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Prof. Barend Jan Terwiel als Gast in der Villa Athit in Bangkok. Bild © 2014 hmh.

Prof. Barend Jan Terwiel

Barend Jan Terwiel, former Head of the Department of Thai and Lao Languages and Literatures at the University of Hamburg is now living as a Professor Emeritus in Berlin. But he is as active as ever with lectures, publications and presentations at universities and symposiums. Another chance to listen to him will be coming Saturday, 9 December 2017 at this year’s Thai Tag at his former Hamburg University.

His talk (in English) on “Documents Pertaining to an Early 17th-century Mission to Ayutthaya” will be given from 10.15 a.m. in Room 221 at the Asia Africa Institue and describes as follows:

First, a detailed report of a visit to the court of Ayutthaya is presented. This took place in 1628 and 1629. The author of the report is a merchant employed by the Dutch East Indian Company. He describes the diplomatic dealings with the Phrakhlang, tells how the royal palace was entered, what the audience hall looked like and – what must be a unique account – he took part of a banquet in the main audience hall in presence of King Songtham.


In the second part of this presentation, a painting is introduced showing part of the events described by this Dutch observer. That what is depicted on the painting has hitherto not been identified, but it will be shown that it belongs to the above-mentioned report.


These two documents are an intriguing painting and a long text: each of them related to an event that took place in Siam in 1628. The painting is kept in the State Library of Baden, while the text comes from the National Archives in The Hague. The relationship between the two documents is first established and the unusual aspects of the painting is shown and explained in relation with the text. The remainder of the lecture is devoted to the question of the provenance of the painting and to unravel the way it ended up in Karlsruhe.

The official program of this event can be downloaded from the websites of the Asia-Africa-Institute and of the Hamburger Gesellschaft für Thaiistik (HGT). The Asia-Africa-Institute of the University of Hamburg is located at 1, Edmund-Siemers-Allee, East Wing, opposite Dammtor Railway Station. Entry is free.

Meanwhile, on request of scholars and students, Professor Terwiel has been – and still is – extremely busy with uploading some of his hard-to-find papers, contributions, talks and even some book-chapters to, a commercially active social networking website for academics. But also non-academics can register at to contribute and download.

The reason for this extensive work? Terwiel has been asked again and again by friends, fellow scholars, students and journalists especially for certain older articles which are now often hard to find. Some of the works which he had published since the late 1970s could not even been located any more it in his own library. This was the moment when he started to digitize everything of which he thinks that it would still be valuable to his fellow scholars and students today. Many of these essays and lectures include unique information on Thailand and especially on Thai history, which had been re-written again and again during the centuries – and often beyond recognition)


So far, the following articles, papers and chapters are now available to the website:

1 The Hidden Jataka of Wat Si Chum. A New Perspective on 14th and Early 15th Century Thai Buddhism, 2013.

2 Buddhism, the Villagers’ Perspective. Presented at the First International Conference on Thai Studies, 1981.

3 Bigotry and Tolerance. Two Seventeenth Century Reactions to Thai Buddhist Rituals, 2016.

4 On the Trail of King Taksin’s Samutphap Traiphum, 2014.

Towards Understanding Thai Buddhism, 2012.

5 Monks and Magic, Chapter 3, first published 1975, re-issued 2013. – For more information on this now famous book, see

6 Some Problems in Establishing the Bhikkhunî-Sangkha in Theravâda-Thailand, 2007.

7 [Review] Julia Cassaniti: Living Buddhism. Mind, Self and Emotion in a Thai Community, 2017.

8 Introduction to “A Village Ordination”, translated by T. Silcock, 1976.

Travellers' eyes . . .

Travellers‘ eyes . . .

9 Thai Buddhism: Some Indigenous Perspectives, 1998.

10 Thai Buddhism from a villager’s perspective. Lecture in German, 2002.

11 On the Image of the Buddha. Interview in Dutch, 1996.

12 The Role of the Laity in Modern Thai Buddhism. Lecture 1995, updated 2016.

13 The Sangha and Education in Thailand, 1990.

14 Leasing from the Gods (Thailand), 1976.

15 The Five Precepts and Ritual in Rural Thailand, 1972.

16 A Model for the Study of Thai Buddhism, 1976.

17 Two Scrolls Depicting Phra Phetracha’s Funeral Procession in 1704 and the Riddle of their Creation, 2016.

18 What Happened at Nong Sarai? Comparing Indigenous and European Sources for Late 16th Century Siam, 2013.

19 François Valentijn’s Map of “The Great Siamese River Me-Nam”, published in 1726, 2017.

20 Using Ockham’s Razor With Respect to the Ram Khamhaeng Controversy, 2006.

21 Ramkhamhaeng Inscription. Lacunae and Reconstructions, 1991.

22 The Ram Khamhaeng Inscription. The Fake That did not Come True, 2010

23 Towards a History of Chanthaburi, 1700–1860: The French Sources, 1984.

24 Tattooing in Thailand’s History, 1979.

25 The Burden of Owning Land. Habitat in Pre-Modern and Early-Modern Thailand, 2011.

26 Si Saowaphak. The ‘Phantom King’ in Thailand’s History, 2011.

27 Between Moulmein and Bangkok: The Mass Migration of Mons, 2003.

28 Burma in Early Thai Sources. An Essay on Models of Perception, 2002.

29 Early Ayutthaya, Trade and Evidence of an Epidemic, 1999.

30 Reflections on the Age of Indigenous Siamese Mapping, 2010.

31 Eine ungewöhnliche Landkarte Thailands (François Valentijn 1726), 2008.

32 Of Tidal Flats and Inland Flooding; An Essay in Comparative Historical Human Geography, 2006.

33 The Oldest Legal Texts in Thailand and their Social Context. Some Preliminary Remarks, 2006.

34 The Changing Tide of Warfare Early Burmese and Siamese Accounts Confronted, 2006.

35 Testing the Veracity of Thai Annals, 2002.

Sinlapawatthanatham 1984

Sinlapawatthanatham 1984

36 The Physical Transformation of the Central Thai Region in Premodern Times, 2007.

37 The Drawings of Engelbert Kaempfer and the History of Siam, 2004.

38 Kaempfer and Thai History: the Documents behind the Printed Texts, 1989.

39 [Kaempfer] Der Mann mit dem hochgedrehten Schnurrbart, in German, 2003.

40 Kaempfer’s Journal from Batavia to Japan and the Writing of “Heutiges Japan”, 1993.

41 Prospects of Ayutthaya, Capital of Siam, by Engelbert Kaempfer 1690, 1993.

42 Mendez Pinto and Thai History. First presented 1997, updated.

43 Technical Inventions as Factor of Social Change, Siam in the First Half 19th C., 2000.

44 Through Travellers’ Eyes (book), 1989.

45 The Sources used in Through Travellers’ Eyes (in Thai), ?

46 Reverend Dan Beach Bradley’s Diaries, 1982.

47 Development of a Central Education System in Thailand, 1977

48 Mueang Thai and the World [19th century intellectual history], 1986.

49 Civilizing the Past. Nation and Knowledge in Thai Historiography, 2001

50 Towards a History of Chanthaburi 1700–1860, 1984.

51 [Review] Shane Strate: The Lost Territories.Thailand’s History of National Humiliation, 2016.

52 Foreword to a new edition of William Clifton Dodd’s influential book The Tai Race. Elder brother of the Chinese, 1996.

53 Who Owns Angkor? 2011.

54 Siam or Thailand: What’s in a name? Some Reflections on the Circumstances prevalent in the late 1930s, when Siam became Thailand, 2008.

55 King Chulalongkorn as Diplomat: Three Accounts of the 5 Dinner with the German Kaiser, 2008.

56 The Bowring Treaty: Imperialism and the Indigenous Perspective”, 1991.

57 Bondage and Slavery in Early Nineteenth Century Siam, 1983.

58 Thai Nationalism and Identity: Popular Themes of the 1930s, 2002.

59 The Development of Consensus Nationalism in Thailand, 1997.

60 Asiatic Cholera in Siam: Its First Occurrence and the 1820 Epidemic, 1987.

61 ไข้ห่าในสยาม Asiatic Cholera in Siam 1820, in Thai, from Sinlapawatthanatham, 1984.

62 Acceptance and Rejection. The First Inoculation Campaigns in Thailand, 1988.

63 Field Marshal Plaek Pibun Songkhram [booklet], 1980.

64 Wie entstand Thai Identität? Auf Deutsch, 2008.

65 เจ้าขายผู้ถูกลืม [chao khai phu thuk luem], 1984. The sad story of the “forgotten” Prince Dilok Napharat (1884–1912), in Thai, from Sinlapawatthanatham 1984.

66 A Thai Village Over Time, 1979.

Bradley's Diaries

Bradley’s Diaries

67 Thailand’s Political History [Final Chapter 14], 2011.

68 List of Barend Jan Terwiel’s publications, 2017.

69 Siam. Ten Ways to Look at Thailand’s History [booklet], 2012.

70 The Body and Sexuality in Siam. A First Exploration in Early Sources, 2007.

71 คนไท(เดิม)ไม่ไดัอยู่ที่นี่ [khon thai (doem) mai dai yu thi ni] in Thai [with Tony Diller and Chonhira Satthayawatthana, Chapters 1 and 2], 1990.

72 Van denkmodellen en vooroordelen. Thaise geschiedschrijving over de periode van de eerste helft van de neegentiende eeuw, in Dutch, 2000.

73 Formal Structures and Informal Rules. An Historical Perspective on Hierachy, Bondage and Patron-Client Relationship, 1984.

74 The Introduction of Indian Prosody among the Thais, 1996.

75 The Power of Writing in Thai History, 2006.

76 The Origin and Meaning of the Thai ‘City Pillar’, 1978.

77 Die Katastrophe des 26. Dezember 2004 aus dem Gesichtspunkt des thailändischen Buddhismus, in German, 2005.

78 The Monk and the Doll, 1988.

79 Social Norms and Religion in Europe and Asia. A Cultural Comparison, 2002.

80 Tai Peoples in China and their Writing Systems, 2017.

81 Reading a Dead Language: Tai-Ahom and the Dictionaries, 1988.

82 Shan Manuscripts [held in German public collections, Introduction], 2003.

83 Tai Ahoms and the Stars [Introduction], 1992,

84 Ahom Script: Its Age and Provenance, 1990.

85 The Dispersion of the Khamti Shans, 2016.

86 The writing system of the [Tai-] Zhuang in China, in German, 2014.

87 The Tai of Assam and Ancient Tai Ritual, Vol. I (Life-cycle Ceremonies) & Vol. II (Sacrifces and Time-reckoning), 1980-81.

88 Recreating the past. Revivalism in Northeastern India, 1996.

89 The Rotating Naga. A Comparative Study of an Excerpt From the Oldest Tai Literature, 1985, also in Thai [การหมุนตัวของนาค  kan mun tua khong nak], 1986.

90 Laopani and Ahom Identity. An Ethnohistorical Exercise, 1993.

91 The “Khwan” and the Ominous Calendar, 2015.

Thailand's history

Thailand’s history

92 Tais and Belief in Khwans, 1978.

93 The Origin of Mankind in Ahom Literature, 1991, republished 2013.

94 The Origin of the T’ai Peoples Reconsidered, 1978.

95 Broektatoeage in Zuidoost Azië, in Dutch, 1988.

96 Ahom and the Study of Early Tai Society, 1983.

97 Data from White Tai and Nung, 1990.

98 Funerals and the Ritual Tug-of-War in Southeast Asia, 1995.

99 The Tale of the Giant Rice-Kernel and the Cursing Widow, 1994.

100 Rice Legends in Mainland Southeast Asia. History and Ethnography in the Study of Myths of Origin, 1994.

101 La déesse Tara et la religion ancienne des Ahoms [originally in English 1985], in French 1992.

102 Neo-Ahom and the Parable of the Prodigal Son, 1989.

103 Boeddhisme in de Praktijk. Booklet in Dutch, 1977

This list may be supplemented if additional essays will be available. All above listed documents can be downloaded from the website

Further articles by Professor Terwiel available on the internet (click on the respective links to read and download):

1 [Review] Andreas Stoffers: Im Lande des weißen Elefanten. Die Beziehungen zwischen Deutschland und Thailand von den Anfängen bis 1962. Bonn 1995, in German, 1996.

2 Recreating the Past. Revivalism in Northeastern India, 1996.

(We are grateful for any information on further articles.)

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