For this blog-ette we are taking a look at a wonderful note from Laos. Laos is a landlocked, Southeast Asian country. From its northern border to its southern border the country is only about 650 miles (1,050 km) long. It is a geographically diverse country with mountains, plains and forests. Laos’ culture has deep themes of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Our note this week is Laos 5 Kip p9b 1962. The front of the note has Lao text and shows a portrait of King Sisavang Vong. The back of the note has French text, palm trees and an image of a royal soldier riding an elephant. There is no mention of what the building on the back of the note is; however, after some research I believe it is Pha That Luang. The watermark is the coat of arms with an Erawan three-headed elephant.
King Sisavang Vong succeed his father as king after his father’s passing in 1904. King Sisavang Vong was known as a “playboy king”. He had 15 wives, two of them were his half-sisters and one was his niece. He had 50 children. Unfortunately, 14 of his children died in a horrible accident. King Sisavang Vong was a supporter of French rule in Laos; however, during his reign he saw over Laos’ independence from France. He ruled for 55 years. At the time of his death, he was the longest reigning monarch in Southeast Asia.
Pha That Luang is a gold-covered (real gold) Buddhist stupa. It is a sacred monument and one of Laos’ most remarkable religious temples. It was created in the 3rd century by Indian missionaries, and later fell into despair. The current temple was built by King Setthathirat in 1566, after Vientiane became the capital of Laos. The buddhist King hoped that his rebuilding of the great stupa would help him to reach enlightenment. A statue of the former Lao king stands in front of the main entrance. The temple is said to house the breastbone of Buddha.
The Erawan three-headed elephant image has Buddhist/Hindu origins. It is called either Airavata or Erawan. The elephant is a symbol of greatness, wisdom and transportation. Many former Lao kings prized elephants, especially the albino elephants. The current Lao government still keeps a few elephants for celebrations.
This interesting green and white note is simple in design, but holds a lot of history. This note was released a few years after the death of King Sisavang Vong, and a little over a decade after Laos’ independence from France. The 5 Kip p9b would be a great addition to your collection.
Denomination: 5 Kip
Pick #: 9b
Other Info: Banque National Du Laos (Sign 5)
Depictions: S. Vong; Temple; Man on Elephant
Note Size: 5 1/4″ x 3 1/4″
Continent: Asia and the Middle East
Watermark: Tricephalic Elephant Crest