The photos above show 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.