Manusya, Journal of Humanities

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In this article some aspects of the relationship between the degree of display of the uncovered body and sexuality are explored, using data from Thai historical sources. A close look at some illustrations in manuscripts from the Ayutthaya and Thonburi periods establishes that prior to the middle of the nineteenth century, Siamese etiquette allowed for large parts of the body to be exposed to public gaze. It is assumed that this may have affected attitudes towards sexuality. A hypothesis whereby the relatively generous display of the human body is correlated with a larger degree of matter-of-factness towards the body and has an effect on courting behaviour is tested on historical and ethnographical data. At first sight the hypothesis appears to be confirmed but because of the scantiness of the data at hand, further research is needed before a proper theory of early Thai sexuality can be developed.

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