Lao tattooing is of a most elaborate kind.
This page gives an overview of all articles in the 1911 Brittanica which are alphabetized under Lao to Lav.
Its industries include cotton-spinning, brewing, distilling, and the manufacture of tobacco, earthenware and matches; native industry produces carved and inlaid furniture, bronzes and artistic metalwork, silk embroidery, &c. Hanoi is the junction of railways to Hai-Phong, its seaport, Lao-Kay, Vinh, and the Chinese frontier via Lang-Son.
This portion of Mongolia is also much better watered, namely, by the Khatsyr, the Lao-ho and the Shara-muren, all flowing from the Khingan Mountains eastwards, and the last making the frontier between Mongolia and the Chinese province of Chihli.
The name Lao, which appears to mean simply "man," is the collective Siamese term for all the Thai peoples subject to Siam, while Shan, said to be of Chinese origin, is the collective Burmese term for those subject to Burma.
Lao is therefore rather a political than an ethnical title, and the people cordially dislike the name, insisting on their right to be called Thai.
The Lao, who descended from the mountain districts of Yunnan, Szechuen and Kweichow to the highland plains of upper Indo-China, and drove the wilder Kha peoples whom they found in possession into the hills, mostly adopted Buddhism, and formed small settled communities or states in which laws were easy, taxes light and a very fair degree of comfort was attained.
There are two main divisions, the Lao Pong Dam ("Black Paunch Laos"), so-called from their habit of tattooing the body from the waist to the knees, and the Lao Pong Kao ("White Paunch Laos") who do not tattoo.
The Lao Pong Dam now form the western branch of the Lao family, inhabiting the Siamese Lao states of Chieng Mai Lapaun, 'Tern Pre and Nan, and reaching as far south as 17° N.
Various influences have contributed to making the Lao the pleasant, easy-going, idle fellow that he is.
The Lao Pong Kao, or eastern branch, appear to have migrated southwards by the more easterly route of the Nam-u and the Mekong valley.
In contradistinction to the Lao Pong Dam, who have derived their written language from the Burmese character, the eastern race has retained what appears to be the early form of the present Siamese writing, from which it differs little.
They formed important settlements at various points on the Mekong, notably Luang Prabang, Wieng Chan (Vien-Tiane) Ubon and Bassac; and, heading inland as far as Korat on the one side and the Annamite watershed in the east, they drove out the less civilized Kha peoples, and even the Cambodians, as the Lao Pong Dam did on the west.
Vien-Tiane during the 18th century was the most powerful of the Lao principalities, and was feared and respected throughout Indo-China.
The Lao Pong Kao below 18° N.
If possible, they are as a race lazier than the western Lao, as they are certainly more musical.
The civilized Laos were long addicted to slave-hunting, not only with the sanction but even with the co-operation of their rulers, the Lao mandarins heading regular expeditions against the wilder tribes.
Closely allied with the Lao are a number of tribes found throughout the hill regions of the upper Mekong, between Yunnan and Kwangsi in China and the upper waters of the Menam in Siam.
Of this group of people, among whom may be named the Yao, Yao Yin, Lanten, Meo, Musur (or Muhso) and Kaw, perhaps the best known and most like the Lao are the Lu - both names meaning originally "man" - who have in many cases adopted a form of Buddhism (flavoured strongly by their natural respect for local spirits as well as tattooing) and other relatively civilized customs, and have forsaken their wandering life among the hills for a more settled village existence.
By the Chinese Shan States, portions of the province of Yunnan, the French province of Indo-China, and the Siamese Shan, or Lao States and Siam; on the S.
By Burma and the Lao tribes and W.
Nearly two million people, mixed Siamese, Lao and Cambodian,.
Of the tribes which occupy the mountains of Siam some are the remnants of the very ancient inhabitants of the country, probably of the Mohn-Khmer family, who were supplanted by a later influx of more civilized Khmers from the south-east, the forerunners and part-ancestors of the Siamese, and were still farther thrust into the remoter hills when the Lao-Tai descended from the north.
The more important places of northern Siam include Chieng Mai, the capital of the north, Chieng Rai, near the northern frontier; Lampun, also known as Labong (originally Haribunchai), the first Lao settlement in Siam; Lampang, Tern, Nan and Pre, each the seat of a Lao chief and of a Siamese commissioner; Utaradit, Pichai, Pichit, Pechabun and Raheng, the last of importance as a timber station, with Phitsnulok, Sukhotai, Swankalok, Kampeng Pet and Nakhon Sawan, former capitals of Khmer-Siamese kingdoms, and at present the headquarters of provincial governments.
The montons consist of groups of the old rural provinces (muang); the hereditary chiefs of which, except in the Lao country in the north and in the Malay States, have been replaced by governors trained in administrative work and subordinate to the high commissioner.
While the pure-blooded Malays of the Peninsula are Mahommedans, the Siamese and Lao profess a form of Buddhism which is tinged by Cingalese and Burmese influences, and, especially in the more remote country districts, by the spirit-worship which is characteristic of the imaginative and timid Ka and other hill peoples of Indo-China.
The gradual evolution of the Siamese (Thai) from the fusion of Lao-Tai and Khmer races has been mentioned above.
Their language, the most distinctively Lao-Tai attribute which they have, plainly shows their very close relationship with the latter race and its present branches, the Shans (Tai Long) and the Ahom of Assam, while their appearance, customs, written character and religion bear strong evidence of their affinity with the Khmers.
The southward movement of the Lao-Tai family from their original seats in south-west China is of very ancient date, the Lao states of Luang Prabang and Wieng Chan on the Mekong having been founded at least two thousand years ago.
The first incursions of Lao-Tai among the Khmers of northern Siam were probably later, for the town of Lampun (Labong or Haribunchai), the first Lao capital in Siam, was founded about A.D.
The fusion of races may be said to have begun then, for it was during the succeeding centuries that the kings of Swankalok-Sukhotai gradually assumed Lao characteristics, and that the Siamese language, written character and other racial peculiarities were in course of formation.
But the finishing touches to the new race were supplied by the great expulsion of Lao-Tai from south-west China by Kublai Khan in A.D.
Meanwhile the ancient state of Lavo (Lopburi), with its capital at Sano (Sornau or Shahr-i-nao), at one time feudatory to Swankalok-Sukhotai, remained the last stronghold of the Khmer, although even here' the race was much modified by Lao-Tai blood; but presently Sano also was attacked, and its fall completed the ascendancy of the Siamese (Thai) throughout the country.
Vigorous attacks were also made during this period on the Lao states to the northwest and north-east, followed by vast deportation of the people, and Siamese supremacy was pretty firmly established in Chiengmai and its dependencies by the end of the 18th century, and over the great eastern capitals, Luang Prabang and Vien-chang, about 1828.
In Patani the common language is still Malay, while in the upper parts of northern, and the outlying parts of eastern, Siam the prevailing language is Lao, though the many hill tribes which occupy the ranges of these parts have distinct languages of their own.
The Lao-shan, east of Kiao-chow, fringes the south-eastern coast for about 18 m.
Several coal-fields are worked; the most considerable lies in the valley of the Lao-fu river in the centre of the province.
The Tao-teh-king, or book of aphorisms on " the Tao and virtue " ascribed to Lao Tsze, is wholly unlike such a composition as Deuteronomy; and the disciples of Confucius carefully refrained from attributing to him any kind of supernatural inspiration in his conversations about social and personal morality.
There, too, according to Sze-ma Chien, he had several interviews with Lao-tsze, the father of Taoism.