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Khami, Khumi, Mru and Sunghtu, southern Chin groups - Bangladesh and Myanmar

Mru tube skirt from Bangladesh in the collection of Pamela Cross

images © Pamela A Cross

The photos above shows a Mru woman's tubeskirt in my collection which I purchased in October 2003 in Chiang Mai from Laura Kan of ‘Pusaka’ in the Night Bazar. Laura helped Michael Howard with his book ‘Textiles of the Hilltribes of Burma’. She is particularly interested in researching the tribes in Bangladesh. Laura assured me that the skirt came from Bangladesh where the Mru live in the Chittagong Hill Tracts in the borderland between Burma, Inda and Bangladesh.

This skirt is similar to several shown in several photographs in the book "The Chittagong Hill Tracts: Living in a Borderland" by Willem van Schendel, Wolfgang Mey & Aditya Kumar Dewan published by White Lotus Press in 2000 ISBN 974-8434-98-2. For example Plate 89. Woman spinning cotton. (Brauns, 1970), Plate 327. Mru girls dancing. (Brauns, 1970). These photosgraphs have been reproduced from the book by Claus-Dieter Brauns and Lorenz G Loffler, Mru: Bergbewohner im Grenzgebiet von Bangladesh (Basel/Stuttgart: Birkhauser, 1986. Revised English translation: Mru: Hill People on the Border of Bangladesh (Basel/Boston/Berlin: Birkhauser, 1990).

The skirts are narrow - the one photographed is 24 cm in width - and tubular in construction with a hand sewn fell seam. The example above is 112 cm in circumference. The band of red patterned weaving is 10.5 cm in width. The skirt is worn fairly low slung on the hips and coming to the top of the thighs. Bead and coin belts are worn at the top of the skirt to secure it. The one block of woven pattern is worn in the centre-back of the skirt - Plate 327 referred to above shows this clearly. The top and bottom of the skirt are edged with fine beads worked into the weaving. Originally the skirts were the only clothing worn with the breasts left bare. Later a shawl was tied across one shoulder.

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this page last updated 1 January, 2004