Authors : Mingkwan Chonpairot , Souneth Phothisane and Phra Sutdhisansophon
Abstract: The Kula were traveling merchants, who came into Northeast Thailand from the Mon states and Shan states in Myanmar and from Northern Thailand. They conducted trade and traveled in caravans bringing with them goods and merchandise from their homeland, which included measuring scales, betel nut chewing tools, brass utensils, lamp, jewelry box, tobacco box, ear rings and necklaces. They traded and bought other merchandises along their travels such as cows, buffalo, spices and useful household items and tools. The Bowring treaty between Thailand and England added to the prosperity of the Kula trade and eventually large caravans of Kula merchants were frequent sites in Central and Northeastern Thailand. The Kula also brought with them traditions and customs such as a more lavish style of Boon Khao Sak festival and Mongsoeng Dance and Music to communities in Northeast Thailand. The Kulas knowledge in trading and journeys provided an important example and model for other groups such as Indian, Chinese and local Thai-Lao groups to follow. The end of the Bowring treaty brought an end to the large Kula caravans. Kula merchants still continued their trade but they were eventually replaced by modernization. Most of the Kula merchants ended their journeys in Northeast Thailand villages where they took wives and settled down. Most of them never returned home. Modernization and assimilation have caused many Kula culture and traditions to disappear. The Kulas cultural treasures and traditions have mostly been preserved successfully at the village of Ban Non Yai in the Province of Ubon Ratchathani.
Mingkwan Chonpairot , Souneth Phothisane and Phra Sutdhisansophon , 2009. Guideline for Conservation, Revitalization and Development of the Identity and Customs of the Kula Ethnic Group in Northeast Thailand. The Social Sciences, 4: 167-173.