Mong Mao

Mong Mao, Möngmao (Chinese: 勐卯; Tai Nuea: ᥛᥫᥒᥰ ᥛᥣᥝᥰ; Shan: မိူင်းမၢဝ်း; Burmese: မိုင်းမော) or the Mao Kingdom was an ethnic Dai state that controlled several smaller Tai states or chieftainships along the frontier of what is now Myanmar, China, the states of Northeast India of Assam, and Arunachal Pradesh, principally set in the Dehong region of Yunnan with a capital near the modern-day border town of Ruili. The name of the main river in this region is the Nam Mao, also known as the Shweli River.

Mong Mao
One of the ancient Tai States
560[citation needed]–1604
Mong Mao.svg
Territory of Mong Mao in the heyday of Si Kefa period.
• Established
560[citation needed]
• Disestablished
Today part ofChina
Ben Cahoon (2000). "World Shan and Karenni States of Burma". Retrieved 7 July 2014.


Mong Mao is Tai Nuea and Shan language name, also called Mong Mao Long (Tai Nuea: ᥛᥫᥒᥰ ᥛᥣᥝᥰ ᥘᥨᥒᥴ; Shan: မိူင်းမၢဝ်းလူင်), which means "Great Mong Mao". The "Mong" means country or place.[1] The "Mao" (ᥛᥣᥝᥰ) was evolved from "dizzy" (ᥛᥝᥰ), it is because the mother of legendary king Chao U Ting felt dizzy when she was brought to the sky by a bird.[2] The name "Mong Mao" is still used nowadays, as the official Tai Nuea name of Ruili City (ᥝᥥᥒᥰ ᥛᥫᥒᥰ ᥛᥣᥝᥰ).

Kosambi was an Indian ancient country, Mong Mao used Kosambi as his Buddhistic classical name.[3]"Kosambi" is also called "Guo-zhan-bi" (Tai Nuea: ᥐᥨᥝᥰ ᥓᥛᥱ ᥙᥤᥱ, Chinese: 果占璧) in Ruili, modern Dai people give a new explanation of "Guo-zhan-bi" which is "place that produce fragrant soft rice".[4]

In Chinese literature, Mong Mao was called Luchuan (Chinese: 麓川), first recorded in Yuanshi as the name of the administrative division "Luchuan Circuit" (Chinese: 麓川路).[5] Some of literature also called Mong Mao as Baiyi (Chinese: 百夷), but most of the time this is a collective name of all the ethnic groups in south west of Yunnan, or specifically refers to Dai people.[6]

In Burmese literature, Mong Mao was called Maw[7] or Maw Shan.[8] In the Manipur literature, such as Cheitharol Kumbaba use the name Pong refer to Mong Mao.[9]


The chronicle of this region, titled the Mong Mao Chronicle, was written much later.[10] Some scholars identify Mong Mao with the Kingdom of Pong, as well as with the kingdom of Luh Shwan mentioned in Chinese chronicles. Like most of Tai Yai history, the history of the Kingdom of Pong is largely legendary and existing chronicles and traditions include conflicting names and dates which have led to different interpretations.[11]

Mong Mao arose in the power vacuum left after the Kingdom of Dali in Yunnan fell to the Mongol Yuan Dynasty around 1254. The Yuan ruled the region indirectly in what was known as the Native Chieftain System. This kingdom had asserted some unity over the diversity of ethnic groups residing along the southwest frontier of Yunnan.[12]

After the Ming conquest of Yunnan the Mong Mao under Si Lunfa decided to submit to Ming authority. However, Mong Mao revolted in 1386 and led to the Ming–Mong Mao War (1386–1388). In 1448, a combination of Ming, Sipsongpanna, and other allied forces subjugated Mong Mao.

"Mong Mao" is sometimes used by authors to refer to the entire group of Tai states along the Chinese-Myanmar frontier including Luchuan-Pingmian (麓川平緬), Mong Yang (Chinese: 孟養; pinyin: Mèngyǎng), and Hsenwi (Chinese: 木邦; pinyin: Mùbāng), even though specific place names are almost always used in Ming and Burmese sources.[13]

The center of power shifted frequently between these smaller states or chieftainships. Sometimes they were unified under one strong leader, sometimes they were not. As the Shan scholar Sai Kam Mong observes: "Sometimes one of these [smaller states] strove to be the leading kingdom and sometimes all of them were unified into one single kingdom ... The capital of the kingdom shifted from place to place, but most of them were located near the Nam Mao river (the "Shweli" on most maps today)" [14]

The various versions of the Mong Mao Chronicle provide the lineage of Mong Mao rulers. The Shan chronicle tradition, recorded very early by Elias (1876), provides a long list with the first ruler of Mong Mao dating from 568 A.D. The dates in Elias for later rulers of Mong Mao do not match very well the dates in Ming dynasty sources such as Ming Shilu (Wade, 2005) and Baiyi Zhuan (Wade, 1996) which are considered more reliable from the time of the ruler Si Kefa. Bian-zhang-ga (1990), translated into Thai by Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hongyun (2001), also provides a fairly detailed local chronicle of Mong Mao.

List of MonarchsEdit

Chinese name Years Length Succession Death Tai Name Burmese name Other names
Si Kefa
1340–1371 31 years natural Hso Kip Hpa Thokhyibwa Sa Khaan Pha
Zhao Bingfa [zh]
1371–1378 8 years son natural
Tai Bian
1378/79 1 year son murdered
Zhao Xiaofa
1379/80 1 year brother of Zhao Bingfa murdered
Si Wafa
? ? brother murdered Hso Wak Hpa
Si Lunfa [zh]
1382–1399 17 years grandson of Si Kefa Hso Long Hpa Thowunbwa
Si Xingfa
1404–1413 9 years son abdicated
Si Renfa [zh]
1413–1445/6 29 years brother executed Hso Wen Hpa Thonganbwa Sa Ngam Pha
Si Jifa [zh]
1445/6-1449 son executed Thokheinbwa Sa Ki Pha, Chau Si Pha
Si Bufa [zh]
1449-? Thopoutbwa
Si Lunfa ?-1532 murdered Sawlon Sawlon

Descendants-Tai AhomEdit

Chaolung Sukaphaa was the founder of the Ahom kingdom in what is now parts of Assam. A Tai prince originally from Mong Mao, founded the kingdom in what is now Charaideo region of Assam, in 1228 and existed for nearly six hundred years which led to the process of Ahomisation and in the process unified the various indigenous ethnic groups of the region under the banner of 'Ahom' that left a deep impact on the region. In reverence to his position in Assam's history the honorific Chaolung is generally associated with his name (Chao: lord; Lung: great).

Since 1996 December 2 has been celebrated in Assam as the Sukaphaa Divawkh, or Axom Divawkh (Assam Day), to commemorate the advent of the first king of the Ahom kingdom in Assam after his journey over the Patkai Hills.


  1. ^ Meng 2007, p. 1347
  2. ^ Gong & Yang 1988, p. 6
  3. ^ Mangrai 1965, p. 37
  4. ^ Gong & Yang 1988, p. 1
  5. ^ You 1987, p. 58
  6. ^ Hu 1984, p. 86
  7. ^ Taw 1899, pp. 38-39
  8. ^ Harvey 1925, p. 322
  9. ^ Parratt 2005, pp. 29,41
  10. ^ Elias, 1876; Daniels, 2006; Bian-zhang-ga, 1990; Witthayasakphan and Zhao Hongyun, 2001
  11. ^ Yos Santasombat, Lak Chang: A Reconstruction of Tai Identity in Daikong, p. 3-4
  12. ^ Daniels, 2006, p. 28
  13. ^ Wade, 2005
  14. ^ Sai Kam Mong, 2004, p. 10, citing Jiang Yingliang, 1983


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  • Translated by 龚肃政 (Gong Suzheng); Explained by 杨永生 (Yang Yongsheng) (1988). "银云瑞雾的勐果占璧简史 (Yin yun rui wu de meng guo zhan bi jian shi)" [Chronicle of Guo-zhan-bi]. 勐果占璧及勐卯古代诸王史 (Meng guo zhan bi ji meng mao gu dai zhu wang shi) (in Chinese). Kunming: Yunnan Nationalities Publishing House. pp. 1–51. ISBN 7-5367-0352-X.
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  • 胡绍华 (Hu Shaohua) (1984). "试述"百夷"含义的历史演变" [A discuss of the historical evolution of the meaning of "Baiyi"]. 中央民族学院学报 (Journal of Minzu University of China) (in Chinese) (3): 85-89. doi:10.15970/j.cnki.1005-8575.1984.03.022.
  • Taw Sein Ko (1899). Inscriptions of Pagan, Pinya and Ava: Translation, with Notes. Rangoon: Government Printing, Burma.
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  • Saroj Nalini Arambam Parratt (2005). The Court Chronicle of the Kings of Manipur: The Cheitharon Kumpapa. London: Routledge. ISBN 0-203-44427-2.
  • Daniels, Christian (2006) "Historical memories of a Chinese adventurer in a Tay chronicle; Usurpation of the throne of a Tay polity in Yunnan, 1573–1584," International Journal of Asian Studies, 3, 1 (2006), pp. 21–48.
  • Elias, N. (1876) Introductory Sketch of the History of the Shans in Upper Burma and Western Yunnan. Calcutta: Foreign Department Press. (Recent facsimile Reprint by Thai government in Chiang Mai University library).
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  • Bian-zhang-ga. (1990). "Hemeng gumeng: Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [A History of the Kings of Meng Mao]." In Meng Guozhanbi ji Meng Mao gudai zhuwang shi [History of Kosampi and the kings of Meng Mao]. Gong Xiao Zheng. (tr.) Kunming, Yunnan, Yunnan Minzu Chubanshe.
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  • Wade, Geoff (1996) "The Bai Yi Zhuan: A Chinese Account of Tai Society in the 14th Century," 14th Conference of the International Association of Historians of Asia (IAHA), Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand [Includes a complete translation and introduction to the Ming travelogue "Bai-yi Zhuan", a copy can be found at the Thailand Information Center at Chulalongkorn Central Library
  • Wade, Geoff. tr. (2005) Southeast Asia in the Ming Shi-lu: an open access resource, Singapore: Asia Research Institute and the Singapore E-Press, National University of Singapore,
  • Witthayasakphan, Sompong and Zhao Hongyun (translators and editors) (2001) Phongsawadan Muang Tai (Khreua Muang ku muang), Chiang Mai: Silkworm. (Translation of Mong Mao chronicle into the Thai language)

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