Wednesday, November 9, 2011

City Pillar of Phana, Amnat Charoen

City pillar of Phana
photo courtesy of Lawrence
At the small municipality of Phana in Amnat Charoen province, there are big plans for the city pillar (Lak Mueang, หลักเมือง). The blogger Lawrence who lives in this remote town in the northeast of Thailand reports on the history of the pillar and the way more ancient four corner stones, which are already nearly hidden due to the higher street level. The pillar itself is only ten years old, as it was erected when the almost forgotten corner stones were unearthed. These corner stones however are already 300 years old.

The municipality now plans to build a real shrine for the city pillar, judging from the drawing would be of similar size as the city pillar shrines in the provincial capitals. The shrine will however be build near the current site, and the spirits of the pillar were already notified about the change as well.

One could of course wonder why a small municipality, which is not even the seat of the district office, should have such a big city pillar shrine, or why it actually has a city pillar at all - there are still some provinces which have no city pillar in their capital. But historically, Phana was more significant in the past than it is today. In 1879, it became a Mueang under Ubon Ratchathani, at that time named Phana Nikhom (พนานิคม). With the thesaphiban reforms, this Mueang became a district within the province, and since the district office went to Ban Khulu (according to this was in 1914) it was renamed accordingly in 1917 [Gazette]. That district is today Trakan Phuet Phon of Ubon Ratchathani. The present district of Phana was created in 1951 by splitting of the area around the historical origin from Trakan Phuet Phon [Gazette]. The current district office is however a bit outside the historical center in Phra Lao subdistrict.

I wasn't aware of Phana's historical grandeur, and only with to the comments of Lawrence was hinted that I should have checked my own sources which already have all the answers. Especially the list of Mueang in Isan I still haven't found the time and patience to work through...


Pawyigh Lee said...

I need more discipline to make use of my time and patience! Yasothon has just erected a statue of its founder in a war-like pose, and I want to work history of that war, currently a poor article in the Vietnam portal titled Laotion Rebellion.

Lawrence said...

Thanks for the mention and link, Andy. (YouTube, too.) I'll be posting soon about the foundation ceremony for the new Lak Mueang, photos mostly.

Are you familiar with "Ancient Siamese Government and Administration" by H.G. Quaritch Wales? One of my brothers-in-law gave me a copy. Lots of fascinating stuff in there, much of it shedding light for me on present-day bureaucratic ways in Thailand. It won't stretch your Thai reading, though, because it's in English.

Michael Brückner said...

The old Phana Nikhom is easily mixed up with Amphoe Phanna Nikhom (อำเภอพรรณานิคม), Sakon Phanom Province - of course, only by readers of the transcription.

Andreas Hörstemeier said...

A friend of mine has that book by H.G. Quaritch Wales, and gave me scans - but haven't yet read it in detail. However, the other book by Wales would be even more interesting for the topic of this blog, as it deals almost only with the administrative system in Ayutthaya times.