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4–7 September, 2019

Saturday, 7 September | | Miraikan Hall

Talk | Presented in English

The Evolution of Thai Loopless Script

Thai script is divided into the looped and the loopless. Loopless Thai is generally considered to be the “modern” form of Thai script. However, loopless Thai has its own history. This presentation examines the evolution of the Thai loopless form and attempts to map its development. Originating with the Thai Naris typeface in 1863, the Thai loopless form was initially constructed using a broad-nib pen. Later on, it was adopted and transformed by the locals. It initially appeared mainly in headlines; it was also used in books, newspapers, and local consumer products to make a bold statement. In the 1940s, it began to be embraced by local calligraphers and sign painters. The dry-transfer era saw even more experimentation with the loopless form—it showed up on the posters of the 1976 student-activist uprising in Thailand, for example. It’s currently part of daily life there. Cultural influence has simplified the loopless form over time. Loopless Thai raises many questions about what we consider modern versus what we deem outdated. By understanding the history of the loopless form, we can arrive at a better understanding of its possibilities for the future.