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earth goddess

In Hinduism, the goddess of the earth is Bhumidevi, in Buddhism she is Mae Phra Thoranee. In Buddhism she was called before the demon Mara to bear witness to the merit the Buddha accumulated in his previous lives. She is often depicted in Thai and Cambodian iconography wringing water from her long hair which drowns the armies of the demon Mara (fig.).

East Asian white radish

See hua chao thao.

East Asiatic Company

Firm founded in 1897 by Hans Niels Andersen, a Danish shipping magnate and businessman, who in 1872 first came to Bangkok as a hired ship's carpenter. After having advanced to first mate in 1873, he later on became master of a ship owned by King Rama V. Though initially set up to provide freight and passenger shipping lines between Bangkok and Copenhagen, the East Asiatic Company (EAC), known in Danish as Det Østasiatiske Kompagni, over time expanded its services worldwide and eventually grew to become the largest company in Denmark, operating from the Danish capital. With the rise of air travel passenger operations shrank, until they were eventually discontinued in 1969. Its former offices in Bangkok were located along the lower eastern bank of the Chao Phraya River, just downstream from the luxury Oriental Hotel, the first ever hotel in Thailand, which was built in 1887, also by Andersen in partnership with two compatriots, on premises which he had bought in 1881. Its former docks are further downstream, where today Asiatique The Riverfront (fig.) is located, as well as the Bangkok Ferris Wheel (fig.). See MAP.

East China Yellow Lady's Slipper

Common name for a terrestrial Venus Slipper orchid with the botanical name Paphiopedilum concolor (fig.).

Eastern & Oriental Express

Official name of the opulent train that runs between Singapore and Bangkok, via Penang and Butterworth in Malaysia. The luxurious dining car offers a five star menu, cooked by internationally renowned chefs. Popular name Oriental Express (fig.).

Eastern Courtier

Name of a species of butterfly found in South and Southeast Asia. READ ON.

Eastern White Pelican

See White Pelican.

East Indian Walnut Tree

Common name for a tree in the family Fabaceae and with the botanical designation Albizia lebbeck, that grows to a height of up to 30 meters tall, with a trunk that grows up to circa a meter in diameter. It has white, fragrant, tassel-like flowers with numerous 2.5 to 3.8 centimeter long stamens, whilst the fruit consists of a pod that can grow up to 30 centimeters  in length, up to 5.0 centimeters  in width, and contains six to twelve seeds. In Buddhism, it is considered a sacred tree, i.e. a kind of bodhi tree, under which Kakusandha, a buddha of the past (fig.), sat when he attained Enlightenment. See also POSTAGE STAMPS.

eave bracket

Architectural term for the ornament supporting the roof eaves. On Buddhist temples in Thailand they are often in the shape of a naga or other, usually mythological, figure. Sometimes their function is as much decorative as supportive (fig.). In Nonthaburi, the characteristic eaves brackets of the old City Hall's balcony (fig.) have been made into a local emblem that has been introduced as an iconographic symbol of the city and province. In Thai, eaves are generally called thuay (), but the triangular form is also referred to as thuay hoo chang (٪ҧ), i.e. elephant's ear eaves. See also THEMATIC STREET LIGHT (1), (2), (3), (4), (5), (6), (7) and (8), as well as TRAVEL PICTURE.

Ebisu (恵比須, 恵比寿)

Japanese. The Japanese god of fishermen and one of the Seven Gods of Fortune. READ ON.

E De (Ê Đê)

Vietnamese. Name of an ethnic minority group, that lives in the Central Highlands of southern Vietnam and that has an estimated population of around 300,000.  They live in concentration in Dak Lak Province, as well as in western parts of Khanh Hoa and Phu Yen Provinces. This group practices matrilineal descent, in which ancestry is traced through the female line, i.e. children take the family name of their mother and the right of inheritance is reserved for daughters only. Hence, all family property is held by women, while corporate property, such as paddy land and cattle, are held by a senior matriarch. The E De typically live in Longhouses (fig.), and after marriage, the man comes to live at his wife's house. Their language belongs to the Malayo-Polynesian group. The E De were previously also known as Rhade or Rade, and as De.


The Thai educational system consists of two years of kindergarten, six years of elementary or primary school, six years of high school divided into three years of junior school and three years of senior high school, respectively. READ ON.

Edwards' Pheasant

See Vietnamese Pheasant.

Egg Magnolia

Common designation for an ornamental flowering tree, with the botanical binomial name Magnolia liliifera. The tree produces fragrant, egg-shaped flowers in white to cream colours that grow on its terminal stems, complemented by long elliptical leaves. Notably, in the morning, these flowers are known to emit a delightful pineapple-like scent. In Thai, it is known as montha and is considered a celestial plant. According to story of the Buddha, this plant grows only in heaven and cannot be found on earth and its flowers would only descend to the earth during eight significant Buddha-related events, including when the Buddha attains nirvana. The story then recounts that, seven days after the Buddha reached nirvana, Maha Kassapa and other members of the Sangha were en route to Kushinara in order to pay their respects to the Buddha. Before reaching Kushinara, they observed a man using an Egg Magnolia flower as a parasol, implying and signaling them that the Buddha had indeed already attained nirvana. The Egg Magnolia is not native to Thailand, and its arrival in the region remains unclear. One hypothesis suggests that it may have originated from Java, a notion supported by information found in literature, namely in the Thai story Inao (fig.), which draws inspiration from Indonesian literature, there is a chapter that mentions the Egg Magnolia as having originated from Java. See POSTAGE STAMP.

Egg of Brahma

Name for the entire solar system, also known as the Surya-system. Seen from outer space as an ovoid body of light, an egg-shaped irresolvable nebula. This includes the entire solar world, from the very heart of the Sun to beyond the confines of what astronomers call the farthermost planets. It is composed of concentric spheres with at the heart of each one of them the Sun. each one of these spheres is a cosmic world, including our Earth. See also loka and Brahma. In Sanskrit called Brahmanda. See also hiranyagarbha.

eggshell porcelain

A kind of extremely thin porcelain from China, which is often semi-translucent (fig.) or decorated with patterns that are visible only when held to the light, somewhat like a watermark in paper. Such decorations were engraved before firing the porcelain, and are known as an hua (暗话) in Chinese, which translates as secret language. The production of this paper-thin porcelain, in general bowls, cups and plates, is very intricate and was introduced in the Ming Dynasty, although hei tao (黑陶), the highly polished black pottery of the Neolithic Long Shan (龙山) culture, has eggshell thinness and is considered to date back some 4,000 to 5,000 years. The latter is sometimes referred to as black eggshell pottery. Eggshell porcelain is often plain white in colour, though it can also have a painted design, either in a variety of colours (fig.), but frequently with a pattern in only blue. Due to its weightlessness, eggshell porcelain is sometimes known as bodiless chinaware, which in Chinese is called tuo tai ci (脱胎瓷).

Egyptian Vulture

Common name for a  diurnal bird of prey, which is found in southern Asia, as well as in southern Europe and parts of Africa. READ ON.


See ba.

Eighteen Arahats

See arahat.

Eight Great Bodhisattvas

Term for the main bodhisattvas associated with the Shakyamuni Buddha, eight in total and each one representing a personification of one of his primary qualities. READ ON.

Eight Immortals

The Eight Immortals from Chinese mythology worshipped by most Chinese. They are usually depicted together on a raft crossing the ocean from their home in the Taoist paradise to worship Xi Wangmu, Queen Mother of the West and mother of the Jade Emperor, after attaining their Enlightenment. The mother of the supreme god is also the guardian of the Peaches of Immortality, an attribute often accompanying the Eight Immortals (fig.). The eight are known by the names: Chung-li Chuan (fig.), Li Tieh-kuai (fig.), Lu Tong-pin (fig.), Chang Kuo Lao (fig.), Ho Hsien-ku (fig.), Lan Tsai-ho (fig.), Han Hsiang Tzu (fig.) and Tsao Kuo-chiu (fig.). In iconography, they often hold an attribute for recognition (fig.). Each Immortal also has his own mount, either a real, existing animal or an etymological creature (map - fig.). In Chinese called Ba Xian and in Thai known as Pooy Sian, Pa Sian (¹), and Paet Sian (Ỵ¹) or Paet Thep (Ỵ෾). See also luohan, arahat, and Seven Gods of Fortune.

Eightfold Path

The last of the Four Noble Truths of the Buddha's teaching which outlines the eight steps one must follow in order to eliminate suffering and thus attain Enlightenment or nirvana. The eight steps are: right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. In iconography often portrayed by a wheel with eight spokes. See also dhammachakka.

Ekajata (एकाजटा)

Sanskrit. Single braid of hair or single chignon. Name for the Blue Tara and one of the most fierce goddesses of Tibetan Buddhism, i.e. a sect of Mahayana Buddhism. She is the protector of the Vajrayana sect, as well as of secret mantras. She comes in many forms, but is usually depicted naked, wearing just a tiger skin around her thighs and a necklace of human skulls around the neck, while being surrounded by flames, which represent wisdom. She may also sway a human body and trample on a corpse, actions that symbolize the suppression of the ego. Besides this, she is often depicted with a single chignon; just one tooth or a single fang which is used to pierces through various obstacles; either one or three breasts; and with three eyes, though two of them are always closed, whilst the open one is a vertical third eye. Her name is a compound of the words eka, meaning one, and jata, which means matted hair, though due to the fact that she is a goddess, the female gender can be used and she is hence also called Ekajati.

Ekalai (͡)

Thai. Name of one of the seven guardian spirits that looks out for children and that are generally known as Mae Seua. This thevada guards all the children that are born on a Saturday and is represented with either a blackish or an orangey-yellowish human-like body with black cloud-like stripes and the head of tiger (seua).

ekamukhalinga (एकामुखलिङ्ग)

Sanskrit. Representation of a linga with a single face.

Ekatanta (एकादन्त)

Sanskrit. Single tusk. A nickname for Ganesha, due to the fact that he broke off one of his tusks, which he threw at the moon when he felt insulted by it, after the moon had laughed at him when he fell from his mount the rat, although another legend says that he lost one of his tusks in a fight with Shiva. Hence, Ganesha is often portrayed with a single tusk, often while holding the other one in one of his hands.

Ekathotsarot (เอกาทศรถ)

Younger brother of King Naresuan (fig.) and co-ruler of the kingdom of Ayutthaya during the latter's reign. He ascended the throne on 25 April 1605, after the death of his brother and stayed in power until his own death, which occurred sometime between October 1610 and November 1611. See also list of Thai Kings and WATCH VIDEO.


See Asian Elephant.

Elephant Building

Name for a building in Bangkok's Chatuchak district, which has the features of an elephant (chang). This 32 floor high-rise stands 102 meters tall and is located in Soi 26 on Phaholyothin Road, nearby the intersection with Ratchadaphisek Road. It was designed by the award-winning architect Ongat Satraphan (ͧҨ ҵþѹ), a Yale graduate, and was completed in 1997 by the Arun Chaiseri Consulting Engineers Company (ѷ س ͹ŵ ͹). The construction consists of three vertical towers, i.e. two office towers and one residential tower, which are at the upper floors connected by a horizontal apartment block, that houses the luxury residential suites and some offices. The outdoor top floor has a recreation ground, with a swimming pool and gardens. Sometimes referred to as Elephant Tower or Chang Building, and in Thai known as teuk chang. See MAP.

elephant hospital

See rohng phayaban chang khong moonlaniti pheuan chang.

Elephant Trunk Hill

Name of a landmark limestone mountain located on an island in the Li River in Guilin, just 300 meters south of the city's Shanhu Lake. READ ON.

elephant trunk pose

Term used in Hindu iconography to refer to a pose, in which one holds one arm across the chest, with the wrist limp and the fingers pointed downward, as with Nataraja (fig.). The term also occurs in yoga, where it used in reference to arm balance. See also gajahasta.

Elephant-trunk Snake

Name of a large, entirely aquatic, not poisonous file or wart snake, with the scientific name Acrochordus javanicus. READ ON.

Elixir of Immortality

The amrita or elixir of immortality that arose during the churning of the Ocean of Milk by the gods and demons in the Indian epic the Ramayana. The legend also occurs in the Mahabharata, a heroic poem from Hinduism. In Chinese mythology, it is associated with the herbal medicine prepared by the Jade Rabbit that lives on the moon (fig.). It is also often identified with soma, the nectar of life. Also called Elixir of Life.


A World Heritage site in India with a total of 34 caves of religious significance, including Buddhist (600-800 AD), Hindu (600-900 AD), and Jain (800-1100 AD). The interiors are carved with religious sculptures, architectural ornamentation, and relief panels.

Elongated Tortoise

A forest tortoise with an distinctly elongated carapace and the binomial-scientific names Indotestudo elongata, Testudo elongata and Geochelone elongata. Its shell is yellow with black striated blotches of variable size and density, with individuals ranging from pure yellow to predominantly black. Its forelegs are strongly scaled and its beak is feebly hooked. Males become slightly larger than females and develop an plastral concavity, whereas the plastron of females is flat. Males have a larger tail than females, whose carapace tends to be wider and more rounded. The Elongated Tortoise is the only species in the region with a significantly enlarged supracaudal scute, i.e. the keratinized plate above the tail (fig.). It is found in Southeast Asia and parts of South Asia. Also known as Yellow Tortoise and in Thai as tao leuang (ͧ), tao khanaeng (ᢹ), tao thian (¹) and tao khih pheung (Ң).


Glaze or glazing used to cover pottery and earthenware. Also called enamel.

embossed silverwork

See kaan salak dun.


The art or handicraft of decorating cloth with finely stitched needlework. Both China and Vietnam have a centuries old tradition of creating elaborate handmade embroidery, usually made with fine silken threads and known as ci xiu (刺绣) and tranh theu (tranh thêu), respectively. In both countries, elaborately embroidered objects, often decorative portraits and traditional landscapes, have long been a sign of wealth and status, and the skills and techniques involved are usually passed from generation to generation (fig.).

Emerald Buddha

1. Name of an 66 centimeter tall, dark green, jade-like, jasper Buddha image with a lap span of 48 centimeter, housed in Wat Phra Kaew. READ ON.

2. Name of a Buddha image, which is actually made of crystal and located in the main vihara of Wat Phreah Keo, i.e. the Temple of the Emerald Buddha, which is also known as the Silver Pagoda, in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia (fig.). It is said to date back to the 17th century AD.

Emerald Dove

Name of a widespread resident pigeon in tropical southern Asia, with the scientific name Chalcophaps indica. It is also known by the names Green Dove and Green-winged Pigeon and has a number of subspecies. In Thai its is called nok khao khiao, which likewise translates as green dove. They get their name from their back and wings, which are bright emerald green. The head and underparts are greyish pink and males have a white patch on the top edge of the shoulders and a grey crown, while females tend to have a paler and more brown to buff complexion, and the grey on the head is restricted to the eyebrows, whilst it may also have grey marks on the shoulder (fig.). Both sexes have a brown tail, red bill, and pink legs and feet. Emerald Doves are largely terrestrial and, except for roosting, spend little time in trees. They feed mainly on seeds and fruit.

Emerald Moth

Common name used for any green moth, often light to bluish green, in the nominate subfamilies Ennominae and Geometrinae, both within the family Geometridae and both of which have several tribes, species and subspecies.

Emerald Tree Monitor

Name of a small to medium-sized arboreal monitor lizard. It is also known as green tree monitor and consists of green to turquoise colours with dark dorsal bands. This camouflage colours can make the animal hard to detect in its arboreal habitat. In Thai it is called takuad sih khiaw (СǴ) and its scientific name is Varanus prasinus. Though closely related to the Thai monitor lizard, this species is not endemic to Thailand, but is liked by many for its wonderful coloration and can be seen at Bangkok's Zoo (fig.).

Emperor Angelfish

Common name for a species of marine reef-fish, with the scientific name Pomacanthus imperator. READ ON.


Another word for email.


The Buddhist state of true understanding or perfect knowledge reached while still on earth. The Buddha attained this state seated under a bodhi tree (fig.). Followers can attain this state and redemption of all suffering and further rebirths by following the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path. In Theravada Buddhism, there are four stages of awakening that lead to complete Enlightenment as an Arahat. These stages are Sotapanna or Stream-enterer, Sakadagami or Once-returner, Anagami or Non-returner, and Arahat. The Buddha refers to individuals at these stages as Ariya-puggala, i.e. Noble People, and their community is known as Ariya-sangha, meaning the Noble Sangha. In Thai Enlightenment is called photiyaan, poh and wipatsanah. In Myanmar's Buddhist iconography, Enlightenment is often symbolized by the representation of a peacock and a rabbit, which in their own right are symbols for the sun and moon (fig.), respectively. See also bodhi and nirvana.

en shou (円相)

Japanese. Circle countenance or circular aspect. Term for a Zen circle. Also transcribed en sou.


A series of events of an heroic nature, an heroic poem.


Specific shape of the upper eyelid, in which the vertical fold of skin lies over the angle formed by the junction of the eyelids, and which gives the typical slant eyed characteristic of people of the Mongoloid race, including the Chinese and Japanese. The term is derived from the Greek word epicanthos (επίκανθός), literally upon-the canthos, with canthos (κανθός) meaning the angle formed by the junction of the eyelids. In Thai, called tah tih (ҵ) and in Chinese as nei zi zhui pi (內眥贅皮).


Term for a carved inscription, from the Greek word épigraphé (ἐπιγραφή), literally upon-writing.

Epipremnum pinnatum

Latin. Up to 18 meters high Southeast Asian climber, often seen around tree stems. Its green leaves, sometimes with creamy-white to yellow-golden marbled spots, can grow up to one meter in length and 45 cms wide. It is known by several common names, including dragon-tail plant and centipede tongavine, while it similarly looking cousin with the botanical name Epipremnum aureum, is also by a variety of common names, such as devil's ivy, silver vine and golden pothos.

equestrian iconography

The science of the meaning of representation of horses as depicted in art and the illustration of horses according to this science. Equestrian is derived from the Latin word equus, meaning horse whereas iconography comes from Greek and means image description. It consists of a set of rules in which the representation and the pose of the horse and its rider are significant. This goes especially for equestrian statues of historical figures. A rearing or rampant horse (fig.) in statues for example may suggest a dynamic rider prone to action and adventure, whereas a horse with all four hooves on the ground (fig.) would rather indicate the steadfast authority and power of its rider. These rules have however ramifications into several popular beliefs in which the number of raised hooves of an equestrian statue connote the status of its rider. A first such belief suggests that if the horse has one front or hind leg up (fig.), its rider has already died; if the horse has two legs in the air, either rearing with both front legs up or at trot with one front leg and one hind led up, its rider has died of causes other than natural; if the horse has three legs off the ground, its rider has died in battle; and if all four hooves are on the ground, the rider was still alive when the statue was made. This belief is contradicted by another popular conception which proposes that if the horse has one front leg up, the rider was wounded in battle or died of wounds sustained on the battle field; if the horse is rearing, that is with both front legs in the air, the rider died in battle; and if the horse has all four legs are on the ground, the rider died of causes other than combat, whilst the unlikely position of four hooves in the air probably means that the horse is dead :). Both beliefs are contradictory to each other and their implication, especially of the latter, seems to be more often than not incorrect. WATCH VIDEO.


Period or age.

Erawan (ѳ)

The Thai name given to the multi-headed elephant Airavata, produced during the Churning of the Ocean of Milk (fig.).  He is the symbol of the clouds and the mount of the deity Indra, the Vedic god of the heavens, weather and war (fig.), and both are depicted on the coat of arms of Bangkok (fig.). He is generally depicted as a white three-headed elephant, though may sometimes be described with more heads, e.g. nine, representing good luck (fig.); or 33, representing the various heavenly states. In the Thai dance drama called khon, the performer playing Erawan wears a khon mask in the form of a elephant's head with three faces topped with a golden crown (fig.). One text mentions Erawan as a 100-headed White Elephant, which serves as the mount of Phra Narai, the Thai name for Vishnu, and the second version of the Ramakien written by Rama II fully describes Erawan when Indrachit, one of the demon characters disguised as Indra, succeeds in fooling the monkey general Hanuman. Although officially the mount of the god Indra, he is in art often depicted with other riders, such as Ganesha (fig.). Often found in art and in temples (fig.). In Samut Prakan is an Erawan Museum (map - fig.), and in Bangkok is the Suan Son Erawan Statue at Ramkhamhaeng Soi 60 in Bangkapi (map - fig.), which initially was in bronze (fig.), as well as the famous Erawan Shrine, which in fact is dedicated to Brahma, but named after the Erawan Hotel, for which it was built as a sahn phra phum-style spirit house (map - fig.). Erawan is the symbol of ancient Siam, and when sheltered by a parasol also the Laotian royal emblem (fig.). The Erawan National Park (map - fig.) and Erawan Waterfall (map - fig.) in Kanchanaburi are named after this mythological animal, since the is said that the falling water at highest level of the Erawan Falls, splits up over the natural obstacles while cascading down its path thus creating shapes reminiscent of the multiple trunks of Erawan. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2), as well as TRAVEL PICTURES (1), (2), (3) and (4), as well as THEMATIC STREET LIGHT (1), (2), (3) and (4).

Erebus caprimulgus

Latin. Scientific name of a species of large and robustly built moth, with a wingspan of around 12 centimeters and endemic to Southeast Asia. READ ON.

erhu (二胡)

Chinese. Two non-Han. Two-stringed Chinese fiddle-like instrument and one of the most popular Chinese instruments in the family of string instruments, which are together referred to as huqin (胡琴), meaning non-Han musical instrument. Er, the first part of the name erhu, means two and refers to the instrument's number of strings, whereas hu, the latter part of the name, refers to the instrument's foreign origin, as it is said to originate from a similar instrument used by the nomadic Mongolian Xi tribe, which was then referred to as xiqin (奚琴). The erhu can imitate many natural sounds, such as a chirping bird or a barking dog.

Etlingera elatior

Latin. Scarlet red flower of the genus Etlingera of which in total some 57 species are found. The flower appears embedded in a waxy pyramid-like cone of pink-edged, bright red bracts, with a diameter up to 25 centimeters. The inflorescence is borne on a 1.5 meter high leafless stem. The approximately one meter high oblong leaves are borne on bamboo-like stalks (fig.). Also known by the scientific names Nicolaia elatior, Alpinia elatior and Phaeomeria speciosa. Its common English name is Torch Ginger and in Thai the plant is called dahlah ().

Eua Suntonsanaan ( عʹҹ)

Thai. Name of the Music Master of the Rattanakosin Period, who in the 1940s founded the nation's best-known big band named Suntarapon (عó). He learned to play the violin at a very young age and by age nine he was already playing in an orchestra. At the age of 18 he studied harmony and arrangement, and besides classical music, started to focus also on Jazz. Due to the latter's greater popularity, he began reaching larger audiences, especially when he began playing Phleng Thai Sakon (ŧҡ), a genre that harmoniously combines Jazz and Western music with traditional Thai classical music. He was one of the major musical composers, musical teachers, singers, conductors and musicians of his time, whose prolific writing of lyrics and music resulted in around 2,000 Thai classic songs, many of them considered to be literary and musical masterpieces. He also wrote several popular songs for the celebration of different festivals, such as Sawatdee Pih Mai (Happy New Year) and Songkraan (Thai New Year), as well as Ram Wong Wan Loi Krathong. He died of cancer on 1 April 1981 and in 2010, the centenary year of his birth, he was honoured by UNESCO as an Important Person of the World, making him the first Thai musical artist who befell this tribute. He is often referred to as Kruh Eua Suntonsanaan, and his name is also transcribed Euah Suntornsanan. WATCH VIDEO.

Eudocima hypermnestra

Latin-scientific name for the Oblique Striped Fruit-Piercing Moth, used alongside Phalaena hypermnestra.

Eugene Reytter

Belgian doctor of medicine, who was for 17 years the personal physician of King Chulalongkorn. READ ON.


Term derived from the Greek word eunouchos (ευνούχος) and which refers to a person who was castrated. In Imperial China, to humiliate them, prisoners of war were often castrated, which included removal of the penis as well as the testicles. Afterward, they were made slaves in the imperial service, either to perform forced labour for projects such as the construction of the Forbidden City (fig.), or to oversee the concubines in the harem of the Emperor. Whereas adult rebels or war prisoners were usually executed, their sons, often young boys or underage children, were castrated. After castration, it was initially hard for the mutilated men to urinate properly and many would spill urine on their bodies. Without the proper means to wash it off, this led to the then common saying to stink as a eunuch. See also court eunuch.

Euphaea masoni

Scientific name for a species of damselfly. Though rather widespread and common year round, it has no common English name. The male is almost completely dark greyish-black with a bluish shine, except for the wingtips, which are transparent brown. Females are overall greyish-blue, with transparent wings and a brownish wing patch and nerves, whilst its greyish-blue eyes have a greenish shine. In Thai it is called malaeng poh khem nahm tok dam (ŧӵ), i.e. black waterfall damselfly.

Eurasian Collared Dove

Name for a species of medium-sized dove, with the scientific name Streptopelia decaocto. It occurs from Europe to Asia, mostly in dry open country and lowlands. It is about 33 centimeters in length, with a pale, soft grey forehead, and with the top of the head to the nape a greyish-brown, suffused with pink-vinous and a typifying black collar with a grey border around the lower neck (fig.). The upperparts are mostly mostly pale grey-brown, with darker grey towards the wings tips, whilst the underparts are a creamy-white, variably suffused with some vinous grey. The eye is dark reddish brown and the orbital skin is greyish white. The bill is blackish grey, and the legs and feet are dull purplish red to greyish pink (fig.). Also spelled Eurasian Collared-Dove and often simply referred to as Collared Dove. It is related to and very similar to the Ringneck Dove (Streptopelia risoria), which is believed to be a domestic form of the Eurasian Collared Dove, and for which it can easily be mistaken. In Thai called nok khao khaek.

Eurasian Eagle-owl

Common name for a species of eagle owl, with the scientific name Bubo bubo (fig.). It is found in much of Europe and Asia, and the subspecies that occurs in the Southeast Asian region, especially in Southwest Myanmar, is known as Bubo bubo bengalensis. It has brown upperparts, buff underparts, thick brown streaks on the breast, ear tufts, a dark bill, orange eyes and a black border on its facial disc. It is a largely nocturnal bird and its preferred habitat are mountains and forests, with bush covered rocky country, cliffs and rocky areas, such as ravines.

Eurasian Jay

Common name for a semi-large, 31 to 34 centimeter tall species of bird (fig.), with the scientific name Garrulus glandarius. It occurs over a vast region, from Europe and northern Africa to the eastern seaboard of Asia and down into Southeast Asia, including also Thailand, where it is known as nok pihk laai scot (աʡ͵), meaning bird with Scottish patterned wings. There are several racial groups, some with very distinct forms, as well as subspecies. Those that occur in Southeast Asia are Garrulus glandarius leucotis, G.g. sinensis, G.g. oatesis, and Garrulus glandarius haringtoni. Sometimes simply called Jay, without the adjective.

Eurasian River Otter

Common name for the most widely distributed species of otter in the world. READ ON.

Eurasian Sparrowhawk

Common name for a small raptor, with the scientific designation Accipiter nisus. READ ON.

Eurasian Spoonbill

Common name for a large wading bird, with the scientific designation Platalea leucorodia and belonging to the family Threskiornithidae, which also includes the ibis. Its plumage is overall white, with dark legs and feet, and a dark elongated spoon-shaped bill, which is broader, round and yellow at the tip. During the breeding season, it has a yellow breast patch and a crest. Immature birds have a pale bill and black tips to the primary flight feathers. Eurasian Spoonbills fly with their necks outstretched (fig.). In Thailand, where these birds are rare winter visitors, this species is known as nok pahk chon nah khao (ҡ͹˹Ң), i.e. white-faced spoonbill or white-fronted spoonbill. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

Evil Eye

A term for a look that is superstitiously believed to have the power to inflict harm. In this common conviction from antiquity it is understood that the envy brought forth by the good luck of fortunate people, may result in their misfortune and can be caused simply by an envious person casting a malevolent gaze, intentionally or not. This so-called Evil Eye can be countered by wearing amulets in the form of -usually blue- eyes, that ward off the curse and turn the malicious look back to the envious person. Many boats, have a pair of forward looking, vigilant eyes painted on the prow (fig.), one on each side of the stem. They are believed to protect them from misfortune. During antiquity, in the Mediterranean of the 5-6th century BC, similar circular stone eyes, called ophtalmoi (ὀφθαλμοί - eyes) in Greek, were very common on the bows of ships, affixed with bronze nails and acting as a pair of eyes to aid navigation and warn of dangers, i.e. to protect mariners from the Evil Eye, known as matiasma (μάτιασμα) or baskania (βασκανία). The practice is also common in South Asia and Southeast Asia, and in Thailand especially on traditional wooden rice barges (fig.), whereas in the Mae Khong River (fig.) Delta (fig.) in southern Vietnam, the eyes are allegedly believed to scare off crocodiles and other menaces, and are on traditional boats usually not painted on the prow, but rather made from detachable wooden blocks, that are removed and are customarily hung on a tree when the boats go in for repairs and maintenance (fig.). Also known as Apotropaic Eye, and in Sanskrit called adrishti. See also Wisdom Eyes, Divine Eye, and Hamsa.

Excise Department

Governmental department with as mission to promote a sustainable fiscal position for the nation, to develop a sustainable economy, society and environment, and to create and implement an efficient standard for tax collection. In Thai, this department is known as krom sanphasahmit. In 2012, this department celebrated its 80th anniversary, which was commemorated by a Thai postage stamp issued for the occasion (fig.).

exposed doorway beams

Ancient system used in China in which the number of exposed beams over the outer doorway of a residence indicated the status of the family or clan residing inside. The custom can still be seen in traditional houses, such as in the Hutong and in the Forbidden City (fig.) in Beijing. The number of beams over the doorway increases with the status of the occupants. The lowest ranking person would have no beams and the emperor would have the maximum of 12 beams. And, the higher the number of beams was the higher also the threshold, called men kan (fig.), would become higher, as raising the foot very high in order to step over the threshold, the knee would bend and that is symbolically the same as kneeling to the occupant of the household. The threshold also demands respect as when one is  stepping over it one has to look down in order to see where to step and thus automatically bows by lowering the head, thus showing respect to the person whose place one enters. The custom of the exposed doorway beams, or a derivative thereof, can be observed in Vietnams (fig.), where wooden circular ornaments that are reminiscent of the exposed doorway beams, are placed over the doors of traditional mansions and temples. Chinese-style architecture also has exposed roof support beams (fig.), which in general are also decorated (fig.) and somewhat reminiscent of the exposed doorway beams as well. See also Hong Men.


An organism that thrives in extreme environments, such as temperature, salinity, acidity level, etc. For example, thermophiles, i.e. bacteria that form on rocks near hydrothermal vents.


A plant extremophile, i.e. an extreme plant, that is evolutionarily adapted to thrive in environments characterized by a high degree of abiotic stress, such as soil nutrient limitations, drought, flooding, fire, soil toxicities, salinity, alkalinity, temperature, etc. to which extremophytes have evolutionarily adapted to thrive due to their great tolerance of one or more of these abiotic stresses, while the greater the number of these stresses occur simultaneously, the greater the overall stress will be and the more extreme the plants are.