January 5, 2018

1270, 3233 THAILAND - Thai Classical Dance

1270 Thai Classical Dance

Posted on 05.10.2014, 05.01.2018
The present Thai classical dance (natasin) probably developed during the Ayutthaya period (1350-1767), although very little is known about the process. Its possible origins may be found in the Khmer tradition as depicted in the Khmer reliefs of Angkor and the Khmer-related reliefs of the Phimai temple. One possible transmission route for this clearly Indian-influenced dance technique could also have been South Thailand with its connections with Sri Lanka and the Srivijaya Empire. There may also be the possibility that the tradition was brought from India by Indian Brahman gurus.

3233 A Khon performance

The formulation of the present style took place during the reign of Rama I (1782-1809), and the standardisation of the dance technique happened simultaneously with the rewriting of the Ramakien, Thailand's national epic, derived from Ramayana. As a result, the sub-techniques of classical Thai dance are classified according to the characters portrayed in this epic poem. The first group, the noble humans, are divided into major heroes (Phra Ram), minor heroes (Phra Lak), major heroines (Nang Sida), and finally to minor heroines (Montho).

The second group consists of demon characters (yak), and the third monkeys (ling), both also central to the Ramakien. Dance students start their training between eight and ten years of age. In the first phase all of them study the fundamental series of movements, the slow movements (phleng cha) and fast movements (phleng reo). For the refined characters (Phra and Nang) there were originally 108 basic movements, but later they were reduced to 68. It makes full use of the meaningful and elegant hand gestures, echoing the Indian mudras.

Thai classical dance drama include khon, lakhon, and fon Thai. Khon is the most stylized form, performed by troupes of non-speaking dancers, traditionally solely in the royal court. The stories, episodes from the Ramakien, are told by a chorus at the side of the stage. Choreography follows traditional models rather than attempting to innovate. Costumes are dictated by tradition, with angels, both good and bad, wearing coloured masks. The most famous characters in the story are the monkey warriors, Hanuman and Phra Ram.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1270

The two se-tenant stamps form the series 500th Anniversary of Thailand-Portugal Diplomatic Relations, a joint issues Thailand-Portugal designed by Mayuree Narknisorn (Thailand Post Co., Ltd.) and Calos Barahona Possollo (CTT - Correios De Portugal), and issued on July 20, 2011. It is well known that Portugal was the first Western nation which came into contact with Thailand (and probably the one who has earned most from this relationship). The two pairs of se-tenent designs illustrate:
• the arrival of Nau, the Portugese ship to Ayutthaya - It's on the postcard 1270
• the historic scene of contact - It's on the postcard 1270

The last stamp is part of the series Rhynchostylis Orchid, issued on August 5, 2010. All four stamps are the same face value, 3 THB.
Rhynchostylis gigantea (Speckle)
Rhynchostylis gigantea Kultana Strain
Rhynchostylis gigantea var. alba - It's on the postcard 1270
Rhynchostylis gigantea var. rubrum

On the postcard 3233

The stamp is part of the series Thai Mask Play, issued on August 3, 2005, to mark the Thailand Philatelic Exhibition 2005 (THAIPEX '05), which was held between 3 and 7 August at Event Hall 5, Impact Arena, Muang Thong Thani. The four stamps illustrates the main characters of Ramakien present in Khon, a form of Thai classical dance.
• Pra Rama and Princess Sida (3 THB)
• Thosakan (3 THB)
• Hanuman (3 THB)
• Pra Rama's battle with Thotsakan (15 THB) - It's on the postcard 3233

This is a post for Sunday Stamps #190, run by Viridian from Viridian’s Postcard Blog. The theme of this week is: se-tenant stamps. Click on the button to visit Viridian’s blog and all the other participants.


Thai Classical Dance - Asian Traditional Theatre and Dance
Khon - Wikipedia

Sender 1270: ???
Sent from ??? (??? / Thailand), on 07.04.2014
Sender 3233: Pumipat
Sent from Bangkok (Bangkok / Thailand), on 12.2017


  1. The dancers are very colourful. I have nothing from Thailand and was surprised to see the length of time the country has had links with Portugal.

  2. what a moment that must have been -- the actual day of contact, as depicted. thank you for joining in this week.

  3. Interesting, and beautiful colourful stamps.

  4. I didn't know Thailand had links with Portugal. The stamps and card are all very beautiful.