Historical evidence shows that weapons had been used in Thailand for more than 30,000 years since the prehistorical era. Early weapons were made of natural material such as stone, wood and animal bones. Later, metal was used to make swords, lances, spears and crossbows. In the past, wars had mostly been for the defense of the country from invasion and colonization, as well as to annex new land. Popular weapons used were close-range weapons, such as the sword and dagger, which were later developed into bayonets. Various types of weapons used in the last 700 years are depicted in Thai traditional mural paintings.
Shooting weapons were intended to kill the enemy from a distance. For example, arrows and crossbows from which a projectile was sent, used the flexibility of the string in addition to human strength. The arrow was used to inflict personal injury, to light fires or to send or receive messages. Firearm were another type of shooting weapon using the explosive power of gunpowder to send out projectiles.
There were two types of guns:
First invented in Europe in 1375, the cannon was imported into Ayutthaya when King Ramesuan surrounded Chiengmai in 1429. At that time, cannons fire did a lot of damage to the city wall.
Popular guns at the time were flintlock guns and pistols. The difference lies in the mechanism of the guns - Flintlock guns :gun powder was ignited to provide fire power. - Pistols :developed from flintlock guns and used a hammer to trigger the firing mechanism.
Stabbing weapons were used in hand-to-hand combat and differed in form and materials according to the status and position of the owner.
The Thai sword had became intricately decorated and streamlined for powerful use. It comprised three parts - blade, hilt, and handle.
There were two types of spear, with or without hilt. The length was 2 meters and up. A commonly used spear was the short spear, used for throwing.
This was a long spear used by the cavalry. There was no hilt but a tassel was usually tied to the lance to provide decoration. One with a hook at the end was used for controlling elepha
Weapon Protection Equipment
Most of the fighting armies required protection gear in battle. This gear had to be light-weight, yet tough enough to withstand the blades of other weapons. Traditional Thai weapon protection gear included
This was of a curved rectangular shape 15 X 100 cm, similar to the trunk of a banana tree. Used for close range defense. Usually used along with a sword.
This was round with a raised middle, made of woven wicker, hide or metal. Usually used along with a sword.
This was a thin rectangular shape, made of animal hide.
Used with a sword, lance or spear. Distributed to all armies
Used as self-protection by wrapping the shield around the body. Its actual shape is unknown.
This was a protective weapon made of hard pottery or iron formed into sharp spikes. There were scattered in the enemy's way to hinder passage.