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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(self-designation, Thainyo), a nationality in Burma, inhabiting primarily the Shan Upland. According to a 1975 estimate, the Shan number 2.1 million.

The Shan, who speak a Thai language, profess Buddhism; the folk religion is based on tiger worship. The Shan first settled in Burma at about the beginning of the Common Era; a Shan state, with its capital at Muanmau, is known to have existed as early as the seventh century. In the 14th and 15th centuries all northern and central Burma was controlled by the Shan, who in turn came under the control of the Burmese kings in the mid-16th century.

The Shan are undergoing national consolidation in their own region of Burma, the Shan State. They engage chiefly in irrigation farming, including the cultivation of rice; the plow is still the principal agricultural implement. Highly developed handicrafts include smithery, jewelry-making, the making of lacquer ware, weaving, and mat braiding.


Narody lugo-Vostochnoi Azii. Moscow, 1966.



a national state in Burma, in the Shan Upland. Area, 158,000 sq km. Population, 2,725,000 (1969), most of whom are of Shan nationality. The capital is the city of Taunggyi. The chief crops grown in the Shan state are rice, potatoes, tea, and citrus fruits. Nonagricultural economic activities include logging, the mining of lead-zinc ores (center, Baldwin), the mining of brown coal (center, Lashio), nonferrous metallurgy, and the processing of timber and agricultural raw materials.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.