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The Asian Elephant, The Gentle Giants Of Indochina: 1,000 Kip (Laos, 1974)-Reference

Updated: Apr 21

This large Laotian banknote represents the 4th denomination of Royal Kip (Series 1974). The observe features a portrait of King Sisavang Vatthana, the last king of Laos. The reverse depicts an Asian Elephant walking through the jungle. (Note Size: 170 x 83 mm or 6.69 in x 3.27 in)



The Asian Elephant

The endangered Asian Elephant is the largest animal native to South and Southeast Asian. Although once widespread from the East Asian coast to portions of West Asian. Current populations are mostly distributed in isolated pockets. These pockets include populations of the Indian, Sri Lankan, and Sumatran subspecies. \

Asian Elephants are smaller than their cousins the African Elephant. Asian elephants are descended from ancient African populations and thus have a number of subtle differences. Asian elephants have smaller ears, less loose skin, and an arched back. Their trunks have only one tip, instead of two.

Asian elephant heads have 2 domes and are the highest part of their body. As opposed to African elephants that have 1 dome, that is slightly lower than their shoulders. The number of toes differ between the 2 species. Both have 5 front toes, although Asian elephants have 4 back toes. While African elephants have only 3 back toes.

Asian elephant males slightly larger, than females of the same species. Although less so than their African cousins. A male elephants are 2.75 m (9.0 ft) tall and weigh 4,000 kg (8,800 pounds). While male elephants are 2.75 m (9.0 ft) tall and weigh 4,000 kg (8,800 pounds).

Asian Elephants being trained for traditional logging, in Southeast Asia.
Asian Elephants being trained for traditional logging, in Southeast Asia.

Unlike African Elephants, the Asian Elephant have longer history of domestication. With the earliest depictions dating to 3,000 BCE, by the Indus Valley Civilization (3300 BCE to 1300 BCE). This tradition continues into modern times in South and Southeast Asia. Particularly rural areas where elephants are used in traditional logging.

From a young age elephants are trained by a howdah or keeper. Who creates a close bond with their mount. Generally most tamed elephants are used for carrying people or cargo. Although logging remains in demand as a specialized type of labor.

The advantage of using elephants is their mobility and ease of maintenance. As elephants can feed from the natural environment. Unlike modern machinery, elephants can walk between trees and cross waterways. They also reduced environmental damage in comparison to tracked skids, which drag logs causing more damage.

Although it should be noted this form of traditional logging has been declining. Leading to elephant keepers to seek other forms of employment. Such as working as tour guides, providing tourist rides along nature trails. Some have sought employment as forest rangers, using their skills to stop poachers and illegal logging operations.

One particular area of interest are temple elephants. Which are used in religious Buddhist and Hindu religious processions and festivals. These elephants are occasionally ornately dressed and painted for parades. Although are more often used to receive donations at major temples.

A mahout washing his elephant, at Kanchipuram Temple.
A mahout washing his elephant, at Kanchipuram Temple.

1974 Royal Kip Gallery

(Gallery features all banknotes of the Royal Kip Series 1974)


Additional Notes

  • The note's dimensions are 170 x 83 mm or 6.69 in x 3.27 in, larger than a US Dollar.

  • This banknote is wider and longer, than a standard US Dollar (6.14 x 2.61 in).

  • It's recommended to use large protective sleeves, when preserving this note.

  • On 22 October 1953, the Kingdom of Laos was granted independence from France.

  • French Indochina included the modern nations of Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia.

  • West Asian Elephants are believed to have been an extinct subspecies.

  • The term Syrian Elephant is used for ancient West Asian Elephants.

  • Female Asian Elephants unlike African Elephants often lack tusk.

Photo Credits


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