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LEXICON

 

 

Bell of Ramkamhaeng

Name today given to a bell that is described on Inscription N 1, i.e. the Stone of Ramkamhaeng (fig.), a ancient sila jahreuk, a stele or stone block with an epigraph, allegedly written by King Ramkamhaeng (fig.) and discovered in Sukhothai. The associated part of the inscription reads: The King has hung a bell in the opening of the gate; if any commoner has a grievance which sickens his belly and grips his heart, he goes and strike the bell: King Ramkamhaeng will question the man, examine the case and decide justly for him.... A replica of this bell now hangs in Sukhothai Historical Park. In the Rattanakosin Period, the system of the bell was revived, yet with a drum called klong winitchayperih, which was erected at the edge of the palace, for anyone who wanted to petition a special request on an important issue or submit a grievance, though the use of the so-called decision drum was eventually abolished by King Rama IV (fig.) when other offices with direct channels for petitioning came into place. See also THEMATIC STREET LIGHT.