A former currency in
Siam, which –due to its specific shape– is known as
bullet money. In Thai, the word
‘caterpillar’, and refers to the fact that its shape seen from the side somehow
resembles a curling caterpillar. During the
Period, the photduang was the main form of
currency in trade transactions, whereas cowry shells (bia)
and clay tokens or gambling chips (pih)
where used for minor purchases. Bullet money has been used for over 500 years,
until it was abandoned in 1904, in the reign of King
Rama V. On the
upper surface a state seal was pressed onto it and on the sides it showed the
seal of the reigning king (fig.).
As reigns changed, these seals were altered, making it is possible today to trace
bullet money to the periods it was in use (fig.).
State seals in the Ayutthaya Period typically were in the form of a wheel or
another kind of circular figure suggestive of the
whereas the royal seal could be anything from the form of a
Sang, i.e. the
conch of victory, to that of a more
bud, and sometimes decorated with other
objects, such as crossed swords,
kranok motifs, etc. In the
Rattanakosin Period, the state seal is
classically in the form of a disc or a similar circular figure reminiscent of
a symbol of the
dynasty, and the royal seals are akin the
royal emblems of the relevant kings, from
Rama I to Rama V (fig.).
See also POSTAGE STAMP.