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Mae Pho sop (Thai: แม่โพสพ) or Pho sop or Mae Kwan Khao (Thai archaism: แม่ขวัญข้าว[1]) is the Siamese rice goddess.[2]


Ritual offerings (Cha laeo) are made to propitiate the Rice Goddess during the different steps of rice production. Villagers believe that Goddess Mae Po-sop ensures everyone has enough to eat.[3]

The iconographic representation of Pho sop is of a beautiful woman wearing full jewelry and a red dress. She is in the sitting or standing position holding a harvested rice sheaf on her right shoulder,[4] but sometimes also on her arm.[5] The iconography of this goddess is based in the Hindu goddess Sri Lakshmi, but its origins are local and more ancient.[6]

In modern Thailand, paying homage to Pho sop by rice farmers had been declining in recent times, but Queen Sirikit gave royal patronage to this ancient custom of Thai folklore in August 2008.[7] Sometimes village women dress as Pho sop during local festivals and celebrations.[8]

Other rice goddesses[edit]

Similar rice goddesses also can be found in other Asian countries such as Dewi Sri; a Javanese, Sundanese, and Balinese rice, agriculture and fertility goddess in Indonesia, and Khmer Po Ino Nogar; the rice goddess of Cambodia.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ ชนชาติไทในนิทาน : แลลอดแว่นคติชนและวรรณกรรมพื้นบ้าน / ศิราพร ณ ถลาง กรุงเทพฯ : มติชน, 2545
  2. ^ Pairin Jotisakulratana, Mae Po sop: The Rice Mother of Thailand
  3. ^ Rice Hoarding Affect Supplies in Thailand
  4. ^ Po Sop
  5. ^ ศาลแม่โพสพริมคลองบางพรม: หลักฐานทุ่งนาฝั่งธนฯ
  6. ^ Phya Anuman Rajadhon, Essays on Thai Folklore ISBN 974-210345-3
  7. ^ Thailand revives worship of Rice Goddess - The China Post
  8. ^ Woman in Pho sop costume

External links[edit]