A New Banknote in the People's Republic. The Iconography of the Kip and Ideological Transformations in Laos, 1957-2006

  • Oliver Tappe (Autor/in)

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In this article the author addresses a specific symbolic strategy to promote the image of a nation - the iconography of the banknote. By looking at the Lao Kip, he analyses the changing configurations of various icons as representations of the national ideology of Laos. The iconography of the Kip witnessed considerable variations during the half century after independence in 1954, reflecting sociopolitical transformations. Monarchy, socialist revolution and the post-reform era leave clear traces within the iconic reconstructions visible on the Kip. The author wishes to indicate that the analysis of paper money is an effective method to examine ideological processes of nation-building. Moreover, the symbolic politics of a late-socialist regime striving for legitimacy are elucidated by employing the example of the Lao People's Democratic Republic.