Friday, April 25, 2008

Seals of the municipalities

Not only the provinces have emblems or seals (In Thai ตราสัญญลักษณ์), each of the municipality (thesaban) have one as well, and even the Tambon administrative organizations (TAO) each have one. As the TAO were nearly all created 1996-1999, and also in 1999 the sanitary districts became municipalities, a great number of these emblems had been created recently. To see these emblems in the everyday life one has to know where to look. Quite obviously they are displayed at the administrative office, at least if they had enough money for a representative building or sign. Maybe the most common place to see them however are the garbage bins - garbage collection is one of the tasks of the municipality and TAO. To show on this blog I even made a photo of such a garbage bin. A much more beautiful place for the emblem was found by municipality Don Sak, they placed it on top of their street signs. And of course those municipalities/TAO which have a website show their logo their as well.

That emblem from Don Sak also serves as a good example of the contents of these emblems. As they describe on their website, the main element is the Chedi of Khao Suwan Pradit (วัดเขาสุวรรณประดิษฐ์), the main temple of the whole district. It's of course no coincidence I chose the street named after (and leading towards) the temple for this photo. Another element in the logo is a ship, as the ferry pier to Ko Samui is also located within the town area. The emblems usually show some special buildings or natural places found within the area of the entity, or like the elephant in the one from Chang Sai something related to the etymology of the place. Sadly only few of the municipalities actually add the explanation of their logo on their website, so for many I could only guess what is displayed and why.

I wonder if anyone in Thailand has collected these emblems in a systematic way yet? Here in Europe heraldry has a long history, and have quite a lot of books on this topic, some of it collecting and explaining all the coat of arms of administrative entities for a specific area. If someone know anything like this for the Thai emblems please tell me about it, all I have is one book on the Thai flags (ธงไทย เล่ม ๑ - Thong Thai Volume 1, ever had the second volume?), and the citation for a book on the provincial seals I have no idea yet how to get my personal copy (ตราประจำจังหวัด by the Fine Arts Department, 1999).

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