Tiao Singkham
Tiao Singkham

Katay D. Sasorith
Katay D. Sasorith

Chao Nith Nokham
Chao Nith Nokham

Outhong Souvannavong
Outhong Souvannavong

Thao Phom Phrakornkham
Thao Phom Phrakornkham

Soukane Vilaisarn
Soukane Vilaisarn

 

Thao Muong Soukhatammavong
Thao Muong Soukhatammavong

 
     

The Medals:

The Lao, like their cousins the Thai and the Cambodians, accepted easily the wear of formal uniforms and medals. The court dress resembled closely that of Cambodia, the sampot and the high necked tunic with epaulets and embroidered cuffs and collar. For the many ceremonies, the orders, decorations, and medals were worn in the French style. For one audience in 1929, "His Majesty wore a coffee-colored sampot, black silk stockings, and white shirt and jacket with a black bow tie. In his left buttonhole was the red rosette of the French Legion of Honor, and he wore a watch chain with medals on it." (He was also described as shy, well fed, and having teeth stained red from chewing betel nut.) For a formal photograph on his throne during this period, the King wore the tall spiked traditional crown, patterned silk sampot and tunic, and his full set of awards.

The higher awards, bestowed particularly on members of the powerful elite families, were the Order of the Million Elephants and White Parasol, the Order of the Crown, and the Order of the Reign. The King was the approving authority for these. For other awards the Prime Minister was the approving authority. The recipient of the brevet would buy the insignia.

The Order of the Million Elephants and White Parasol was liberally bestowed on visiting foreigners, ranging from the hunters of the U.S. Natural History Museum specimen collecting expedition in 1929 to the Soviet pilots who brought in military supplies in 1962.

Many of the more senior Lao officers and officials had received such French awards as the Legion of Honor, as well as awards from Thailand and the other Indochina states. As elsewhere in Indochina, Lao soldiers who had been in the French Union armed forces from 1945 to 1954 were eligible for the Croix de Guerre T.O.E., the Colonial Medal and the Indochina Medal.

Lao soldiers and officials also received the Indochinese Merit Cross, the Medal of Honor for Courage and Devotion, and other medals of the French Government of Indochina under the authority of the Governor General of Indochina.

Most of the Lao awards were manufactured in France.  The Order of the Reign and the Combat Veteran's Medal were often bestowed on ordinary soldiers, who usually bought locally manufactured versions that were crudely cast and painted.  Reportedly, some Lao awards have been remanufactured in Thailand, perhaps both for Royal Lao veterans and for the militaria trade.

Ribbon bars were sewn on red felt and worn in the French manner. Some ribbon bars were made up in embroidered thread. Miniatures were also worn in the French fashion.

The Lao also awarded a fourragere in the colors of red and yellow for the Order of the Million Elephants and White Parasol, in yellow and red for the Order of the Reign, and in orange and white for the Order of Civil Merit.

The colorful flag of the Kingdom was red with the tricephalic elephant on five steps that represented the precepts of Buddhism, and under a parasol that represented the monarchy, all in white. The Royal arms had the three headed elephant on the steps, and above an urn and halo representing the enlightenment of Buddha, and on the sides golden cups, representing prosperity, and parasols, symbolizing the Royal authority.

The Lao had also a system of traditional dignities of nobility in the Thai fashion which was often called the mandarinate (although quite different from the Vietnamese and Chinese mandarinate). The titles, beginning from the lowest, were Mun, Sen, Phya, Phagna, Chao Phagna, and Chao Phagna Luang. Above these were special titles reserved to the very few highest dignitaries.

M Nginn Somchine Pierre
M. Nginn, Somchine, Pierre

Phongsavan
S.E. Phéng Phongsavan

Chao Sone Bouttarobone
Chao Sone Bouttarobone

Ouan Vinaigna
Ouan Vinaigna

Souban Sinbandhit
Souban Sinbandhit

Thao Kou Abhay
Thao Kou Abhay

Oudom Souvannavong
S.E. Dr Oudom Souvannavong

Soumpholphakdy
S.E. Thao Liep Soumpholphakdy

Chounramany
Chounramany

 

Thao Kene
Thao Kéne
(for more on Thao Kéne see
http://www.kene-philaphandeth.fr)

 

lointaine Wearing Wearing
Notre France Lointaine
18-LAOS
Province Tran Ninh, Xieng Khouang.
Le cayton : Chef de “Méos”
King Si Savang Vong
Laos Royal Order Grand Cross
French LOH Plaque on right breast
Annam Kim Khanh on neck cord
National Order of Vietnam, Kim Tien and Royal Order of Laos Knight on left breast

Wearing