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ya ()

Chinese. ‘Asia’ or ‘Asian’, but also ‘inferior’ and ‘sub-’. READ ON.

yaan (ยาน)

See yahn.

yaay ton klah (ย้ายต้นกล้า)

Thai. ‘To transplant paddy sprouts’. After about 45 days, when the first crop of rice sprouts or ton klah have reached a height of 20 to 30 centimeters, they are uprooted and tied into bunches to be moved (fig.). These sprouts are then cut off at about 2 centimeters from the top and transplanted apart from one another in more spaciously rows throughout the rice field, in small groups of about 3 to 5 seedlings. This work is usually done collectively with several workers, who progress through the field, slowly moving backward whilst planting the crops (fig.). It is hard labour as workers are bent over most of the time (fig.), whilst they advance through the paddy field, often in succulent mud and exposed to any weather conditions (fig.). This work is done in the rice planting season, usually at the beginning of the rainy season, and farmers of small upcountry communities tend to gather for this task,  helping one another out by working each others fields in turn, whereas larger landowners would rather hire staff (fig.). As an abstract noun indicating action the prefix kaan (การ-) is added to the verb, hence ‘paddy sprouts transplanting’ is referred to as kaan yaay ton klah.


Tibetan. ‘Father-mother’. Tibetan term from Vajrayana Buddhism indicating the position of male and female gods in sexual unity (fig.), symbol for the unity of compassion and wisdom (fig.). In Hinduism sexual unity, as well as creation, are symbolized in the combination of the yoni and linga (fig.). Compare this also with the term shakti and maithuna, as well as with the hermaphrodite appearances of some Hindu gods, such as Ardhanari.

ya chao kuay (หญ้าเฉาก๊วย)

Thai. Name for a plant with the botanical name Mesona chinensis, of which the aged and slightly oxidized stalks and leaves are boiled to make chao kuay. It is a member of the mint family and grows extensively in East Asia, especially in Southeast China and Taiwan. This up to one meter tall plant has serrated leaves, that are narrowly ovate to subcircular in shape with a tapering tip. Mesona chinensis prefers grassy, dry and sandy areas, such as ravines.

yadana (ရတနာ)

Burmese. Another transliteration for yattana, i.e. rattana.

Yadana Zedi Sin Myar Shin Phaya Kyee (ရတနာ​စေတီဆင်များရှင်ဘုရားကြီး)

Burmese. Literally ‘great (kyee) pagoda (phaya) of the bejeweled (yadana) stupa (zedi,) with many (myar) elephants (sin/sain)’, with shin being a honorific term used as a prefix to holy objects or venerated people. Full name of Sin Myar Shin.

ya dok kham (หญ้าดอกคำ)

Thai. A small flowering plant, with the botanical name Hypoxis aurea, that grows in mountainous areas, in bright sunshine and in open forests, such as pine forests. Its yellow flowers have dense petals (fig.), and blooms around May and June. It reportedly grows abundantly in Pha Taem National Park (fig.), in Ubon Ratchathani Province.

ya dok lao (หญ้าดอกเลา)

Name for a species of perennial grass with the scientific name Saccharum spontaneum, that grows up to 3 meters tall and is related to sugarcane (Saccharum officinarum), and it is commonly known as wild sugarcane. Large grasslands of wild sugarcane are an important habitat for the Indian Rhinoceros (fig.), and in Nepal, the grass is used to thatch roofs and make fences.

ya fai takaad (หญ้าไฟตะกาด)

Thai. Name of a perennial, carnivorous plant, with the botanical designation Drosera peltata and commonly known in English as Shield Sundew and Pale Sundew. It grows from an underground tuber to a height of circa 10 to 35 centimeters. The plant has white flowers and thick shield-shaped leaves with sticky tentacles that excrete viscous drops of a gluey substance, designed to entangle insects. It is depicted on a postage stamp issued in 2009 as part of a set of four stamps on wild flowers found in Thailand (fig.).

ya faran (หญ้าฝรั่น)

Thai for saffron.

yah (ย่า)

Thai. ‘Grandmother’, ‘grandma’ or ‘granny’. Term used for a paternal grandma, i.e. the father's mother, whereas for the maternal grandma, i.e. the mother's mother, the term yai is used. See also kreua yaht and THAI FAMILY TREE.

yahm (ย่าม)

Thai. A bag made of cloth with a shoulder strap, especially one carried by monks.

yahm daeng (ย่ามแดง)

Thai. ‘Red shoulder bag’. Name of an imaginary man with a red bag, who kills children and carries their bodies away in his bag.

yahn (ยาน)

Thai for a ‘vehicle’, ‘craft’ or ‘conveyance’. Also transliterated yaan and yan, and used as a compound in the terms Mahayaan, i.e. Mahayana or the ‘Greater Vehicle’, and Hinayaan, i.e. Hinayana or the ‘Lesser Vehicle’, which is also called Theravada.

yahnamaht (ยานมาศ)

Thai for sedan chair or palanquin. Also yahnumaht.

yahnumaht (ยานุมาศ)

Thai for sedan chair or palanquin. Also yahnamaht.

yah soob (ยาสูบ)

Thai for ‘tobacco’, a crop (fig.) grown particularly in northern Thailand. The processing of tobacco, in which the leaves are cured in tobacco curing barns (fig.) and cut on a tobacco cutter (fig.), is one of the country's main industries. See also rohng bom yah soob and mah han bai yah soob. See also POSTAGE STAMPS (1) and (2).

Yahweh (יהוה)

Hebrew. A word consisting of the four Hebrew letters, Yodh (י) He (ה) Waw (ו) He (ה), i.e. YHWH, the four-letter personal name of God. READ ON.

yai (ยาย)

Thai. ‘Grandmother’, ‘grandma’ or ‘granny’. Term used for a maternal grandma, i.e. the mother's mother, whereas for the paternal grandma, i.e. the father's mother, the term yah is used. See also kreua yaht and THAI FAMILY TREE.

yaibuab (ใยบวบ)

Thai. ‘Web gourd’ or ‘fiber gourd’. A name for luffa.

Yajna (यज्ञ)

Sanskrit. A Hindu ritual of fire (or alternatively water or milk) offerings, as well as worship in the form of Vedic mantras that are being chanted, in order to receive particular beneficial wishes from a Hindu deity.

yajnopavitam (यज्ञोपवीतम्)

Sanskrit. Generic name for a thin, consecrated cord made of cotton, which is used in Hinduism, as well as in Buddhism in India. It is worn over the shoulder and usually runs from the left shoulder to the waist, which is done for certain deities, but when worn over the right shoulder, it signifies that the wearer is performing death rites for an elder. As a brahman cord worn by Brahman priests, it is white in colour (fig.), and as a saivite cord worn by Saivite priests, it is brown in colour (fig.). When used in the Upnayanam ceremony, its colour may be white or yellowish, varying by region and community. The sacred thread has three strands, which in Hinduism symbolize purity in thought, word and deed, whereas in Buddhism they stand for the Triple Gem. In Hindi, both this sacred cotton cord and the Upnayanam ceremony are called janeu.

Yajur (यजुऱ)

Sanskrit. The third of the four Vedas, which deals with the knowledge of action and karma. Also Yajurveda.

Yajurveda (यजुर्वेद)

Sanskrit. See Yajur.

yak (ยักษ์)

1. Thai for an adjective that means ‘large’, ‘big’ or ‘giant’, as well as for a noun, which is used as the term to refer to an ‘ogre’, ‘giant’, or ‘man-eating giant’, i.e. a mythological being. In mythology, yak can be kings and rule entire armies (fig.), such as Totsakan (fig.), and in architecture they are often seen guarding temple entrances. In Sanskrit, known as yaksha (fig.). See also TRAVEL PICTURES and THEMATIC STREET LIGHT.

2. Thai. A demon from the Ramakien. Occurs both in male form, as a yaksah and in female form, as yaksih. In 2001, the Thai Post issued a series of postage stamps depicting some of the yak from Wat Phra Kaew and Wat Arun (fig.). See also kumphan.


Tibetan. Long-haired ox, found at high altitudes in the mountains of China, especially in Tibet. They are raised for their meat, as well as other by-products, such as milk and yak butter, as well as yak butter tea, which is produced with a so-called butter barrel (fig.). The hair or tail of a yak is used in various forms of chamara or jamajurih (fig.), a kind of whisk, which in turn is used as a symbol of kingship and part of the Thai Royal Regalia called Kakuttapan (fig.).

yakisoba (焼きそば - ยากิโซบะ)

Japanese-Thai. ‘Roasted noodles’. Name of a dish consisting mainly of wheat flour noodles that are stir-fried on a baking sheet and mixed with slices of pork or ham, sliced cabbage, carrots and spring onions, and flavoured with sosu (Japanese Worcestershire sauce), salt and pepper. Although it is a Japanese dish it originally came from China were it was derived from the traditional chow mein (stir-fried noodles). In Thailand it is usually called yakisoba moo (yakisoba pork).

Yaknongyao (ยักษ์นงเยาว์)

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 Friday and is represented with a light blue-greyish human-like body and the head of an ox (ko). Compare also with Niu Tou (fig.).

Yaksaborisut (ยักษบริสุทธิ์)

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 Tuesday and is represented with a human-like body and with the head of a buffalo. His complexion is either pink or black. See also Niu Tou (fig.).

yaksah (ยักษา)

Thai. Male form of the yak demon from the Ramakien.

yaksha (यक्ष)

1. Sanskrit. Mythological being, in Thailand known as a yak, a man-eating giant. In India they are the guardians of the wealth of the gods and in Southeast Asia the guardians of temples (fig.). They look malicious, but some may be rather gentle. The female form is called yakshi.

2. Name of one of the exotic tribes of ancient India.

yakshi (यक्षि)

Sanskrit. The female form of a yaksha.

yaksih (ยักษี)

Thai. Female form of the yak demon from the Ramakien.

Yala (ยะลา)

Name of the southernmost province (map) on the Thai peninsula, as well as of its capital city, 1,084 kilometers south from Bangkok. READ ON.

yali (யாளி)

Tamil. A horned lion used in architectural decorations mainly in South Indian temples. Like a gajasingha they are sometimes depicted with the tusks of an elephant. In Sanskrit known as sarabham.

ya lipao (หญ้าลิเพา, หญ้าลิเภา)

Thai. A kind of fern-like creeping plant that exists in black and brown, and whose stalk is used in wickerwork. This climber thrives mainly in the deep jungles of South Thailand. The fully grown stem, roughly one meter, above the root is ideal for plaiting baskets. The stems that are gathered from the jungle are peeled, removing the outer part from the pith, and are subsequently dried  in the shade. The dried strips are then polished and made smooth, before plaiting. Popular are the fine handbags made of ya lipao (fig.). Also called ya yaay lipao and yan lipao (ย่านลิเภา), and also transcribed yah liphao.

ya lipao plaiting

Wickerwork made from the processed stalks of the ya lipao creeping plant.

Yama (यम)

Sanskrit-Pali. Vedic god of death. READ ON.

Yamantaka (यमान्तक)

Sanskrit. ‘Terminator of death’. Name of the bodhisattva Manjushri (fig.) in a ferocious form, which he adapted to conquer Yama, the vedic god of death, when the latter in a fury threatened to wipe out the entire population of Tibet. To tame Yama, Manjushri adopted the same form as Yama, whom in India and Tibet, is usually depicted with a bull's head, adding to it extra faces and legs, as well as multiple arms, in which he holds an array of fearful and deadly weapons. To confront death, he thus manifested the form of death itself, but in a magnified appearance. Hence, in art and iconography, both Yama and Yamantaka may be represented with bull’s heads, and often Yama can only be distinguished by a dhammachakka that he wears as an ornament on his breast, a symbol of the Buddhist teaching and his idiosyncratic mark (fig.).


Common designation for a species of small swallow-tailed butterfly, with the scientific names Loxura atymnus. Above, the wings are bright tawny with blackish marginal bands, that are darker and wider on the forewings and more diffuse and narrower on the hindwings, whilst those are somewhat broader in the females, whose upperside is also a little paler. The hindwings end in short swallow-tail appendixes of which the tip is white. The underside of the wings is pale tawny with diffuse dark markings. The head and body is brownish-grey, while the antennae are blackish-grey with an orange tip. Also referred to as Common Yamfly and in Thai known as phi seua saed hahng yahw (ผีเสื้อแสดหางยาว). See also TRAVEL PICTURES.

Yam Hawk-moth

Common designation for a moth in the Sphingidae family, with the scientific names Theretra nessus, Sphinx nessus, Sphinx equestris, and Chaerocampa nessus. It is found across South, East and Southeast Asia, down to northern Australia. Its pattern is somewhat reminiscent of that of the Brown-banded Hunter Hawk-moth (fig.), but the colouration is green and buff rather than brown. The Yam Hawk-moth has a wingspan of between 9 to 13 centimeters. In Thai, it is known as mot yihaw bon yak (มอธเหยี่ยวบอนยักษ์), i.e. ‘Giant Caladium Hawk-moth’. See also WILDLIFE PICTURES (1) and (2), as well as TRAVEL PICTURE.

yam krapo pla (ยำกระเพาะปลา)

Thai. A salad (yam) made of krapo pla.

yam naem (ยำแหนม)

Thai. A spicy salad made of a mixture of slightly fermented pork called naem (fig.) which is crushed, boiled pork skin which is sliced, and some spices including finely crunched garlic, chopped chilies, sliced ginger, cut onion or spring onion, dried chilies, peanuts and some lime. It is usually mixed with a pulverized fried rice ball called khao kon thod (fig.) and if so, it is also known as yam naem khao tod (ยำแหนมข้าวทอด) or yam naem kluk khao thod.

yam pla duk foo (ยำปลาดุกฟู)

Thai. A salad consisting of deep-fried catfish that is fried until it becomes fluffy, sliced mango, coriander leaves, roasted peanuts, some lemon juice, fish sauce, sugar, sliced red onions and chilies.

Yamuna (यमुना)

1. Sanskrit. ‘Twin’. Name of a river in northern India.

2. Sanskrit. ‘Twin’. Name of the Hindu goddess, who is a daughter of Surya, the sun god, and the twin sister of Yama. READ ON.

yan (ยันต์)

Thai. Magic sign that is supposed to bring good fortune and is applied at inauguration ceremonies by Buddhist monks on certain possessions, such as cars, buildings, warehouses, etc. Compare with yantra.

yan (砚)

Chinese. ‘Inkstone’. Name of a flat stone mortar (fig.) used for grinding ink sticks (fig.) and often also for holding the obtained ink. Traditional Chinese ink is solidified into sticks for easier transport and preservation. By applying some water to the end of the stick or dropping it on the mortar itself and then rubbing the stick hard on the flat surface of the inkstone, it can be liquefied. With some inkstones both the water and the obtained ink can be stored in a cavity on the inkstone itself (fig.). It is part of the wen fang si bao (fig.).

Yan Aung Myin-Htu Par Yone (ရန်အောင်မြင်-ထူပါရုံ)

Burmese. Name of a Buddhist pagoda in Pindaya. This temple has a large collection of stupas, which can be seen in their totality from the entrance of the elevated Pindaya Caves. Besides this, the temple has some semi-open halls with Buddha images in different poses. See MAP, as well as TRAVEL PICTURES (1) and (2).

Yan Aung Myin Phaya (ရန်အောင်မြင်ဘုရား)

Burmese. Name of a Buddhist pagoda in Kyaukse, near Mandalay, located adjacent to the northeastern end of the runway of Mandalay International Airport, often making it possibly one of the first Burmese Buddhist pagodas seen from a closer distance by newly arriving international travelers landing here. The pagoda has a three-tiered base with terraces in a maroon colour, whereas the gilded stupa consists of a rather flat dome topped with a hti, the shape somewhat reminiscent of Phra Malah Biang-style royal hats (fig.) that in the past were worn by both Burmese and Siamese kings and generals in battle. See MAP.

Yan Di (炎帝)

Chinese. ‘Flame Emperor’. Shen Nong's name or title as emperor. Also spelled Yandi.

yang ()

Chinese. ‘Sunny place’. Term for the masculine, active principle of the universe. In iconography, is represented by the colour red or white, and in architecture by odd numbers, as in the multiple roofs or stories of a pagoda. In the Chinese creation myth, Pan Gu, the first living being and creator of all, slept in a black egg until he was born and started creation, using a chisel and hammer to  separate the top and bottom part of the egg. The egg white, which was clear and light, drifted up and became heaven (yang), whilst the murky yolk, which was turbid and heavy, descended to become earth (yin). See also Egg of Brahma, hiranyagarbha, fang kong qian and yin-yang.

yang mei (杨梅)

Chinese name for the red bayberry, a kind of subtropical, dark purplish-red, spherical stone-fruit, with a knobby surface, native to eastern Asia, especially China. Its taste is very tart with sweet undertones, yet the berries have antioxidant properties and are said to be packed with vitamins and other nutrients. Despite its English name, it is not a true berry, since it has a single, rather large seed at its centre. The berries grow from a 10 to 20 meter tall tree, which has a smooth grey bark and a uniform spherical to hemispherical crown, which is often used as an ornamental tree in parks and Oriental gardens. Its botanical name is Myrica rubra and it is also commonly known as yumberry, Chinese waxberry, Japanese or Chinese bayberry, and is occasionally referred to as Chinese strawberry.

ya ngon ngeuak (หญ้าหงอนเงือก)

Thai. A flowering plant, with the botanical name Murdannia gigantea, that grows at altitudes up to around 1,500 metres, and bears violet flowers with 3 distinctive petals, that grow at the top of the stem (fig.). It has bracts that grow in clusters underneath the flower and resemble the crest (ngon) of hornbills, which in Thai is called nok ngeuak, hence the plant's name. It is typically found at Phu Kradeung National Park in Loei, especially in October, as well as in Phu Soi Dahw (ภูสอยดาว) National Park in Phitsanulok, which reportedly has the largest field of this kind of flower in Thailand.

ya nguong chang (หญ้างวงช้าง)

Thai. Elephant-trunk weed’. Name for the Indian Heliotrope (fig.), a plant with the botanical name Heliotropium indicum. The name derives from the shape of its coiling inflorescence of small flower clusters, which is reminiscent of the trunk of an elephant. It belongs to the Boraginaceae family and is a food plant for the Heliotrope Moth (fig.).

Yan Mo (阎魔)

Chinese. ‘Yama devil’ or ‘devil at the village gate’. Name for Yama, the king of hell. In Chinese tradition, he is in iconography usually portrayed with a reddish-brown complexion, and a wild or pointed black beard. His face has a furious expression and he wears a hat with the Chinese character wang, meaning ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ and referring to his position as the king of hell (fig.). Though there are many other different portrayals of him too. He is also known by a variety of other names, including Yan Wang, i.e. ‘King Yama’ or ‘Yommaraat’; Yan Luo (阎罗), with the word luo meaning ‘to catch’, ‘to collect’ or ‘to sieve’; Yan Jun (阎君), i.e. ‘Lord Yama’; etc. His consort is called Yan Mi (fig.), which is the Chinese name for Yamuna. See also Diyu and Ksitigarbha.

Yannasangwon (ญาณสังวร)

Thai-Pali. ‘Mindful Vision’ or ‘Careful Perception’. Name of the Supreme Patriarch of Thailand (fig.), the 19th since the beginning of the Rattanakosin Period, and in office since 1989. This Buddhist monk was born on 3 October 1913 in Kanchanaburi Province, with the name given at birth being Charoen Khotchawat (เจริญ คชวัตร). Though born a 4 AM, in the modern calendar, his date of birth would be October 4th. He ordained as a samanaen, i.e. a Buddhist novice, at the age of 14 and eventually became a monk in 1933. After completing his basic studies, he continued to study Pali, the language derived from Vedic Sanskrit and used in the sacred texts of Theravada or Hinayana Buddhism, in which he accomplished the highest levels of study then available. Following his ordination, Phra Yannasangwon rose through the ranks of the Thai Sangha and in 1956, at the age of 43, he was appointed guardian and religious advisor to King Bhumiphon. In 1961, he became abbot of Wat Bowonniwet Wihaan Racha, the temple in which many Thai princes have ordained. In 1972, he was given the title Somdet Phra and in 1989 he was appointed Supreme Patriarch. In 2012, Thailand Post issued a postage stamp with the Supreme Patriarch's portrait to herald his upcoming 100th birthday in 2013 (fig.), while on the day itself, i.e. 3 October 2013, a set of four postage stamps illustrating Yannasangwon's life was released. On 24 October 2013, just 3 weeks after his centenary, Phra Yannasangwon passed away at the Chulalongkorn Hospital in Bangkok, where for the latter years of his life the aging Patriarch was cared for since his health deteriorated in 2005. He was the longest serving Supreme Patriarch up-to-date. Perhaps due to the Thai initial letter in the Thai form of his name, which in the Latin Alphabet represents both an N (at the end of a word or syllable) and a Y (at the beginning of a word or syllable), his name is in English often transliterated Nyanasamvara, yet it is in Thai pronounced Yahnnasangwon. See also Phrasangkaraat.

yan shou (檐兽)

Chinese. ‘Eaves quadrupeds’. A name for Chinese Imperial roof decoration.

yantra (यन्त्र)

Sanskrit. Geometric and magical diagram, usually square in form and used in meditations, especially in Vajrayana Buddhism and its mystical form Tantrism. A mandala is a kind of yantra.

Yan Wang (阎王)

Chinese. ‘King of the Village Gate’, ‘King Yama’ or ‘Yommaraat. Name for the ruler of the underworld in Chinese mythology, and a translation of the Sanskrit term Yama Raja. He is also known as Yan Mo (fig.) and as Yan Luo (阎罗), with the word luo meaning ‘to gather’, ‘to catch’, ‘to collect’ and ‘to sieve’. See also Diyu and Ksitigarbha.

yan wo (燕窝)

Chinese name for swallow's nest.

Yao (เย้า)

1. A hill tribe found in southern China (fig.) and in northern Thailand, especially in the province of Chiang Rai, as well as in parts of Laos and Vietnam, where they are known as Dao. In Thailand, they call themselves (Iu) Mien, but by the Chinese and the Thais they are named after the language they speak, i.e. Yao. In Thailand, the female traditional attire is a loose pair of trousers and a dark blue almost black jacket embroidered at the bottom with a dark red pompom collar resembling a stole (fig.). Their headdress consists of a dark coloured angular hat, ornamented with embroidery. They often wear a heavy silver ring around their neck. Elderly people often develop a characteristic physiognomy (fig.). MORE ON THIS.

2. Language belonging to the Miao-Yao-Pateng family, a subgroup of the Sino-Tibetan language group that also includes Chinese, Burmese and Tibetan. MORE ON THIS.

Yaowaraht (เยาวราช)

Thai. ‘Young monarch’ or ‘youthful king’. A title for the Crown Prince, as in Thong Yaowaraht, the Royal Standard of the Crown Prince (fig.). A busy road in Bangkok's Chinatown district is named after it and hence in Thai most people refer to Chinatown as Yaowaraht. Also transcribed Yaowarat and Yaoraht.

Yaoshi Fo (藥師佛)

Chinese. ‘Apothecary buddha’. Chinese name for the Medicine Buddha, who is known in Sanskrit as Bhaisajyaguru. In Chinese iconography, he may hold a lapis-coloured jar of medicine nectar or a pagoda, of which the latter is said to symbolize the ten thousand bodhisattvas of the Three Ages of Buddhism, and he is oftentimes accompanied by his two attendants, i.e. Suryaprabha (सूर्यप्रभा) and Chandraprabha (चन्द्रप्रभा), two bodhisattvas whose names mean ‘bright as the sun’ or ‘sunlight’, and ‘moonlight’, respectively, and thus symbolize the sun (Surya) and moon (Chandra). Yaoshi Fo has a blue complexion and is often depicted with blue hair, representing a peaceful manifestation. See also Fo.

ya phraek (หญ้าแพรก)

Thai name for devil's grass, a species of grass, with greyish-green blades and slightly flattened stems that are often tinged purplish, and with the botanical name Cynodon dactylon. In Buddhism, Siddhartha dreamed that this grass was growing from his navel and was growing so fast that it soon reached the sky. From this dream he knew that the day had come when, having attained Enlightenment, he would become a buddha. Hence, Cynodon dactylon grass is sometimes used in certain Buddhist rites, e.g. as an ingredient in nahm mon.

Yashoda (यशोदा)

The foster mother of Krishna, one of Vishnu's avatars. A popular theme in Indian art is the representation of Yashoda with the infant Krishna.

Yashodhara (यशोधर)

The wife of prince Siddhartha and a sister of Devadatta. Also known as Gopa and Bimba. In Thai known as Yasothon.

Yasothon (ยโสธร)

Name of a province (map) and its capital city in Northeast Thailand, 531 kms from Bangkok. READ ON.

Yasovarman (យសោវរ្ម័ន)

Khmer. ‘Glory Shield’. Angkorian king who reigned from 889 to 910 AD. He was one of two sons of Indravarman. He had leprosy and is therefore also referred to as the Leper King, a name however not related to the royal platform near Angkor Thom that is nowadays called Terrace of the Leper King (fig.), but which gets its name from a 15th-century sculpture discovered at the site that depicts Yama, the Hindu god of death, which due to its imperfection is reminiscent of someone with leprosy and was for this reason nicknamed the Leper King. Yasovarman moved the capital from Hariharalaya, located near modern-day Siem Reap and named for the Hindu deity Harihara (fig.), to nearby Yashodharapura, where it remained for 600 years and became also known as Angkor. See also Yashodhara.

yasui qian (压岁钱)

Chinese. ‘To press years old coins’.  Name for ancient Chinese fang kong qian coins (fig.), tied together with a red string for protection against sickness and death (fig.), a tradition that dates back to the Qing Dynasty (AD 1644-1911) and which was practiced by mostly elderly Chinese. Though originally arranged in a linear fashion on a string that can easily be tied around the wrist, they are today more commonly found as hangers (fig.), that may be arranged in a different way, with the coins stringed into a more ornamental pattern (fig.). It can often be seen in iconography as an attribute of Chinese wealth gods and other deities (fig.), including the informal wealth god Liu Hai (fig.) and his personal pet, the three-legged moon toad Chanchu (fig.), as well as in the mouth of bats (fig.), which are Chinese symbols for good fortune in their own right. See also hong bao.

yattana (ရတနာ)

Burmese. Another pronunciation for rattana, i.e. ‘gem’, ‘jewel’, or ‘treasure’, and which derives from the Sanskrit word for semiprecious or precious stones. It may appear in Buddhist names, especially of temples, as in Yattana Pontha (fig.), where it usually refers to either all or one of the Rattanatrai, i.e. the ‘Triple Gems’ or ‘Three Jewels, that is to say the Buddha, his teachings (dhamma) and the Sangha. Sometimes transliterated yadanar.

Yattana Pontha (ရတနာဘုံသာ)

Burmese. ‘Pile of Gems’. Name of a deserted Buddhist temple in Ava, i.e. present-day Inwa, which may also be transliterated Yadanar Pontha or Rattana Bontha. It is also known by the name Thisa Taik Phaya, which can be translated as ‘Pagoda of the Oath’, ‘Temple of the Loyal Fight’ or ‘Temple of the Faithful Struggle’, yet in English this temple is usually referred to as the White Temple, while the name Thisa Taik Phaya is sometimes wrongly recorded as Desada Taya. This overall white temple complex consists of a main building in the jaturamuk style, which is surrounded by a number of chinthe and houses a Buddha image; a somewhat larger zedi-style pagoda, also guarded by mythological lions; as well as scattered groups of smaller stupas and other structures. The name of this temple is also associated with Rattana Pura, i.e. ‘City of Gems’, the official name of Inwa. See also Wat Rong Khun and TRAVEL PHOTOS (1) and (2), and MAP.

Yattana Pura (ရတနာပူရ)

Burmese. ‘City of Gems’. The official name of Inwa and also pronounced Rattana Pura.

Yattana Shihmih (ရတနာဆီမီ)

Burmese. ‘Oil Lamp Jewel’ or ‘Candlelight Treasure’. Name of a deserted Buddhist temple complex in Ava, i.e. present-day Inwa. It is an early brick monastery, said to date from the 17th century AD. It consists of several edifices, such as the ruins of a prayer hall, several stupas and pagodas, some Buddha images, including also a Buddha image seated in the bhumisparsa pose and flanked by images of his disciples Sariputta and Mogallana, which after the collapse of the hall it was located in, now stands outdoors. Also transliterated Yadana Hsemee and Rattana Seemih. See also TRAVEL PHOTOS (1) and (2), and MAP.

Yawi (ยาวี)

Name of a language in the Austronesian language family that is considered a Malay dialect and which is spoken next to Thai in the five southernmost provinces of Thailand, i.e. Pattani, Narathiwat, Yala, Songkhla and Satun. It has three distinguished variants, being the Malay dialect of Pattani, that of Tak Bai and that of the region of Sungai Kolok. Written Yawi derives from Arabic but has fewer letters. The word Yawi is derived from the word Yawa, meaning Java, because this adapted form of the Arab language was first spread by Javanese emigrants to Malacca and Pattani. It is estimated that there are in total around three million Yawi speakers, one million of them living in Thailand. In mid-July 2008 the first ever Thai-Yawi-Thai dictionary was published by the Institute of Southeast Asian Maritime States Studies under the Prince of Songkhla University, Pattani campus, with support of the Asia Foundation. This 596 pages dictionary has approximately 12,000 words with Thai meaning and uses the Thai alphabet for phonetic spellings. Also called or transcribed Jawi.

ya yaay pao (หญ้ายายเพา, หญ้ายายเภา)

See ya lipao.

Yaza Kumar (ရာဇကုမာရ်)

Burmese. Name of an 11-12th Century AD Prince of Bagan, i.e. the son of King Kyansittha (fig.), who is best known for the 1112-1113 AD Yaza Kumar Stone Inscription. READ ON.

yee (หยี)

Thai name for velvet tamarind. Also transcribed yih.

Yellow-banded Krait

See Banded Krait.

Yellow-banded Skimmer

Common name for a species of dragonfly, with the scientific name Pseudothemis jorina. Adult males are black with a white band and a white face. However, young males and teneral females have a brownish-black body with a yellow band, whilst their eyes are rather brownish. The wings of both sexes are transparent.

Yellow-banded Trevally

Common name for a species of small inshore fish in the family Carangidae. READ ON.

Yellow-billed Grosbeak

Common name for a species of passerine bird in the Fringillidae family of True Finches. It has the scientific name Eophona migratoria and is also commonly known as Chinese Grosbeak. It is found in parts of Southeast Asia, including Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam and Thailand, and in East Asia, that is to say in China, Taiwan and Hong Kong, and as far North as Russia and the Korean peninsula, as well as in Japan. Its body plumage is mainly greyish-buff, with a darker buff spot around the lower sides, near the vent. The face is black with a large bright yellow bill. The wings are brownish with black primaries that have indistinct white markings, while the upper tail is also black. In Thai, it is known as nok kratid yai pahk leuang.

Yellow Asoka

See Asohk Leuang.

Yellow Bush Dart

Common name for a species of damselfly with the scientific Latin designation Copera marginipes. Males are blackish with yellow stripes, bright yellow legs, and end segments that are white. Due to its yellow legs, this species is also commonly referred to as Yellow Featherlegs.

Yellow-cheeked Tit

Common name for a species of passerine bird in the Paridae family, with the scientific name Parus spilonotus. It is found in South Asia (Nepal, Bhutan, India and Bangladesh), mainland Southeast Asia (Myanmar, Thailand and Indochina) and eastern Asia (China and Hong Kong). Males have a bright yellow upper body, olive-yellowish lower body, a bright yellow head, with a large black crest and a bright yellow nape that runs upwards along the edge of the crest, a black bib that extends all the way down across the belly to the vent, and a black posterior eye-stripe. Its upperparts are greyish-black, with olive-yellowish scales that are replaced by pale greyish scales when descending from above, and white scaly spots on the other parts of the wings. The bill is black and the legs and feet are yellowish-grey. Females are plainer above, have a olive-yellow bib and a olive-yellow ventral stripe. Its natural habitats are subtropical and tropical moist lowland forests, as well as subtropical and tropical moist montane forests. In 1980, this bird was depicted on the second stamp of a set of four Thai postage stamps featuring Thai birds (fig.). In Thai, this bird is called nok tit kaem leuang, a literal translation of the common name in English. See also Black-lored Tit (fig.).

Yellow Emperor

One of the legendary Five Emperors of ancient China, the others being his grandson Zhuan Xu (颛顼); his great-grandson Di Ku (帝喾); Tang Yao (唐尧), the second son of Di Ku; and Di Shun (帝舜), a talented minister, who Tang Yao appointed as his successor. In Chinese, the Yellow Emperor is called Huang Di, while his personal name was Gongsun Xuanyuan (公孙轩辕). According to tradition, he lived for a hundred years, from 2697 BC to 2597 BC, and attained immortality after his physical death, making him a chief deity of Taoism. In legend, his wife Leizu is said to have discovered silk at the age of fourteen, when a silkworm's cocoon fell into her tea cup, and his historian is accredited for creating the first Chinese characters. He is usually portrayed wearing a flat-topped imperial headdress with beads hanging from the front and back (fig.).

Yellow Featherlegs

Another name for the Yellow Bush Dart.

Yellow Flamboyant

Name for a large tree in the family Leguminosae, with the botanical designation Peltophorum pterocarpum and commonly known in English as Copperpod, Golden Flamboyant, Yellow Flamboyant, and Yellow Flame Tree. This deciduous tree has bipinnate leaves and bears yellow flowers that grow in upright branched clusters at the end of its twigs. It has reddish fruit pods that turn brown as they ripen, contain one to four seeds, and taper at both ends. In Thai, it is known as nonsih.

Yellow-headed Temple Turtle

Common name of a large, semi-aquatic turtle, that grows to over half a meter in size. It has the scientific name Hieremys annandalii and is primarily native to Thailand and Cambodia, but is also found in the lowlands of the Mekhong delta in Vietnam. Its common name derives from the custom of releasing these turtles in the ponds of Buddhist temples, in Thailand often as a form tamboon. In Thai it has several names, i.e. tao bung hua leuang, tao wat and tao bua, meaning yellow head turtle, temple turtle and lotus turtle’ respectively, with the latter referring to the Hindu and Buddhist holy flower, that also often occurs in temple ponds. In the wild Yellow-headed Temple Turtles live in swamps, flooded fields and slow-moving rivers. In some place, such as at the mouth of the Chao Phraya river in Bangkok, it appears that this species can put up with brackish water conditions. Juveniles have broad, nearly round carapace with one, rather low keel that disappears with age. Adults have a dark-brown to black, rather low and elongated carapace, usually with a serrated posterior margin. The colour of the carapace has a greenish yellow tinge which over time may stand out more clearly. Their forelegs are covered with large scales, and the limbs are usually darker gray on the upper surfaces and lighter gray below. The tail is short and also gray. The head is blackish to olive with dense yellow speckling, and in younger individuals it is adorned with a series of yellow coloured stripes. Its snout is not overly protruding, with an upper jaw that has a median V-shaped indentation with a tooth-like cusp on each side and a lower jaw which is denticulated, i.e. covered with small pointed projections, along its margin. This gentle species is generally herbivorous, feeding mainly on aquatic plants, but in captivity also on fruit and vegetables. It is listed as an endangered species and is protected under Thai law. See also Orange-headed Temple Terrapin.

Yellow Lady's Slipper

See Paphiopedilum concolor (fig.) and Paphiopedilum exul (fig.).

Yellow Oleander

See ram pheuy.

Yellow Orange Tip

Common name for a species of butterfly in the family Pieridae and with the scientific designation Ixias pyrene. The underside of the wings is yellow and thinly marked with a diffuse brownish wash and tiny spots, reminiscent to those of certain other species of this family, such as Mottled Emigrants (fig.) and Anderson's Grass Yellows (fig.). The forewings are rounded and blunt, and in males, the upperside is sulphur-yellow, with a large, irregular, orange patch, that is bordered by a black edge, which is broad on the top, back and bottom, but not on the front, where it is rather thin to almost non-existent. Every now and then, the upperside of the wings in males is white, rather than sulphur-yellow, and may then have a faint yellow wash or diffuse yellow colouring, usually towards the bottom black border of the orange spot. In this form, it is similar in appearance to the Great Orange Tip (fig.). At the base of the orange spot, there is a black spot that spreads diffusely inwards and usually joins the black bottom border. Above, the forewings of females are black with white spots and a greyish wash, whilst the hindwings have a black outer border and a faint greyish and sulphur-yellowish wash. In Thai, this butterfly is known as phi seua plaay pihk som lek (ผีเสื้อปลายปีกส้มเล็ก). See also WILDLIFE PICTURES.

Yellow Pansy

Common name for a species of butterfly in the family Nymphalidae and with the scientific designation Junonia hierta. It has a wingspan of between 5 and 6 centimeters, and –despite its name has mostly orange wings, with black margins and some blue patches near the base of the hind wings (fig.), as well as a greyish patch near the apex of the forewings. Females are similar above, but in addition also have round, ocelli-like, black-edged blue spots, i.e. two on each of the forewings and two on each of the hindwings, though one of those on the forewings is rather obscure (fig.). The underside of the wings is pale greyish with tawny and black markings, and a series of small eyespots. The female underside is also similar, but generally has heavier and more clearly defined markings. In Thai, it is known as phi seua paensy leuang (ผีเสื้อแพนซีเหลือง).

Yellow Paper Wasp

Common name for a large yellow wasp, with the scientific designation Polistes olivaceus, and also commonly known as Yellow Oriental Paper Wasp and Common Yellow Wasp of India. It belongs to the subfamily Polistinae and is commonly found in northern India, where it is colloquially known as Sindhi Wasp and its venomous Hymenoptera sting is purportedly responsible for a number of deaths each year. In Thai, it is called taen rang kradaat leuang (แตนรังกระดาษเหลือง), i.e. ‘yellow paper nest wasp’. In China, this wasp is recorded as a natural enemy of wild silkworms. See also Asian Giant Hornet and WILDLIFE PICTURES.

Yellow-spotted Keelback

Common name for a species of snake, with the scientific designation Xenochrophis flavipunctatus. READ ON.

Yellow-Striped Flutterer

Common name for a species of dragonfly, with the scientific designation Rhyothemis phyllis. It has a greyish-black body and legs, and reddish-brown compound eyes. Its wings are mostly transparent, with tawny veins, apart from some black patches at the tip and in the middle of the front of the four wings, whilst at the base, the hindwings have large black patches with a orangey-yellow stripe in the centre. In Thai, it is called malaeng poh ban pihk leuang dam, i.e. ‘yellow-black-winged dragonfly’.

Yellowtail Clownfish

Common name for a species of anemone fish, with the scientific designation Amphiprion clarki. This colourful fish has a black body, with three white bands at its head, trunk and tail, an yellow or orange vent and face, and yellowish-orange pectoral and caudal fins. It is the largest of the anemone fish found in Thailand, and occurs both in the Gulf of Thailand and in the Andaman Sea. Like all other anemone fish, it is unable to survive without sea anemones. It is depicted on the first of four Thai postage stamps issued in 2006 to publicize the anemone fish of Thailand (fig.). Sometimes spelled Yellowtail Clown Fish, and also known as Clark's Anemone Fish or Clark's Anemonefish. In Thai, this species is called pla cartoon laai plong (ปลาการ์ตูนลายปล้อง), i.e. ‘segment-striped cartoon fish’, or pla cartoon laai plong nah thong (ปลาการ์ตูนลายปล้องหน้าทอง), i.e. ‘golden-faced segment-striped cartoon fish’.

Yellow-throated Marten

Common name for a ferret-like mammal of the weasel family, with the scientific designation Martes flavigula. Though variable, it generally has a dark brown head, tail, hind legs and lower front legs, a creamy back, upper front legs and underparts, and a yellow throat (fig.). This medium-sized carnivore is found in South, East and Southeast Asia, in subtropical and tropical forests. The Yellow-throated Marten is an excellent climber and spends most of its time in trees and in Thai it is accordingly named mah mai, which literally translates as ‘wood dog’ or ‘tree dog’. In Thailand, the Yellow-throated Marten can be observed in Pahng Sida National Park, which comprises an area of about 844 km▓, stretching over Prachinburi and Sa Kaeo Provinces. Except for females with a litter, Yellow-throated Martens are generally solitary, and are listed as an endangered species.

Yellow Tortoise

See Elongated Tortoise.

Yellow-vented Bulbul

Common name of a bird, with the scientific name Pycnonotus goiavier. It has greyish-brown upperparts with a darker brown tail and whitish underparts, with a yellow vent (fig.). Its head and throat are mostly whitish, with a blackish-brown stripe on the centre of the crown, and black lores (fig.). It is a common resident, that can be found in cultivated areas, scrub, palm groves and secondary growth, mostly near well watered sites or coastal areas. In Thai, it is known as nok parod nah nuan (นกปรอดหน้านวล), i.e. ‘cream-faced bulbul’ or ‘pale-faced bulbul’. See also TRAVEL PICTURE, as well as WILDLIFE PICTURES (1), (2) and (3).

Yellow White-tail Fighting Cock

Name translated from Thai, for a special breed of fighting cock, famous for its endurance in kaanchon kai, i.e. cock fighting. The Yellow White-tail Fighting Cock originates from the North of Thailand, where it is widely bred, especially in its native village Ban Krang, in Phitsanulok province. It is believed that King Naresuan used a Yellow White-tail Fighting Cock, in a winning cock fighting game with the uparacha of Burma, thus introducing this breed to Burma and making it also well-known among Burmese cockfight aficionados, up to this day. Statues of the Yellow White-tail Fighting Cock can be seen all over the nation, in all sizes and especially at shrines dedicated to king Naresuan the Great. Also called White-tailed Fighting Cock and Royal Fighting Cock, and in Thai known as Kai Chon Leuang Haang Khao, Kai Chao Liang and Kai Chon Phra Naresuan.

yeuang (เยือง)

See Mainland Serow.

Yi (彝)

1. Ethnic group in Thailand, Vietnam, and China, where with 8 million, they are the 7th largest of the 56 ethnic minority groups officially recognized by the People's Republic of China. There are many subgroups, usually classified according their geographical position and their spoken language, and differentiated by their own specific clothes (fig.), with the women of one group in Lijiang wearing a conspicuous headdress that consists of a black cloth dressed in a pentagon-like shape over a frame above the head (fig.). Typically, the girls and women living in the area of Kunming, wear a distinctive rounded hat, with triangular-shaped adornments on the sides, and a black band lined with embroidery that runs across the top. To indicate their marital status, unmarried girls put those adornments upright on either side of the hat, whereas married women place them flat, underneath the black band (fig.). The subgroup found in Thailand is referred to as Lolo. See also TRAVEL PHOTOS.

2. Ethnic language spoken by the Yi people and consisting of a mixture of Tibeto-Burman languages closely related to Burmese. There are several dialects, with Nuosu being its standard or prestige language, spoken by circa two million people. See also Lolo.

3. Generic name for a bronze sacrificial vessel or wine vessel from ancient China.

yiang phah (เยียงผา)

See Mainland Serow.

yih (หยี)

Thai name for velvet tamarind. Also transcribed yee.

yih-ao khao (เหยี่ยวขาว)

Thai. ‘White hawk’. Name for the Black-shouldered Kite.

yih-ao nok khao ngon (เหยี่ยวนกเขาหงอน)

Thai name for the Crested Goshawk.

yih-ao nok krajok yai (เหยี่ยวนกกระจอกใหญ่)

Thai name for the Eurasian Sparrowhawk.

yike (ยี่เก)

A Khmer form of song and dance drama, related to the Thai likae. This traditional Khmer theatre has deep connections to Cambodian culture and is performed in nearly every province of Cambodia, as well as by Khmer communities in southern Vietnam, who have two terms for it, i.e yike and yuke, the latter referring to a form of dance theatre that is also known as lakhon bassac. Its history and origin are disputed with some believing that it originated in Persia and has the same roots as likae, but others believe it to have originated in Java and brought to Cambodia via the Chams, whilst some think it might have originated in Malaya. Regardless of where it originated it is deeply influenced by Cambodia's own culture and over time it has become a typical Cambodian form of folk theatre in its own right. It is pronounced ji-ke.

yin (阴)

Chinese. ‘Shady place’. Term for the feminine, passive principle of the universe. In iconography, it is represented by the colour black, and in architecture by even numbers. In the Chinese creation myth, Pan Gu, the first living being and creator of all, slept in a black egg until he was born and started creation, using a chisel and hammer to  separate the top and bottom part of the egg. The egg white, which was clear and light, drifted up and became heaven (yang), whilst the murky yolk, which was turbid and heavy, descended to become earth (yin). See also Egg of Brahma, hiranyagarbha, fang kong qian and yin-yang.

Ying Jiang (鹰将)

Chinese. ‘Eagle General’ or ‘Military Commander [with an] Eagle’. Name one of the four guardians at the gate of Tian Zi Dian (天子殿), i.e. the Palace of the Son of Heaven, usually referred to in English as the Emperor's Hall in Diyu, the Taoist Hell, the other three guardians being the Snake General She Jiang (fig.), the Chicken Feet Ghost Ji Jiao Gui (fig.) and the White Impermanence Bai Wu Chang (fig.). This demon has a black complexion, downward growing fangs, bulging eyes, and carries an eagle on his arm. At Fengdu Ghost City (fig.), the Eagle General is displayed next to the Snake General (fig.).

ying krataai (ยิงกระต่าย)

Thai. ‘To shoot rabbits’ or ‘to shoot a rabbit’. Archaic idiom used only for men and boys, and meaning ‘to pee’ or ‘to take a leak’. For women and girls det dokmai (เด็ดดอกไม้), i.e. ‘to pick flowers’ or ‘to pluck a flower’, is —or was in the past— the equivalent saying for girls ‘to pee’, i.e. ‘to [squat and] pee’. In ordinary speech, and for both male and female, the terms puat chih (ปวดฉี่) and yiyaw (เยี่ยว), as well as the more polite patsahwa (ปัสสาวะ) are commonly used. Other terms, slang or idioms used to indicate a visit to the toilet are: rong phleng phu khao (ร้องเพลงภูเขา), i.e. ‘singing [to] the mountains’; pai thung (ไปทุ่ง), which translates ‘going to the field’; pai thah (ไปท่า), meaning ‘going to the wharf’; pai pah (ไปป่า), that is ‘going to the forest’; and pai suam (ไปส้วม), which literally means ‘going to the toilet (bowl)’.

ying peun gahn gluay (ยิงปืนก้านกล้วย)

Thai. ‘To shoot a banana stalk gun’. Name of a traditional Thai children's game from the past. READ ON.

Ying Zheng (嬴政)

The personal name of Qin Shi Huang Ti, the first emperor of China (fig.).

yin-yang (阴阳)

Chinese. Popular name for the representation of the principle of Taijitu (T'ai chi t'u) from Taoist and Neo-Confucian philosophy. It represents the two polar energies that cause the universe in Taoism. Yin is the feminine principle symbolized by the moon (月 - due to its cycles), water, the colour black, downward or falling movement, and the northern direction; whereas yang, the masculine principle is symbolized by the sun (日), fire, the colour red (often also white), upward movement, and the southern direction. Besides being each others opposites, they also have equal qualities that complement each other, are dynamic rather than static, and when at their peak, naturally begin to transform into the opposite quality. Yin (阴) is a compound of 阝+ 月 and literally means ‘shady place’, while yang is a compound of 阝+ 日 and literally means ‘sunny place’, hence the words yin and yang are frequently used in Chinese place names, i.e. yin to refer to a place that is on the north slope of a mountain, where the shade is; and yang to refer to a place on the south slope of a mountain, where the sun shines. As the sun moves across the sky, yin and yang gradually trade places with each other, revealing what was obscured and obscuring what was revealed. The concept is often represented as a circle divided into two curved halves, of which one is white (or red) and the other black, each with a round dot in the opposite colour in its widest point. Whereas yin represents the feminine, the passive, the dark, the soft, the earth and even numbers; yang represents the masculine, the active, the bright, the hard, heaven and odd numbers. In place names, yin is also frequently used to refer to the north bank of a river, as in Luoyang, a city located on the north bank of the Luo River, and yang to refer to the south bank of a river. Unlike the western adaptation of the concept, in the East yin-yang does not refer to good and evil. See also ananda-chakra (fig.), Pan Gu, trigram and fang kong qian (fig.).

yin zhang (印章)

Chinese. ‘Seal’ or ‘signet’. Name for a handmade (fig.) seal or stamp with Chinese characters. The imprint created by the Chinese seal can be used for different purposes, e.g. for identification, especially on Chinese calligraphy works; as an auspicious or magical charm, in particular during special occasions, etc. They are often carved from precious materials, such as jade, ivory, sandalwood, etc. They are generally square but sometimes also  round in shape (fig.), with the top of the seal usually decorated with an auspicious sign or figure, for instance with an animal from the Chinese zodiac. They are used with seal paste (fig.), a red substance made from finely pulverized dragon's blood palm, mixed with castor oil and either silk strands (as a binding agent) or moxa punk (made from mugwort leaves). There are three kinds of seals, each one named after the imprint they produce, i.e. zhuwen, literally ‘red characters’, refers to seals imprinting the Chinese characters in red ink (fig.); baiwen, literally ‘white characters’, refers to seals imprinting the background in red, leaving the characters uncoloured (in white - fig.); and zhubaiwen, a combination of the two. Nowadays Chinese seals are available to anyone and they are included in most wen fang si bao (fig.), but in the past they were mostly the property of the rich and powerful (fig.).

Yi Peng (ยี่เป็ง)

Thai. Name used in Chiang Mai and more generally in the northern region of Lan Na in order to refer to the annual festival of Loi Krathong, which coincides with the second lunar month according to the northern Thai calendar and with the twelfth lunar month of a regular calendar year, which in Thai is likewise called Yi Peng. During this festival, people decorate their houses and Buddhist temples with banana plants, sugarcane, and coconut fronds, while various paper lamps known as kohm fai Yi Peng are hoisted as offerings to the Buddha. In addition, small bowl lamps are lit as offerings to the Triple Gem, and kohm loy, i.e. paper floating air-lanterns, are lit and released into the sky (fig.) as offerings to Chulamanie, i.e. a stupa containing hair from the Buddha in the Tavatimsa heaven. Also transcribed Yee Peng and Yi-peng. WATCH VIDEO (1) and (2).

yi shan guan (翼善冠)

Chinese. ‘Winged-crown of virtue’ or ‘benevolent finned-hat’. Name of the cap-like crown worn by the emperors and princes of the Ming Dynasty. READ ON.

Ylang Ylang

Malay. Popular name for the Cananga odorata, which in Thai is called kradang nga songkhla. Its greenish yellow flower has an extraordinary scent (fig.) and is used in the perfume industry.

Ylang Ylang Vine

See kradang nga ngaw.

yo baan (ยอบ้าน)

Thai name for the Indian Mulberry or Beach Mulberry, a tree with the botanical name Morinda citrifolia. It belongs to the family Rubiaceae, which includes also the coffee tree (fig.). The tree produces small white flowers and multiple fruits, i.e. fruit formed from a cluster of flowers, with each flower producing a fruit, which mature into a single mass. These fruits are 4 to 7 centimeters large, oval shaped and initially green, but turn yellow and then almost white as they ripen, producing an pungent smell, causing the fruit to be nicknamed cheese fruit. Despite their strong odour and bitter taste, the fruits are edible and used in traditional medicine. In Thai also commonly known as yo (ยอ), ma-tah seua (มะตาเสือ), and yae yai (แยใหญ่).

yoga (योग)

Sanskrit. ‘To unite’. A system of physical, mental and spiritual discipline whose ultimate purpose is to unite with the universal spirit (fig.).

yogi (योगि, योगी)

Sanskrit-Hindi. One who practices yoga. The female term is yogini.

yogini (योगिनी)

1. Sanskrit for ‘witch’, ‘female demon’, ‘sorceress’ or ‘fairy’. In Tantrism, they are described as the attendants of the warrior goddess Durga, of whom Chamunda, the goddess of war and one of the seven Matris, is one of the most important. They are believed to number 64 or 81. Compare with Yokai.

2. Hindi. Feminine form of a yogi.

yok (หยก)

Thai for jade.

Yokai (妖怪)

Japanese. ‘Ghost’, ‘phantom’ or ‘strange apparition’. A class of legendary supernatural creatures, including monsters and certain demons, in Japanese folklore. Compare with yogini.

yok dok (ยกดอก)

Thai. ‘Raised pattern’. Name for a fabric woven from cotton or silk, with lifted designs. It is used to refer to various types of twill weave, fabrics so woven as to have a surface of diagonal parallel ridges. In Central and Southern Thailand this term is used for defining silver or golden brocade fabric, called pah yok and which is technically woven in knit or the continuous supplementary weft technique in which threads are woven across a warp.

yoksorn (ยกศร)

Thai. ‘Lifting of an arrow’. Term that refers to a scene in the life of the historical Buddha at the age of sixteen, when Suddhodana wanted to choose him a wife from amongst the princesses of the neighbouring kingdoms. However, the kings of these realms demanded that the prince first prove himself in his mastery of the ‘twelve arts’, a number of skills with the chief being archery. When it turned out that he was very skilled in this he was offered all the daughters and the prince chose princess Bimba as his first wife. In art generally portrayed as prince Siddhartha holding a bow over his head (fig.). Also known as Narai song peun and Narai plaeng son, and also transcribed yok son.

yokthei pwe (ရုပ်သေးပွဲ)

Burmese. Puppet theaters (fig.) in Burma, with the main subject being the Jataka stories. They enjoyed excellent standing in the performing arts tradition (fig.) of the 18th and 19th centuries AD, but that decreased in the thirties due to the decline of subsidies as given under British colonial rule, and with the introduction of film. It influenced the later development of zat pwe (fig.), a live dance drama with dancers who make marionette-like movements (fig.). Also simply yokthei and sometimes transcribed jou' thei pwe.

Yom (ยม)

1. Thai name for Yama, the Vedic god of death. The judge of the dead and guardian of the South. His mount is a buffalo.

2. Thai. Name of a river in northern Thailand that near Nakhon Sawan merges with the rivers Nan, Wang (fig.) and Ping (fig.), thus forming the Chao Phraya River (fig.). See MAP.

3. Thai name of the outermost known planet of the solar system, Pluto which name derives from Plouton, the god of the Greek underworld.

Yommabaan (ยมบาล)

Thai. The beings who deal out punishment to the wicked in the underworld of narok (fig.). See also kratha thong daeng and Diyu.

Yommalohk (ยมโลก)

Thai. ‘World of Yom’. Another name for narok, the world of the dead in Buddhism.

Yommaraat (ยมราช)

1. Thai. ‘Royal Yama’. Name of a Chao Phraya, i.e. a Thai nobleman of the highest rank, during the reigns of King Rama V and Rama VI. He was born on 15 July 1862 as Pan Sukhum (ปั้น สุขุม). He was Minister of Public Works, and Commander of the Krasuang Nakhonbahn, a former government department responsible for maintaining and managing the order and security in the capital Bangkok and its surrounding area. As Minister of Public Works, he was responsible for the construction of roads and bridges in Bangkok, as well as the distribution of electricity in the capital. He was also influential in the construction of the Samsen Water Treatment Plant in Bangkok's Phaya Thai District, the country's first and now a museum (fig.). In the latter days of his life, he was for a short period appointed as the regent of King Ananda Mahidol. In 1897, he established the Mahavajiravudh School in Songkhla (fig.), the province of which he also was a regional governor, whilst he named the school after the then Crown Prince Maha Vajiravudh, i.e. the later King Rama VI. He died on 30 December 1938, aged 76.

2. Thai. ‘Royal Yama’. In the Ayutthaya, Thonburi and early Rattanakosin Periods, a rajatinanaam conferred by the King to a senior official, often someone who already held the bandasak of Phraya or Chao Phraya. It is comparable to the position of a Minister of State, before the revolution of 1932.

3. Thai. ‘King of [the realm of] Death’. A name for Yom, also known as Yama.

Yommathoot (ยมทูต)

Thai. ‘Envoy of Yom’. The angel who leads the souls of the dead to judgment before Phra Yom and his scribes Suwan and Suwaan. He is usually depicted with horns and holding a trident or some other weapon. WATCH VIDEO.

yo mum (ย่อมุม)

Thai. Literally ‘short corner’ or ‘recess’. The name for a decorative pattern, akin to the Thai kranok (fig.), used in temple and palace decoration of walls and pillars since the Ayutthaya period, when this motif was introduced through the trading of goods and exchange of cultures, and said to be a mixture of Chinese and Indian styles. The term is also used for the floor plan of a redented chedi (fig.). Sometimes transliterated yor moom and also referred to as laay yo mum (ลายย่อมุม), i.e. ‘recess pattern’.

yong (หย่อง)

1. Thai for betel nut tray.

2. Thai for the bridge of a stringed musical instrument, usually a small piece of wood, over which the strings are stretched.

yoni (โยนี - योनि)

Thai-Sanskrit. An object of veneration symbolic of female creative energy, represented as the female genital organ in the form of a square platform with a hollow top and an outlet at one end. In combination (fig.) with the linga it represents creation. Although controversial, some believe the yoni stands at the origin of the shape of a heart (♥).

Yonok (โยนก)

Thai. Name of an early legendary kingdom in present-day Northern Thailand that probably existed several hundred years before ancient Chiang Saen.

You Chao (有巢)

Chinese. Name of one of the Si Shi, a group of semi-mythological rulers and culture heroes from the period preceding the Xia Dynasty in ancient China. In some texts he is described as the second of the Three Sovereigns during the Three Sovereigns and the Five Emperors Period. He is also accredited with being the inventor of house and building, a reputation that perhaps derives from his name, which can be translated as ‘to possess a nest’. As one of the Four Shi, he is known as You Chao-shi.

Young Postman

Mascot of the Thailand Post as depicted in graphic design on definitive postage stamps issued since 2007. He is depicted wearing a red motorcycle helmet with a white bar in the middle and two dots at each side (fig.). He is described as a graduate with a bachelor's degree (parinyah trih) and since he was young, he has dreamt of becoming a postman, just like his grandfather, who delivered mail until his retirement and who was once selected to be the Best Postman. This brought pride to the family and hence, after graduation, the young man followed his dream by applying for the position of postman. Besides driving a motorcycle as his main vehicle for mail delivery (fig.), Young Postman on occasion walks (fig.) or rides in a motor boat (fig.), when he has to go to the areas along the canal or to an island where roads do not reach. Since 2011, Young Postman also delivers food, a new service of Thailand Post (fig.) known as Yummy Post (fig.). Also referred to as Brother Postman and in Thai, is known as Num Praisanih or Noom Praisanee (หนุ่มไปรษณีย์).

Yotfa (ยอดฟ้า)

Name of an important general in the army of King Taksin, who later seized power from and the latter and became King Phra Phutta Yotfa Chulalok.

yu (玉)

Chinese for jade. The character is related to zhu (主), meaning ‘master’ and ‘lord’, as well as to wang (王 - fig.), which means ‘king’ and may also be pronounced yu. Wang however, is also a common surname and legend has it that when an ancient king once met with a commoner named Wang, he proposed a different spelling for his name. To honour him, as well as to differ the surname from his own royal title, he gave the name of the commoner an extra dot (丶), in Chinese called zhu, with same sound and tone as zhu (主). Thus, when the king later visited the man again, he noticed that the he had placed the dot (丶) on top of the character for wang (王), thus renaming himself zhu (主), i.e. ‘master’ or ‘lord’, a title akin to that of the king and thus missing its purpose. When the king asked the commoner why he had put the dot, which is akin to the form of a dagger, above his head rather than ‘hanging it on his belt’, meaning why he had put the dot (丶) on top of the character and not somewhere below the middle, as in the word for jade (玉), the man, who didn't want to admit that he had misunderstood the word zhu (丶) for zhu (主), replied that he had done this out of respect for the king, as it would have been regarded very impolite to have a gift from a king put at a low place. It is namely common practice in China, as it is in Thailand, to never positioned oneself higher than a sovereign, who is the ‘head’ of state. Commoners are therefore supposed to bow and make sure that they never position themselves higher than the head of the king at any given time. See also CHINESE CHARACTER FORMATION & ETYMOLOGY.

Yuan (元)

1. Chinese. Name of a dynasty in China, that was founded by the Mongolian leader Kublai Khan, and existed from 1271 to 1368 AD. The Yuan Dynasty is also known as the Mongol Dynasty. See also LIST OF CHINESE RULERS.

2. Chinese. Name of the Chinese currency, named after the Yuan Dynasty (1271 - 1368 AD), during which the first real paper money came widely into use, not taking into account the preceding Jiaozi, and issued in an attempt to reduce the use of heavy copper coins called fang kong qian (fig.).

Yuan Shi Kai (袁世凯)

Chinese. Name of the second President of the Republic of China, following Sun Yat-sen (fig.). The general was famous for his influence during the late Qing Dynasty and for his role in the events leading up to the abdication of Pu Yi (fig.), i.e. the last Emperor of China. In 1915, he made a short-lived attempt to revive the Chinese monarchy, by proclaiming himself as the new Emperor. The revival led to widespread opposition and public protests throughout China, denouncing Yuan. To appease his foes, he initially tried to delay the accession rites, but finally abandoned the attempt to revive the monarchy. His enemies, however, rebelled and called for his resignation as president, but Yuan suddenly died from kidney failure on 5 June 1916, aged 56. Also transcribed Yuan Shikai. See also LIST OF CHINESE RULERS.

Yuan Shi Tian Zun (元始天尊)

Chinese. Name of one of the highest deities of the Chinese Taoist pantheon, who resides in the Heaven of Jade Purity. READ ON.

Yudhishthira (युधिष्ठिर)

Sanskrit. ‘Firm or steady in battle. Name of the first of the Pandavas, i.e. the eldest son of Pandu. His mother was Kunti, while his heavenly father was the god Dharma, the god of virtue, justice and morality, who is associated with or also known as Yama, the Vedic god of death. Yudhishthira was a dhammaracha, i.e. virtuous, skilled in the duties of a king, and dedicated in the path of Dharma, as well as good at playing chess. Compare with the Thai term yutthahadtie

yue liang men (月亮门)

Chinese. ‘Luminous moon gate’. Architectural term for a circular doorway, referred to in English as Moon Gate (fig.).

yueqin (月琴)

Chinese. ‘Moon musical instrument’. Name for a round or (full) moon-shaped lute, with a short neck and four strings. It is played with a plectrum, and is typically used to accompany Chinese opera.

yue ya chan (月牙铲)

Chinese. ‘Crescent Moon Spade’. Chinese term for a Monk's Spade.

yuga (युग)

Sanskrit. A time period in Indian cosmology. There are a total of four yugas, i.e. Krita or Satya, Treta, Dvapara and Kali, in descending order of virtue. The present era is that of Kali Yuga. In Thai yuk.

yugu (鱼鼓)

Chinese. ‘Fish drum’. Name of a traditional Chinese percussion instrument, used especially by Taoist priests. It consists of a long cylinder, usually of bamboo, of which over one end a piece of fish skin is stretched, and with two slim drum sticks with a twisted end, like golf clubs. When carried, the drum sticks are stored inside the drum, with the twisted ends projecting from the top (fig.). It is an attribute of some Chinese deities, including Chang Kuo Lao, one of the Eight Immortals. Compare with the Chinese muyu (fig.) and the Vietnamese chun mo (fig.). See also soob lom (fig.).

Yugur (裕固)

Name of an ethnic minority people in in the northwest of China. They have a population of just about 13,000, with most of them living in the South Yugur Autonomous County, in Gansu Province. The majority speaks Turkic Western Yugur and the others either Mongolic Eastern Yugur or Chinese. The remaining Yugurs of the Autonomous County lost their respective Yugur language and speak Chinese. The Yugur languages are oral, i.e. they have no written form of their own, but use Chinese characters for writing. Their main occupation consists of animal husbandry and some are involved in agriculture. They are also known as Yellow Uyghurs and in Chinese their name is pronounced Yugu.

Yu Huang (玉皇)

Chinese for ‘Jade Emperor’. Name of the most important god of the Chinese Taoist pantheon, who rules over heaven and earth (fig.), just as the mortal emperors once ruled over China. In ancient China, the term Emperor meant ‘Son of Heaven’, one appointed by Heaven to rule the people. According to Chinese mythology the Jade Emperor was initially the assistant of Yuan Shi Tian Zun, the Divine Master of the Heavenly Origin, the supreme beginning and the creator of heaven and earth, who personally picked Yu Huang as his successor. Yu Huang was born as crown prince of the kingdom of Pure Felicity and Majestic Heavenly Lights and Ornaments, on the ninth day of the first lunar month, a day Taoist temples now hold a ritual in his honour. At birth, he emitted an amazing light that filled the entire kingdom and he attained Golden Immortality after 1,750 trials of cultivating Tao, each lasting for 120,976 years and after another one hundred million years of cultivating Tao, he finally became the Jade Emperor. He is usually depicted wearing the imperial robes and cap, and holding a ceremonial jade tablet (fig.). His picture is printed on ming bi hell bank notes (fig.). His consort is Xi Wangmu,, the Queen Mother of the West (fig.), who is also known as Wangmu Niangniang, and whose statue is erected at his side in the Jade Emperor Hall at Fengdu Ghost City (fig.). See also yu and Diyu.

yuk (ยุค)

1. Thai name for yuga.

2. Thai term for in pair, i.e. two of something or someone.

Yu Li ()

Chinese. ‘Jade Register’ or ‘Jade Record’. Name of a 17th century religious tract, submitted to Yu Huang (the Jade Emperor) by Yan Wang (the ruler of the underworld) and Kuan Yin (the goddess of mercy), and which describes the horrors of hell (Diyu) and how the dead ‘pass through’ the ten courts of hell, where they are punished for their sins. The word Li (历, or in traditional Chinese: 歷) may also be translated as ‘to pass through’ or ‘to undergo’, as well as ‘history’ or ‘calendar’, noting that the Jade Register also contains a calendar in which it devotes certain days to certain deities.

Yulong Santaizi (玉龙三太子)

Chinese. ‘Third Prince of the Jade Dragon’. Name of the third son of the Jade Dragon, who usually appears in a transformed shape, i.e. as the fabled horse of the Mahayana Buddhist monk Xuanzang. READ ON.

Yun Bayin (ယွန်းဘုရင်)

Burmese. ‘King of the Yun’. One of 37 nats that belong to the official pantheon of spirits worshipped in Myanmar. During his life, this nat was King Mae Ku, the King of Lan Na, who became a tributary king to the Burmese King Bayinnaung of Toungoo, after the latter captured Chiang Mai during the War over the White Elephants of 1563-1564. Since Mae Ku died of illness while being a captive vassal king to Burma, he was integrated in the pantheon of Burmese nats. He is usually portrayed sitting in a pose reminiscent of the royal relaxation-position, with one knee raised and his arm resting with the elbow on the knee, while holding a sheathed sword across the shoulder. In Thai, this nat is referred to as Yohn Bayeng (โยนบะเยง). See also LIST OF THAI KINGS and LIST OF BURMESE NATS.

yung laai bahn (ยุงลายบ้าน)

Thai. Striped house mosquito’. Name for the Aedes aegypti, a type of mosquito commonly known as Yellow Fever Mosquito. Originally from Africa, it has now spread to most tropical and subtropical regions throughout the world, mostly around the equator. It is characterized by its its striped appearance of white bands, stripes and markings on a blackish body and legs. It is an important vector for the transmission of Yellow Fever, Zika fever, dengue and Chikungunya, and are most active at dusk and dawn, especially indoors and in shady areas, yet may bite at any time of the day, though only the females bite for blood, which they need to mature their eggs. They typically lay their eggs in stagnant water.

yung laai suan (ยุงลายสวน)

Thai. ‘Striped garden mosquito’. Name for the Aedes albopictus, a type of mosquito commonly known as Asian Tiger Mosquito or Forest Day Mosquito. It is native to Southeast Asia and is an important vector for the transmission of dengue fever and Chikungunya. It is easily identified by its striped appearance of white bands on a blackish body and legs. Unlike the Anopheles mosquito (fig.), i.e. the carrier of the malaria parasite, which is nocturnal, the Tiger Mosquito flies and feeds in the daytime, and as is the case with other mosquitoes, only the females bite for blood, which they need to mature their eggs.  In the spread of infectious diseases Aedes albopictus is considered more hazardous than Aedes aegypti.

Yunnan (云南)

Chinese. ‘[Land] South of the cloud’ or ‘under the clouds. South Chinese province that is accessible from the northern Thai province of Chiang Rai by the Mekhong River, which is the shortest route into China, about 200 kilometers upstream from Sop Ruak near the Golden Triangle. In China, the Mekhong is officially called Lancang Jiang (澜沧江) or Turbulent River and the Chinese border begins near where the river confluences with the Nanla He (南腊河) or Southern End River. One of the province's main attractions is Stone Forest near Kunming (fig.).

Yunnan Sub-nosed Monkey

Common name for a species of primate found in southern China's Yunnan province, and with the scientific designations Rhinopithecus roxellanae bieti and Pygathrix bieti. It is dark greyish above and whitish-buff below, with an all-white bottom that extends to the lower back, whilst its tail is also dark grey (fig.). Its head is light grey with a darker crown, while its ear tips are whitish and the face pale pink, bordered by a white beard or a golden beard that may be whitish at the base. It has a heavy fur to withstand subzero winters and its flat muzzle is believed to have evolved to prevent frostbite in extreme cold. The Yunnan Sub-nosed Monkey is also known as Yunnan Golden Monkey and is listed as a subspecies of the Golden Monkey (fig.), which is also commonly known as Sub-nosed Monkey (fig.). In Chinese, the Yunnan Sub-nosed Monkey is known as Dian Jin Si Hou.

Yu Nu (玉女)

Chinese. ‘Jade Lady’ or ‘Jade Girl’. Name of an immortal girl, who is an apprentice and assistant of the Taoist Immortals. She has a male counterpart, known as Jin Tong, i.e. the ‘Golden Boy’ (fig.), with whom she is often depicted together (fig.). In Thai, she is known as yok neung (หยกหนึ่ง), i.e. ‘One [of] Jade’. In addition to this and according to the Avatamsaka or ‘Flower Garland’ Sutra, Yu Nu was seeking Enlightenment and became an acolyte of the goddess Kuan Yin, the goddess of mercy. In this context, Yu Nu is referred to as Long Nu and sometimes as Long Wang Nu (龙王女), i.e. ‘Dragon King Lady’ or ‘Daughter of the Dragon King’. See also Golden Boy and Jade Girl.

yutthahadtie (ยุทธหัตถี)

1. Thai. Term for a war elephant, also known as chang seuk (fig.).

2. Thai. Term for a hand-to-hand combat on elephants’ backs. Compare with the Sanskrit name Yudhishthira, and see also Asian Elephant.