Professor Phraya Anuman Rajadhon: Contributions to the Study of Folklore and Folk Life

Professor Prakong Nimmanahaeminda Ph.D.

Associate Fellow of the Royal Institute, Academy of Arts.


Professor Phraya Anuman Rajadhon was a Thai scholar declared by UNESCO as a world-renowned person with distinguished works in the field of culture for the year 1988. He had produced academic works in various fields: philology, literature, folk lore, anthropology, and history. Professor Phraya Anuman Rajadhon was interested in studying the way of life of ordinary people in Thai society. He frequently emphasised in his writing that studying the various types of folklore such as folktales, proverbs, folk plays and games, folk songs, and folk traditions, helps us learn about the lives, thoughts and beliefs of Thai people from past to present. He had never been a farmer nor indeed ordained as a monk, yet he studied and wrote about the lives of farmers and monastic life in details. He introduced the word “khati chaobaan” to be a coin the word folklore. The word had been used in academic circles until it was later re placed by khatichon and khatichon witthaya as proposed by Dr. Kingkeo Attagara. Professor Phraya Anuman Rajadhon translated some noteworthy foreign folktales into Thai and also analyzed certain aspects of some Thai folktales. His works include the studies of folk traditions and folk beliefs of Thai people in different regions. It may be said that Professor Phraya Anuman Rajadhon made a very significant contribution to the study of folklore in Thailand. He was the one who showed the importance of folk culture. He did research himself and also encouraged other academics to conduct research in this area. His voluminous writings are valuable resource in the understand ing of Thai culture and society both past and present.

Key words: Phraya Anuman Rajadhon, Folklore in Thailand