty (paw3 laap6 laay4 laay4). People left the country in great numbers and fled up to Mäng2 Khä2, where they noisily swarmed everywhere.17) Some groups climbed the high mountains to the east and went up to the territory of Laang2 Saay2 in Xiangda 象達. Some found their way down to the banks of the Nam5 Khong2, and crossing this beautiful river proceeded forward to Mäng2 Kha2,18) Mäng2 Ya2,19) and Mäng2 Khëng1.20) (ibid., 119, lines 3–8)

Hearing of the disturbances, Bolin 伯麟, the governor-general of Yunnan and Guizhou, summoned Faang1 Ko3 Fa6 to the Yunnan provincial capital (present-day Kunming) for questioning in the third lunar month of 1815 (Jiaqing 嘉慶 20). In the meantime, Po4 Co2 persuaded the deputy ruler to gather a force of Tay and Jingpo troops, which he led in the attack on the Ta’aang on the seventh day in the sixth month of the Buddhist calendar (laü2 tham2) in the year 1178 BE (1816–17 CE) (ibid., 130, lines 14–17). This time the victory proved decisive. The Ta’aang leader Thaak6 Kaang4 Wa3 (Table 4, No. 1) finally succumbed to wounds from musket balls shot by a roving band of Tay when he was attempting to escape.21) This time it was the turn of the Ta’aang to go into exile; they fled from their mountain abodes together with their brethren, who included “groups of Tay monks (khu2 ma2 si3 la3).”22)

The hostilities left a trail of destruction across the basin. Villages lay “empty and deserted of people (paw3 haam2 kon2)” (ibid., 141, line 4) once again, and “only places north of the Nam5 Khön1 River remained intact, while the top, middle, and tail ends as well as the south of the basin lay in waste (paw3 laap6)” (ibid., 143, lines 22–24). Depleted cultivated land acreage and loss of food reserves led to widespread famine, causing many people to die in the ensuing epidemic (taay4 ha4)” (ibid., 145, line 23). Some people “dug up devil’s tongue (Amorphophallus Konjac K. KOCH) and yams to eat in place of rice,” while others had to forage for wild vegetables, creepers, sprouts of gourds, and the roots of wild plantains (ibid., 146, lines 8–9). In 1179 BE (1817–18 CE) food deficiency became even more acute:

The price of rice became expensive in the country. One taang4 [approximately 15 kg] of rice reached two taels (höng4), and one pe3 [approximately 1 kg] was two the5 [one-tenth of a tael]. All places experienced starvation, destitution, and hardship. People were apprehensive that the country was about to encounter further suffering. The monarch (khun1 mäng2), his wives (naang2 mäng2), and the monks (khu2 ma2 si3 la3) went hungry, lacking rice and food. (ibid., 146, lines 14–19)

With rice prices rising sharply, and outraged at the onerous taxes imposed by the deputy ruler—the uncle of Faang1 Ko3 Fa6—the Tay sacked his residence on the 20th day of the second month in the Tay calendar in CS 1180 BE (1818 CE) (ibid., 148, line 6–149, line 11).

Jingpo warriors remained a decisive factor in intra-Tay conflict until 1836 (Daoguang 16) despite the eradication of Ta’aang political power. The Tay split into two groups allied with the two villages in the Land of Sorrows mentioned earlier. The struggle between these implacable enemies originated in a quarrel over an arched stone bridge (Tay: kho1 göng3; Chinese: gongqiao 拱橋) sometime around 1177 BE (1815–16 CE). Maan5 Yak6 pitted itself against Maan5 Paang3/Hö1 Na2, and “later fighting broke out because both sides arrogantly refused to yield to the other,” despite attempts by the ruler to calm both sides down.23) Conflict came to a head when the monarch allocated wet-rice fields belonging to Maan5 Yak6 to Maan5 Paang3/Hö1 Na2 without arranging compensation. The outraged Ta’aang retaliated by pillaging his palace.24)

The Maan5 Paang3/Hö1 Na2 group depended heavily on Jingpo warriors when waging war against Maan5 Po4 and their allies in 1185 BE (1823–24 CE).25) The Chronicle bluntly states, “Na2 Yön3, Maan5 Paang3, and Weng2 Mon2 relied on the wild Khaang1 from the mountaintops, taking them as models” (ibid., 181, lines 18–20). The eventual triumph of the armies of Maan5 Po4 and their allies over the Maan5 Paang3 group put an end to Jingpo participation in military affairs and restored peace and order to the polity. The Chronicle summarizes the reaction of people living in the uplands: “All the wild Khaang1 on the mountaintops in Ce3 Faang1, the Kon2 Löy4 Pa4 löng4, as well as various sorts of Ë3 ä3 and the La6 who dwell in the forested ravines and on the plains, all surrendered to his majesty the deputy ruler.”26) Later, a Jingpo mountain headman (Table 6, No. 1) named Lön4 Mo3 from Ho1 Keng2 came to present tribute of ivory, tiger skins, and other produce as a token of submission. Qing officials bestowed silver, hats, and other paraphernalia on the Jingpo in return (ibid., 235, line 20–238, line 5). With peace established, the incumbent ruler, Faang1 Thet6 Fa6, went back to his capital in 1836. This is the gist of the account told by the Chronicle.

IV Upland Peoples as Portrayed in the Chronicle

The above outline makes abundantly clear that governance relied on subtle negotiation. It highlights an often-underemphasized fact: many Tay polities were, in reality, multi-ethnic regimes whose stability depended on the successful management of upland as well as lowland subjects.

The train of events reveals the different roles played by the Ta’aang, Jingpo, and Han Chinese in the four-decade civil war. Each ethnic group had its own motives for participation, and these motives were related to its position within the Tay political order. The relationship of each ethnic group to the monarch, no matter whether friend or foe, is a crucial factor in ascertaining their aspirations for what Scott has termed statelessness. Refusal to take part in basin politics would indicate rejection of state control, thus confirming Scott’s claim. Here we will analyze the cases of the Ta’aang and Jingpo inde­pendently in order to determine their connection with the Tay polity. Let us commence by clarifying the suitability of the Chronicle as a source for upland peoples.

The Chronicle was written to uphold the integrity and sovereignty of the dynasty, as well as to authenticate the succession line of monarchs. The text is often tempered by criticism disguised as sermons of Buddhist morality, so the account manifests many layers of meaning. The author/s reproach any monarch who misgoverned or embroiled the polity in dynastic strife. Though subtle in their censure, for after all he was of divine pedigree, they regard as unacceptable any regal behavior that threatened the survival of the royal line. For this reason, mismanagement of upland peoples was intolerable, and, indeed, the Chronicle gives a negative appraisal of the reign of Faang1 Ko3 Fa6 for partiality toward the Ta’aang, which was regarded as a fatal error because it eventually led to a ruinous civil war that left no part of the polity unscathed. The Chronicle account centers on the Tay monarch, so its disparagement of the Ta’aang and Jingpo is not essentially based on ethnic criteria but on their degree of allegiance to him, and therefore by extension to the dynasty itself. The fact that both the Ta’aang and the Tay drew supporters and sympathizers from the ranks of the other side demonstrates that the political and military upheavals of the four-decade war were not conflicts in which one ethnic group pitted itself against another. The two opposing camps were ethnically mixed, and the divisions between them were based on political stance.

Sometimes the Chronicle conflates the monarch with the Tay ethnic group, making the account appear pro-Tay. But it categorizes anti-regal Tay as “evil,” “wicked,” and “of bad disposition” in the same way as it disparages Ta’aang and Jingpo who opposed him. Therefore, loyalty to the monarch, not ethnicity, constituted the principal criterion for chroniclers in the ever-shifting alliances between ethnic groups and the endless intra-Tay feuds. This relative absence of serious ethnic bias makes the Chronicle a suitable source for analyzing the role of hill peoples.

The Ta’aang as Arrogant Abusers of Political Power

The main direction of migration by the Ta’aang, the autonym of these Mon Khmer ­language speakers, seems to have been from north to south, from western Yunnan into the Tay polities of northern Myanmar on both sides of the Salween River.27) We know nothing about their early history in Mäng2 Khön1, but the Chronicle reports them as culturally close to the Tay from the late eighteenth century. By this time they had converted to Theravada Buddhism and submitted to the ruler. The exonym Tay2 Löy4 (mountain Tay) bespoke the affinity that the Tay felt for them. Other terms used in the Chronicle include Pe2 Le2 (name of subgroup) and Pa4 löng4/Pö4 löng4 (from the Burmese exonym Palaung). Table 5 lists 25 Ta’aang villages, which confirms that they resided mainly in the mountains during the period of turmoil. Only No. 12, Khën4 Pung3, No. 13, Maan5 Yak6, and perhaps a few other villages were located in the Land of Sorrows.

Table 5 Ta’aang Villages in the Mountains of Mäng2 Khön1 Mentioned in the Chronicle

The Ta’aang were the only upland people to be escalated to high rank in the bureaucracy (Table 4). Such promotions were possible because of their cultural proximity to the Tay; unlike the Jingpo, they were co-religionists, Theravada Buddhists, familiar with Tay society, language, and customs. It was probably for this reason that the monarch presumed that they could be trusted, but he had not foreseen the dangers of their overweening ambitions. It was in the absence of order, and under the constant threat of anarchy created by the Ta’aang abuse of power, that the desire to evict the Ta’aang from office became so strong among the Tay. Po4 Co2, the leader of all Tay warriors opposing the Ta’aang, himself probably a Ta’aang, articulated the reasons for Tay dissatisfaction in his call to arms speech:

We ought to fight and kill the Ta’aang who are of bad disposition, and drive them out. We should force them into destitution and expel them from our realm, so that our ruler (caw5) can dwell in happiness and enjoy peace of mind. It said that a person unable to feel gratitude for the favors and benefits conferred on them (kung3 ke2 cu2) cannot be saved even if a multitude of phi1 come to their assistance. The ruler (khun1 mäng2) bestowed wet-rice fields on them for their well-being ­(khyaam2khya3), and stopped the allocation of various sorts of levies (sä1 phaay3 [Chinese: shoupai 収派]) on them. He did not collect the stipulated taxes (suy3 khön5 khäng1 kün4), or take anything from them thereafter. Despite this they persisted in showing disrespect to the ruler (caw5), arrogantly maltreated him, broke into and destroyed his palace. They deceived us, appropriating more and more until they claimed that the whole country belonged to them. This is unacceptable, so we should drive the Ta’aang vassals (kha5) out of the country. (KMMK, 106, lines 8–19)

The orator gives three reasons for his discontent. First, the Ta’aang were ungrateful for the special favors (granting them wet-rice fields, etc.) and privileges (waiving tax and labor services) that the monarch had bestowed on them. Second, they displayed contempt for him by devastating his palace. Third, they appropriated cattle, women, and land and even had the temerity to claim that they owned the polity. This was intolerable to Tay senses of propriety since as “lord of water and land (nam6 caw5 lin4 khun1 lmV zvA )” the monarch owned everything in the realm.

Divided over policy, and politically weakened by his inability to exercise leadership and the growing necessity to make concessions to the Ta’aang on the one hand and to Tay sentiment on the other, the monarch suffered further loss of power and prestige when his palace was razed to the ground. He was forced to flee to exile in Qing-controlled Longling. As a caw5fa6 (Lord of the Sky), the monarch was supposed to be a sacred ­person, toward whom all subjects were expected to behave with restraint and decorum. The destruction of his palace was an insult to the royal dignity as much as it was a threat to his very life. The anti-regal message was there for those who wanted to see it. This event turned the monarchy into a largely discredited and ineffectual institution until the restoration of Tay power in 1817–18. The anti-Ta’aang movement arose due to deep-seated anti-regal sentiments as well as dissatisfaction with the Ta’aang corruption and misgovernment rather than out of deeply ingrained ethnic hatred.

The Chronicle tempers the trenchant criticism of anti-regal behavior voiced by Po4 Co2 with the observation that some Ta’aang remained loyal to the ruler and respected Buddhism. For instance, it reports that the anti-Tay Ta’aang followers of the Pu3 Kaang6 of Köng2 Long1 (Big Ridge) village (Table 5, No. 7) announced: “We do not care about the Tay of Mäng2 Khön1 now, but we pity the ruler (khun1 mäng2) and the monks, so we should go down to kneel before them and pay obeisance” (KMMK, 115, lines 9–11). The Chronicle records the Ta’aang as adherents of the Taw Nei (Tö2 Ne3) Buddhist sect, and also mentions some of their high officials as devotees of the Zawti (Cö2 Ti6) reformist sect (ibid., 92, line 3; LÖKSMK, 185, line 5). But it accuses the Ta’aang leader named Thaak6 Kaang4 Wa3, a former monk28) holding the high rank of Nga2 Mäng2 (Table 4, No. 1), of exploiting Buddhism to enhance his reputation as a respectable official:

 People say that he relied on the Zawti sect and loved the precepts of the Taw Nei sect in order to appear as smooth-tongued and white, but this was only for external appearances. He covertly enjoyed numerous gifts (tan2 so2) from people and even connived to murder the ruler (caw5), which shows that he was white on the outside and black on the inside. His body was left on an open plain for the crows to peck at because he failed to show gratitude (ke2 cu2) for the favors (kung3) that the ruler (caw3) bestowed on him. (KMMK, 132, lines 15–18)

The turncoat Thaak6 Kaang4 Wa3 turned against the monarch who had given him power and privilege in the first place. For this reason the Chronicle severely criticizes all aspects of his intolerable behavior, especially his posing as a devout Buddhist in order to conceal his dishonesty.

In fact, sectarian differences may have been one cause of friction between the Ta’aang and the monarch. The Chronicle depicts Faang1 Ko3 Fa6 as a dedicated bene­factor of the Pwe Kyaung (Pöy2 Kyöng2) sect but hostile toward other groups:

The great sect named the gāmavāsī [village-dwelling] has been passed down from generation to generation since the reign of Caw5 Faang1 Wöt6 Fa6. The ruler (khun1 mäng2) reproached sects like the Aa4ning3 sa3 ya3 si3, the Zawti, the Taw Nei, and the Käng2 Yon2 and did not include them within the [great sect]. He was only concerned with supporting the Pwe Kyaung, that is the gāmavāsī sect, and this brought about improvement to all parts of Mäng2 Khön1. (ibid., 92, lines 1–5)

Royalty sponsored the Pwe Kyaung sect and loathed the Taw Nei and Zawti sects. The monarch also spurned the Käng2 Yon2 (northern Thai Yuan) sect, which Lanna monks had reportedly introduced to the polity in the seventeenth century. The ascendency of the Pwe Kyaung sect patently deprived minor sects of royal patronage. The destruction of temples and Buddha images by the Ta’aang arose in such a religious climate. Royal neglect, or perhaps even perceived sectarian persecution, may have been a factor behind their discontent with the ruler.

That the Ta’aang were not inherently anti-Tay is corroborated by the presence of Tay brethren. The Chronicle furnishes few facts about these followers, probably because the author/s condemned their association with the despised anti-regal faction. It, however, documents the hardships they experienced in their piteous flight into hiding after their eventual defeat in 1817–18:

Those of our Tay who sympathized with the Pa4 löng4 went into the jungle together with them. After about 10 days they stealthily climbed up into the steep mountains out of terror of death. When the supplies of rice in their bags were completely exhausted, they became dizzy and had to forage for food. But they could only find sprouts, leaves, and fruits, and some of them even died from eating them. Enraged and irritated fathers hacked to death small children who wept and wailed for fear of succumbing to the numerous warriors trailing them. Some people, petrified of dying under the sharp sword blades of the Khaang1, regrettably had to abandon their cattle, water buffaloes, horses, and belongings. Parents and relatives became separated from each other when escaping to faraway places, and many people urged each other to run away. Some of them reached Mäng2 Kha1 and Mäng2 Yaa2, and crossing the Salween River went farther beyond, even arriving at Mäng2 Kha2, Mäng2 Khëng1, Mäng2 Phung2, Mäng2 Ting4, and Küng4 Ma6. Others could not elude their pursuers and were either robbed or slain. (ibid., 130, line 23–131, line 11)

This passage testifies first that Tay brethren did exist, and second that their collaboration with the Ta’aang made it impossible for them to reside in the polity after the fall of the Ta’aang. It is easy to speculate that, in a situation where ever-mutating patterns of ­alliances persisted, dissident Tay could have readily blended back into mainstream society. But the deep enmity against the anti-regal group compelled Tay sympathizers to take refuge in distant Tay polities east of the Salween River. Tay collaborators clearly feared revenge.

The Jingpo as Raiders and Mercenaries

The Chronicle labels the Jingpo who migrated to the mountains on the western sides of the Mäng2 Khön1 and the Ce4 Faang1 basins during the late eighteenth century as wild Jingpo or uncivilized Jingpo (Khaang1 he1). Occasionally it used the Tay exonym for the zaiwa subgroup, Khaang1 leng4 (red Jingpo).29) They were the most recent migrants, and as adamant animists with no deep affection for Buddhism they were culturally and religiously far removed from the Tay and the Ta’aang.

The Chronicle refers to the part of the polity occupied by the Jingpo and Ta’aang as the löy4 ko3 fa6 and löy4 lum5 fa6.30) Such terms, which translate as “mountain country,” reveal that the Tay monarch regarded these tracts as requiring separate governance from the basin area (tong4 mäng2) on account of differences in topography and ethnic composition. During the nineteenth and twentieth centuries these mountain tracts comprised territories administered by du, Jingpo leaders of noble birth descended from the five original clans. The Tay referred to them as Jingpo lords (khun1 khaang1), and the Han called them mountain headmen (Chinese: shanguan 山官). The position of du was hereditary, and their authority rested on recognition from within Jingpo society alone; Tay monarchs and Qing officials had no right to appoint them to office, dismiss them, or issue them with orders. It is estimated that prior to 1950 a total of 96 large and small du lay scattered over the mountain tracts of Mäng2 Khön1 and Ce4 Faang1 (Dehong Zhou Zhengxie Wenshi Wei 2001, 1–16, 183–195). Table 6 lists the names of 12 Jingpo villages mentioned in the Chronicle, and No. 10 suggests that the number may have exceeded that figure. It identifies one mountain headman named Lön4 Mo3 (Table 6, No. 1) and the Ho1 Pöng1 clan (Table 6, No. 4), which confirms that the Tay negotiated with Jingpo clans and lineages through headmen.

Table 6 Jingpo Villages in the Mountains of Mäng2 Khön1 Mentioned in the Chronicle

The Chronicle records the Jingpo leaders (du) with whom the Tay negotiated for military aid as “the leaders of the 10 commanders of the realm” (caw5 fa6 sip1 po4 mäng2) and “the nine leaders” (kaw5 caw5fa6).31) The numerals 9 and 10 seem to have borne significance for the Tay. Late nineteenth century Tay documents designate the mountain villages around Löy4 Län4 in the Wa states as “the Wa2 of the nine valleys and 10 mountains (Wa2 kaw5 hoy5 sip1 Löy4).”32) Unfortunately we have no information concerning the implications of these numerals, so it is impossible to speculate on the actual number of Jingpo leaders in the mountains of Mäng2 Khön1 at this time. Nor do we know anything about the degree of control that Jingpo leaders exercised over the people whom they represented. What is noteworthy is that Jingpo society here, the closest equivalent to the acephalous communities of Scott, definitely communicated with polities through numerous leaders.

The Jingpo were raiders and mercenaries during the four decades of political and military upheaval. After ceasing sporadic marauding sometime after their attack on the ruler’s capital and firing of the Kyöng1 Sëng1 Temple in 1169 BE (1808–9 CE) (KMMK, 86, lines 1–11), they fought for all sides: first with the Ta’aang, then with Po3 Co2 against the Ta’aang, and finally for the Tay in intra-Tay conflicts. They served their employers faithfully, and the Chronicle does not charge them with duplicity. They were deeply involved in the struggles, switching sides to their own advantage, until the monarch Faang1 Thet6 Fa6 returned to the polity in 1836. This demonstrated that Jingpo leaders had the ability to organize warriors from their territories for mercenary work, and indicated that Jingpo political organization, no matter how minuscule and fragile, was capable of responding to the changed circumstances of lowland polities.

Unlike the other mercenary group, the Han native militia from Mäng2 Ka4, the Jingpo do not seem to have sought payment in silver; the Tay simply guaranteed them plunder as compensation. In the final battle with the Ta’aang sometime in 1817–18, the nine leaders (caw5fa6) of the Jingpo “pledged (sëng1 kan4) to truthfully accept the terms of the pact” after assurance from the deputy caw5fa6 that “you can seize, at will, all belongings and property that you set eyes on, as well as all of their cattle, water buffaloes, horses, and wet-rice fields.”33) The Chronicle describes the sacking of a Ta’aang highland recess by Jingpo warriors: they “pillaged all the belongings, cattle, and water buffaloes, and led them away along the tracks that pass through the ravines and chasms, in order to avoid walking on the roads” (ibid., 114, lines 20–23), where they would have been seen by Tay soldiers.

While looting spoils could distract Jingpo warriors on the battlefield, the prospect of free food and feasts also appealed to them. The Chronicle details vividly the demands made by the Jingpo who turned up to fight for the Tay faction at Na2 Yön3/Maan5 Paang3/Weng2 Mon5:

 The wild Khaang1 from the jungle arrived at Na2 Yön3 and Weng2 Mon5. They came in bands, and the lines of them stretched so long that it was difficult to tell the exact number. But there were many, and they swarmed all over and jam-packed the villages in a disorderly fashion. The süng1 named Caang6 from Mäng2 Wan2, together with 20-odd Tay2 Yaang2, were billeted at the same place [among the Khaang1]. The fort (weng2) and temple teemed with Khaang1, but not all of them could be accommodated. No one could say how many hundreds or thousands came, but the whole fort (weng2) rang with the clamor of their voices.
 On arrival one band said that they wanted to invite the phi1 to sit in a chair and offer him a sacrifice, and created a commotion in their enthusiasm. On coming, another band announced that they would placate the phi1 (me2 phi1), and a sorcerer (1 phi1) said that he would slaughter a cow. Some said that they wanted fowls. The khaang1 from the jungle distorted things and inveigled. Though served rice, rice wine, and meat three times a day in quantities more than sufficient, they still asked for more. Some emaciated ones with hair already gray, so [old] that they could barely walk, came without resting, and even children who could speak sweet words came [to feast]. At every meal they stretched out their hands saying, “I want some rice wine.” Nothing mattered to them as long as they got three meals a day. (ibid., 183, lines 6–20)

The description of the old and the decrepit, as well as the underage, rushing to feast on meat and rice wine reflects differences in upland and lowland agricultural output; the latter produced more food than the former. Yet, at the same time, this passage reinforces the image of the Jingpo as ever greedy for food and always craving for loot. The text portrays their insistence that the spirits be placated by the sacrifice of cattle before they could go on to the battlefield as a ploy to feast on beef.

The Chronicle does not elucidate why the Jingpo raided, and merely attributes their mercenary activities to the prospect of plunder. Such an explanation simply manifests the typecast Tay view of the Jingpo articulated in the passage above. In order to deepen our understanding, we will make a comparison with the Kachin (Jingpo) rebellion against the ruler of the northern Sën5 wii1 (Chinese: Mubang 木邦, Burmese: Theinni) polity. The rebellion began with an attack on his capital on December 12, 1892, a century after the Jingpo commenced raiding in Mäng2 Khön1. The British administrator James George Scott, superintendent for the Northern Shan States who handled the case, reported that an aa4 maat5 (member of the ruler’s council) with the title Süng3 Yöt6 (Hsüng Yawt) led the first Kachin attack, and pointed out that this Tay official immediately terminated his association with them after it finished. In subsequent attacks, the Kachin campaigned by themselves without the aa4 maat5, and it took the British until the end of February 1893 to quell the insurgence. Scott identified the factors that led the Kachin to rebel. First, Tay officials instigated the Kachin to take up arms, utilizing their warriors to settle scores with other Tay. Second, Kachin dissatisfaction with the Tay monarch derived from (1) petty extortion by his men (the Kachin regarded oppression and extortion of fines by any of the ruler’s followers as having been conducted by his direct order), (2) broken promises by the monarch, (3) the blocking of Kachin from entering marketplaces, and (4) partiality shown by Tay officials in dealing with cases between Kachin and Tay. The Kachin stated, “When a quarrel takes place between a Shan [Tay] and a Kachin, the latter has to die whether the Shan or the Kachin be the first to pick the quarrel.”34)

Three similar features immediately emerge from a comparison of Mäng2 Khön1 and northern Sën5 wii1. First, in both cases the Jingpo/Kachin attacked the rulers in their capital cities, and second, Tay officials orchestrated the assaults in each case. They targeted monarchs in order to demonstrate their discontent with regal administration but inadvertently became entangled in intra-Tay conflicts. Third, both groups regarded the monarchs as having broken their promises. The Mäng2 Khön1 Chronicle records this last feature as the cause for the Jingpo attack on the ruler’s capital in 1808–9. According to the text, the Jingpo stated their grievances in the following fashion: “Faang13 Fa6 has been appointed as ruler due to our grace (ke2 cu2). This has enabled him to administer Mäng2 Khön1, and he has not forgotten the favors that we did for him (ke2 cu2).35) But he has ignored the terms of the pact (kaa4 ti6 sët6 kyaa3).” The Chronicle continues:

The wild Khaang1 spoke recklessly in such a manner, and ceased their submission of tribute gifts. They did not show up for an audience at the beginning of the year, and none of them came to pay their respects at the end of the year, thereby terminating intercourse. They said that the ruler (Fa6 Cam2 pu1) of Mäng2 Khön1 neglected the words of the oath (sët6 kyaa3) that he had previously made. [Their leader proclaimed,]
 “The Tay of Mäng2 Khön1 treat very coarsely all of our caw5fa6 of the savage Khaang1 of the jungle and wild mountains, including the Commander/s of the Realm of the sixteen villages (sip1 hok3 maan6 bo3 mäng2).36) We will not be satisfied until we have destroyed their capital (ce4).” (KMMK, 83, line 21–84, line 6)

Jingpo leaders expected to be treated with kindness in return for their perceived sponsorship of the monarch’s accession to the throne, and were incensed that he had not shown them goodwill. In their eyes the monarch had reneged; by ignoring the covenant (details not given), he had shown contempt for them. It was the personal animosity of Jingpo leaders toward the monarch that had caused the breakdown of the lord-vassal relationship, and they felt that his repudiation of the pact justified their cessation of tribute and retributory attacks on him.

Due to the political, social, and cultural distance between Tay and Jingpo societies, the monarch could not, and indeed had no reason to, incorporate Jingpo leaders into his bureaucracy as high-ranking officials, as he had done with the Ta’aang. He regarded them as his most geographically and culturally distant vassals and patronized them in a flexible manner. Jingpo headmen viewed the relationship in a different way. In their eyes, they negotiated agreements with the monarch as equals. They did not acknowledge “royal will,” so in their view the monarch needed their consent to alter the terms of the covenant, and his breach of this unwritten contract justified squaring the debt by punitive action. But it was the prerogative of the monarch to issue royal injunctions and alter accords as he pleased, so to him there were no “broken promises”: failure of the Jingpo to comply with his orders simply amounted to insubordination, a serious transgression of the lord-vassal relationship.

Jingpo grievances about broken promises and ill treatment at the hands of the ­monarch, no matter whether fancied or real, facilitated manipulation of the Jingpo by Tay officials in times of political strife. This is exactly what happened in Mäng2 Khön1 when Tay factions and even the deputy ruler had to negotiate with the Jingpo for military assistance. Sometimes the collapse of the bond between lord and vassal turned the tables in favor of the Jingpo. They could now take advantage of circumstances to negotiate with Tay factions for prospective plunder. In short, they became mercenaries due to the breakdown of monarchical power and the rise of Tay factionalism, a situation different from the Han militia of Mäng2 Ka3, who loyally served the legitimate monarch for ­monetary compensation. The legitimacy of the Tay monarch was founded on recognition from within Tay society and authorization by Chinese dynastic power. The loyalty of Han militia revealed a sophisticated understanding of the internal and external factors that constrained Tay politics; the Han militia were careful to uphold Chinese dynastic policy. But the Jingpo who had not yet been incorporated into indirect rule by Chinese dynastic power felt autonomous enough to act for their own benefit alone.

V Conclusion

This case study furnishes no evidence to validate Scott’s thesis of mountain areas as refuge zones for migrants from lowland oppression, or even that these areas served as reservoirs for supplying lowland regimes with tax-paying subjects through either conquest or slave raiding. What it does expose, however, is the symbiotic side to upland-lowland relationships: political and social stability in the lowlands was contingent on cooperation from upland peoples. It discloses upland peoples as deeply involved in lowland political struggles. Among them the situation of the Ta’aang was exceptionally intricate. Due to their cultural proximity to the Tay as Theravada Buddhists, the monarch felt confident enough to promote Ta’aang leaders to high-ranking positions in the bureaucracy and entrust them with the administration of strategic areas. The Jingpo, once foes but now friends, served as auxiliary military forces for various Tay factions as mer­cenaries. The historical facts reveal a reality far more complex than the oversimplistic one envisaged by Scott: upland peoples were flexible enough to actively participate in the machinations of Tay polities for their own purposes, a far cry from the stratagems of state evasion and state prevention.

If this was so, then what were the central issues in upland-lowland relationships? The intense strife first between the Tay and Ta’aang, and then among the Tay themselves, exposed Tay rulers as failed manipulators of upland and lowland peoples. The consequences of misgoverning mountain tracts were grave. Disgruntled upland peoples ruined basin life by raiding, and their political intrigues unsettled Tay societies. Failure to conciliate them resulted in the inversion of the political and the ethnic order; Ta’aang officials abused Tay commoners, and Jingpo raiders even had the audacity to claim that the monarch owed his throne to them. In short, upland peoples turned Tay society upside down, and the monarchy survived a succession of trials and tribulations with the assistance of mercenary Han Chinese and Jingpo. This testifies that symbiosis of upland and lowland was a central issue in multi-ethnic Tay polities for the maintenance of political and social stability. Though violent conflict flared up when upland-lowland relationships, especially the bonds binding vassal to lord, became strained and stressed, interde­pendence still remained an essential element.

Interdependence was influenced by the degree of affinity forged between upland and lowland ethnic groups. Conflict unfolded according to political, and possibly sectarian, religious differences, but not on the basis of deep-seated ethnic hatred. Ultimately the Ta’aang and Tay did not unify as ethnic groups and instead split into multi-ethnic factions that shifted alliances at will; some Ta’aang defended the monarch’s supremacy, while others opposed it. The Chronicle implies, but does not explicitly state, that the Ta’aang usurped regal power but maintains silence about the exact reasons for their antagonism toward the monarch. Regal condemnation of Buddhist sects followed by the Ta’aang may have been a factor. Nevertheless, it is clear that common cultural and religious features enabled Ta’aang and Tay to band together into cliques, while a lack of consanguinity distanced the Jingpo and the Han native militia of Mäng2 Ka3 from the Tay. But the absence of such features did not prevent the Han and Jingpo from becoming entangled in basin politics both as vassals and as mercenaries. Unswerving in their loyalty to the Tay monarch, the Han did not raid or aspire to high official positions within the polity. Negotiation between upland and lowland leaders, as well as the need to trade in goods and services, worked to bind upland to lowland politically and economically.

Rather than seeing diametrical opposition as the main characteristic of upland-­lowland relations as Scott does, this study demonstrates the close connection between the two and reveals that the relationship between upland peoples and Tay polities shifted with changing politico-social circumstances. It also identifies the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries as a tumultuous period for upland and lowland; migration of new ethnic groups (for instance the Jingpo) forced basin polities to readjust their strategies.

These findings have implications for the history of northern continental Southeast Asia. Upland and lowland symbiosis in Tay polities is not unique to this case study; it resonates with historical evidence from other areas of the Tay world. Misgovernment of upland peoples by the Sipsong Panna polity led to the annexation of mountain tracts east of the Mekong River by the Qing in 1729 (Daniels 2004). The Sën5 wii1 polity in northern Myanmar also suffered from Jingpo depredations during the nineteenth century. Widespread strife with upland peoples indicates that Tay political systems progressively became incapable of balancing the interests of all ethnic vassals during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, a time of turbulent change for upland societies in the region. The population explosion in China during the eighteenth century spawned large-scale Han Chinese migration to the highlands of southern Yunnan. Burgeoning upland populations together with the expansion of commercial cotton and tea cultivation in the mountains of southern Yunnan and northern Myanmar propelled migration. Increased settlement of Han Chinese in the mountains caused indigenous upland groups to relocate farther south to the hills of Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.37) In addition to the perennial encroachments of Chinese dynasties, lowland polities, and later colonial regimes, upland peoples now faced intensified commercialization and greater pressure on land use. Changing politico-economic conditions in the region exacerbated conflicts between upland and lowland peoples.

The mention of conflict brings us to another theme, the prevalence of violence. C. Patterson Giersch has drawn on the work of Richard White to argue that society on the frontier in southern Yunnan from the eighteenth century was characterized by a “middle ground.” By invoking this concept Giersch has succeeded in revealing the mixing of Han and indigenous cultures in some parts of the Yunnan frontier, but it has led him to downplay the role of violence (Giersch 2006, 3–4). The evidence presented here demonstrates that violence was a fact of life for lowland and upland peoples alike in a Tay polity feudatory to the Qing. Its frequency is epitomized by the fortification of villages all over the Mäng2 Khön1 basin. The Chronicle documents the Ta’aang enclosing their villages in the Land of Sorrows and on the adjacent mountains for defense against the Jingpo: “At that time, they dug ditches, erected high reinforced earthworks (tën4), and surrounded all of the weng2 with thick lines of spikes to make them more impregnable” (KMMK, 95, lines 5–6). Here weng2 are not walled cities but stockaded or fortified villages, as can be seen from names such as Weng2 Maan5 Yak6.38) The waning of monarchical power and prestige spawned conflict and compelled villagers to defend themselves. The 11 checkpoints established by the Qing between 1815 and 1820 (see Table 3) failed to prevent the outbreak of civil war within the feudatory polity. Past research has documented the multiplication and intensification of armed conflict from the late eighteenth century in Yunnan as social and economic circumstances changed rapidly (Atwill 2005, 54–63). This study confirms that violence was far more widespread and destructive than can be captured in the notion of a middle ground.

Accepted: July 4, 2012


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Throughout this paper, the Shintani system as outlined in Shintani (2000) is used to Romanize Tay words. It possesses the following advantages:

(1) It is applicable for transcribing and/or transliterating all the languages in the Tay Cultural Area (Tay languages, Tibeto-Burman languages including Burmese, Mon-Khmer languages, etc.).

(2) It is designed to avoid digraph of vowels. It distinguishes diphthongs and records long and short vowels in a terse form.

(3) It can be inputted with conventional fonts.

(4) The use of -y and -w as a syllable final is designed to avoid triptongue.

Transcription of Vowels

Shintani System Thai Romanization Examples
i i  
e e  
ë ae sëng versus saeng
a a  
ö ò hö versus hò, Thai: หอ
o o  
u u  
ä oe or œ mäng versus moeng, Thai: เมิง / เมือง
ü ue or y (by Mary Haas) thü versus thue
ay ai pay versus pai
aw ao khaw versus khao
ai (aue does not exist in Thai) taü versus tai (taue)

Transcription of Consonant Clusters

Note that the consonant clusters -w- (pw-, tw-, thw-, sw-, lw-), -y- (py-, phy-, my-), and -r- (mr-, sr-, cr-) are not included in the Thai system.

Consonant clusters are Romanized as follows:

Shintani System Thai System
pw- none
tw- none
thw- none
sw- none
lw- none
kw- kw-
khw- khw-
py- none (-y- of py- is transcribed as a part of the diphthong -ia- as pia-)
phy- none (-y- of phy- is transcribed as a part of the diphthong -ia- as phia-)
my- none (-y- of my- is transcribed as a part of the dipthong -ia- as mia-)
pr- pr-
phr- phr-
mr- none
tr- tr-
sr- none
cr- none
kr- kr-
khr- khr-


The tones of Dehong Tay and their relationship to Proto-Tay are given in the following table.

For reference, the tones of Tay (Shan) in Burma and their relationship to Proto-Tay are given in the following table.

1) The Romanization of Tay words follows the Shintani system (see Appendix), but for the sake of clarity I have changed some initial consonants for ease of comparison with standard Tay (Shan) in Myanmar. For instance, present-day Dehong Tay does not distinguish between the initial consonants “n” and “l,” and uses “l” to indicate this sound, but I use nam6 (water) instead of lam6 and na2 (wet-rice field) instead of la2, etc.

2) J. C. Scott (2009). See reviews by Lieberman (2010) and Daniels (2010).

3) For another case study of a Tay regime whose stability and territorial integrity was threatened by unrest in the uplands, see Daniels (2004).

4) The old script version of the Khä2 Mäng2 Mäng2 Khön1 (hereafter KMMK) is reputed to be held at the Dehong Autonomous Region Archives, in Mangshi, but the archives do not permit consultation. Gong Suzheng 龔肅政, the doyen of Tay studies in Dehong, recalls seeing a Republican period date on it, but the printed new script version provides no data concerning either the date of composition or the identity of the author.

5) The total population in 1947 was estimated at 50,832 people (Luxi Xianzhi Bianzuan Weiyuanhui 1993, 40).

6) See Giersch (2006, 106–109) for the trade embargo.

7) For the stationing of a thousand Green Standards at Santai Mountain under the command of Kamčibu, see GZDQZ (Vol. 37, 63).

8) There were no Han villages in the Mäng2 Khön1 basin prior to the 1950s.

9) For the role of Han immigrants in the Tay World, see Daniels (2000, 87–90). The Chronicle mentions the Khe3 working as carpenters and stone bridge builders in Mäng2 Khön1 during the eighteenth century, but it gives no detailed information about which ethnic groups were included under the rubric of Khe3. The term Khe3 could denote craftsmen of Han, Bai, or other ethnicities. Khe3 carpenters completed the construction of the Kyöng2 Kham2 Temple in 1172 BE (1810–11 CE) (KMMK, 88, lines 13–20).

10) KMMK, 129, lines 22–25 states: “When the clever quick-witted Khe3 troops from Mäng2 Ka4 and the Khaang1 warriors arrived at Köng2 Long1 (Big Ridge) and Saay2 Sëng1 after trekking through the thick forest and undergrowth in the ravines, they torched all the houses.”

11) LÖKSMK, 48, line 12–49, line 8. KMMK, 95, lines 7–22 gives a slightly different version.

12) KMMK, 95, line 22 has the term po3 (military officer). So this text reads “had been appointed to office as military officers.”

13) KMMK, 111, last line.

14) Maang2 Ka6 La6 seems to have been the title for an administrative head of an area within a polity. Other known examples appear in letters written in Tay by Wa leaders, where it is used as a supplementary title for a Tha2 Mäng2 (head of a circle of villages in the Wa polity of Ngek Let), see LL8.81 and LL8.82 held in the Scott Collection, Cambridge University Library. There are two references to this title in the Chronicle—(1) KMMK, 126, lines 4–6 has “At that time the warrior Po4 Co2 Maang2 Ka6 La6 Po3 felt worried, and was not at all pleased with the Pö4 long4,” and (2) LÖKSMK, 64, lines 2–3 has “At that time the gallant Po4 Co2 Maang2 Ka6 La6 Pho3 was enraged at the disobedience of the Pö4 long4.” The Pho3 in (2) is a mistake for Po3.

15) KMMK, 113, lines 18–19 records: “The numerous soldiers that came down from Mäng2 Yaang2 and Caan2 Ta4 streamed into all places from the upper part of Ce4 Faang1 to the middle of Mäng2 Maaw2.” In addition, troops from Mäng2 Na5 also participated in the final stages of the offensive. See KMMK, 128, lines 6–8, which states: “The Mäng2 Yaang2 troops rode caparisoned horses, and the numerous troops from Mäng2 Na5 and Caan2 Ta4 came up marching in line.”

16) KMMK, 113, lines 11–16 states: “Therefore they decided to go ahead with their plan to use the hordes of Khaang1 from the savage forest, so they promptly prepared the diction of the directive for issue. Word soon spread abroad with noise and excitement to the caw5 fa6 sip1 po4 mäng2 at their respective places. How terrifying were the Khaang1 warriors, the men from the wild jungle, who came down from each mountain and ravine armed with spears, and bearing swords suspended over their shoulders; they also carried rattan bags with long straps decorated with flowers strung over their shoulders as well.”

17) Mäng2 Khä2 (Chinese name: Lujiang 潞江): khä2 means vine, creeper, race, lineage, topic 藤.According to Fletcher (1927, 132), Lujiang 潞江壩 refers to the Salween Valley between Hemushu 禾木樹 and Zhen’an suo 鎮安所, and he gave the Tay name as Namhkö.

18) Mäng2 Kha2 (Chinese: Khasi cun in Changning County 昌寧県尗斯村): kha2 means “mao grass 茅草.” Mäng2 Kha2 is also known as Kha2 Se:2 Wa3, which means “Fine Mao Grass 茅草 Village.” According to Meng Zunxian (2007, 1347), it refers to Kejie 柯街 in Changning County 昌寧県.

19) Mäng2 Ya2 (Chinese name: Wandian 灣甸 in present-day Changning County 昌寧県 Wandian Rural Township 灣甸郷). The term Mäng2 Ya2 is identified as Wandian zhou 灣甸州 in the Baiyiguan Laiwen 百夷館來文 No. 8 (see Izui 1949, 263–264). The meaning of ya2 is unknown.

20) Mäng2 Khëng1 (Chinese name: Zhenkang 鎭康): khëng1 means “firm, hard.” The Baiyiguan Laiwen 百夷館來文 No. 1 and No. 6 gives the Chinese equivalent as Zhenkang zhou 鎭康州 (see Izui 1949, 247, 258).

21) KMMK, 132, lines 3–9 records: “After the pulverization and utter destruction of Köng2 Long1 (Big Ridge) the Nga2 Mäng2 fled far away, taking only about five people. After reaching the road at Na2 Law2 that led to the cave in the crags, this small party came across a band of soldiers armed with muskets (köng5) who recognized him as the Pa4 löng4 commander from Paang4 Way5, the Nga2 Mäng2 named Thaak6 Kaang4 Wa3. These soldiers hastily lit their muskets (köng5) and instantly shot dead the Pa4 löng4 commander, the Nga5 Mäng5.” The prefix thaak6 indicates that the Ta’aang leader had formerly been ordained as a monk but had now returned to secular life.

22) KMMK, 130, lines 18–23 records: “The houses of the Kon2 Löy4 along the mountain ridges from Köng2 Long1 (Big Ridge), Köng2 Kha2 (Kha: Grass Ridge), Hoy5 Hëng5 (Chinese: Huixian 回賢 Returned Virtuosity), and Phin5 Saan4 (Chinese: Ping shan 平山 Flat Mountain) to Paang4 Wo2 (Bullock Camp), Ko4 Kaay35 (Chinese: Guogai shi 鍋蓋石 Pot Lid Rock), and Yi5 Waan2 Suy2 (Chinese: Yiwansui 一碗水 One Bowl of Water) lay completely derelict, and the people had absconded. Groups of Tay monks (khu2 ma2 si3 la3) scattered out and escaped by themselves. They fled in great numbers from the villages on the beautiful, large mountains. Some of them went far away, crossing the Khe2 Khong2 (Salween River) and going farther beyond.”

23) KMMK, 96, lines 2–5 records: “At first no one said much about the quarrel between Maan5 Yak6 and Maan5 Paang3 and Hö1 Na2 over the arched stone bridge (kho1 göng3; Chinese: gongqiao 拱橋), but later fighting broke out because both sides arrogantly refused to yield to the other. The Khun1 Mäng2 instructed both parties to make amends, but they did not obey him, which was an omen that misfortune was about to befall the country.”

24) Regarding the Ta’aang, LÖKSMK, 197, lines 10–16 writes: “they arrogantly said that they would only be satisfied by making the country empty (haü5 mäng2 haam2). They claimed that the ruler (khun1 mäng2) lacked even a semblance of justice (taa2 laa2) and had ordered that the wet-rice fields of our Maan5 Yak6 be taken away from the Pö4 löng4, the vassals (kha5) from the trees of the jungle, and cheerfully handed them over to the vassal (kha5) Pö42, the wicked man at Hö1 Na2.” KMMK, 105, lines 14–22 records: “In the second month [of the Tay calendar], people still had their minds set on taking up spears and swords in order to fight. The warriors of both Maan5 Paang3 Ho1 Na2 and Maan5 Yak6 intended to steadfastly rebel against us. It was said that the ruler (caw5) had granted Maan5 Kho1 Köng3 (Arched Bridge Village) and a mountain in Mäng2 Khi1 [named] Thun2 Khaang3 Cöng1 to Maan5 Paang3; [Maan5 Paang3 people] went to make a request to the ruler (Khun1 Mäng2), and that he had handed the wet-rice fields over to them. The Ta’aang vassals said that the ruler had ignored custom and had treated them with indifference. So they rallied to attack his shining palace, and after plundering it returned with large numbers of horses, cattle, water buffaloes, gold, and silver.”

25) KMMK, 177, lines 12–14 records: “Hö1 Na2 devised an important strategy of becoming more independent by hiring Khaang1 warriors.”

26) KMMK, 215, lines 18–22. The ethnic affiliation of the Ë3ä3 is unknown. The La6 refers to the tame Wa (kha5 La6) (see J. G. Scott 1890, 23).

27) The Japanese linguist Shintani Tadahiko divides the Ta’aang language into northern and southern dialects. On the basis of his extensive linguistic surveys, he identifies the main difference between them as the preservation of ancient voiced stops in the northern dialects and the tendency for these voiced stops to de-voice in the southern dialects. The vocabulary data published in his lexicon (Shintani 2008) was collected from fieldwork with seven speakers of the southern dialect: three in the Kengtung basin area and one each from Mäng4 Peng (east of the Salween on the road to Ho1 Paang2), Mäng4 Küng1 (north of Laay4 Khaa4), Yassaw (Lök5 Cök2, north of Taunggyi), and Kalaw (near Taunggyi). In a personal communication on February 21, 2011 Shintani informed the author that the autonym differs in the north and south. In the north (southwest Yunnan and Nam5 San2) people generally refer to themselves as Ta’aang, while in the south (southern part of the Shan State) they call themselves Dara’aang. Apparently, this difference is due to a change in the original voiceless plosive initial consonant “t,” which has become an implosive initial consonant “d” in the south. One notable exception is the Liang dialect 梁方言 spoken in Baoshan 保山 in southwest Yunnan, where the autonym is now Na’aang. Shintani hypothesizes that Na’aang has evolved from Da’aang with an implosive “D-.” He also reports the following examples: the autonym at Pha1 Min5 (east of Salween) is Dara’aang, and the autonym at Kalaw (west of Salween) is Da’aak, while the autonym at Nam5san2 is Ta’aang.

28) The term thaak6 denotes a former monk.

29) KMMK, 234, line 22. Khang1 is a mistake for Khaang1.

30) The term löy4 ko3 fa6 appears in KMMK, 114, line 14, and löy4 lum5 fa6 in KMMK, 115, line 8.

31) These two titles appear in KMMK, 113, line 12 and KMMK, 126, lines 1–12 respectively.

32) This phrase appears in an undated letter from the Caw3pha5 of Ngek Htin to the Caw3pha5 of Löy3 Län3 (Scott Collection, Cambridge University Library, LL8.35, lines 9–10).

33) The event is described in KMMK, 126, line 19–127, line 1. KMMK, 126, lines 11–18 records the wording of the letter that the deputy ruler sent to request aid from the Jingpo leaders as follows:
“We want you, the nine leaders (kaw5 caw5fa6), to come to aid us in driving out the terribly malicious Paa4 Löng4 Kon2 Löy4. We want to expel these destructive and ill-tempered subjects (kha5) with striped stomachs [refers to their striped clothes], force them to move away to distant places. Just get them out and far away, even if it costs the lives of several thousand of you. Do not worry about our debt for your deaths, as payment you Khaang1, who live among the trees of the jungle, can seize, at will, any belongings and property that you set eyes on, as well as all of their cattle, water buffaloes, horses and wet-rice fields.”

34) For (1) and (2) see J. G. Scott (1893, 10, Appendix XXIV); and for (3) and (4) see J. G. Scott (ibid., Appendix XXIII).

35) The Jingpo claimed to have shown gratitude (ke2 cu2) to Faang1 Ko3 Fa5 by withdrawing after they attacked and occupied the city of Mäng2 Khön1 earlier, thereby averting further destruction.

36) The term bo3 mäng2, literally the military leader of the country [of the Jingpo], probably refers to a mountain headman (shanguan).

37) For commercial crops see Takeuchi (2010); for population movements see Nomoto and Nishikawa (2008); for changes in trade see Giersch (2011).

38) KMMK, 107, lines 11–15 describes the fortifications of Weng2 Maan5 Yak6, a major Ta’aang stronghold in the following terms:

Since the great weng2 was constructed when the civil and military Khe3 official, Si5 Taaw3, came down, it was sturdy as if it had been built with stone (pha1). It was thickly encircled by three moats, and in addition each moat (maang4 ta4) had been surrounded with a barrier of intermeshed bamboo spikes. Our Tay warriors attacked but could not overcome it.

This passage reveals that the walls were either constructed with mud or palisaded with timber. Moats surrounded the walls, and an outer layer of sharpened bamboo spikes was added for further security. Sometimes groups of villages shared a walled fort (tap6 weng2) for protection, as in the case of Na2 Yön3. KMMK, 118, lines 17–19 writes: “Na2 Ya6 and Maan5 Hük1 feared (söng3) Nöng1 Sëng1 [village] because the latter showed no sign of weakness, boldly speaking in an arrogant tone as it could rely on the large walled fort (tap6 weng2 long1) at Na2 Yön3, which had abundant supplies of rice.”



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