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Laos bibliography

Listed below are details of a few books (from my own collection) which feature the textiles of Laos. Some books are solely devoted to a particular aspect of culture, including textiles, whilst others include a few pages of information within a wider study.
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"Lao Textiles and Traditions" by Mary F Connors in 'Images of Asia' series published by Oxford University Press 1996. ISBN 983-56-0001-5. This is a good general introduction to the textiles of the larger Lao groups within Laos - lowland Lao and 6 upland groups: the Lue, Tai Dam, Tai Kao, Tai Daeng, Phuan and Phu Tai. Both black and white and colour plates.
"Lao-Tai Textiles: The Textiles of Xam Nuea and Muang Phuan" by Patricia Cheesman and published by Studio Naenna Co in 2004 ISBN 974-272-915-8. Based on nearly 30 years of exposure to Lao-tai textiles and in-depth research of the Tai-Kadai language group. In depth discussion of the textiles (from China, Laos, Thailand, Vietnam) against their historical and cultural background, with information on techniques and design motifs and with meticulously labeled illustrations. An excellent reference work for collectors.
"Legends in the Weaving" by Dara Kanlaya and members of the Group for Promotion of Art and Lao Textiles who published the book with the support of the The Japan Foundation Asia Center 2001.  ISBN 974-548-202-1.   The authors, all women, have close ties to weaving, some for more than 30 years. The publication resulted from recording their personal experiences and research into practices and techniques of weaving, including dyeing. Focuses on the weaving of the Tai, Mon-Khmer and Hmong ethnic groups. Unusual in speaking with the voice of the weavers and includes detailed technique description in text and photos. The quality of the photos is excellent. The book is both informative and a pleasure to read and retain as reference.
"Lao Na Textiles: Yuan Lue Lao" by Songsak Prangwatthanakun and Patricia Cheesman published by Center for the Promotion of Arts & Culture, Chiang Mai University. Catalogue to accompany an exhibition at Chiang Mai University in 1987. Excellent colour photographs of Tai textiles of Lan Na (8 provinces of upper northern Thailand and out to Sipsong Pan Na (China) and Laos. Discusses textile history, techniques, dyes and clothing. My first book on Lao textiles when I had just collected my first Lao Na textiles - two old pha biang - in 1988.
"Costume and Culture: Vanishing textiles of some of the Tai groups in Laos PDR" by Patricia Cheesman Naena published by Studio Naenna Co Ltd 1990. A slim volume around a presentation on the topic for Convergence '90 Conference with good colour photographs of textiles as collected with detailed captions. A few photos showing textiles being worn. Helpful introductory text.
"Textiles and Textile Customs of the Tai Dam, Tai Daeng and their neighbours in Northern Laos" (paper) by Mattiebelle Gittinger, Karen Anderson, Chungyampin, Chanporn Saiyalard in The Textile Musuem Journal 1995-1996 published by The Textile Museum, Washington 1997. ISSN 0083-7407. Paper based on research in Laos in 1993 and 1995. Focus on the use of textiles in the culture and customs of their makers plus detailed comment on the the textiles themselves. Several interesting black and white photos.
"Silken Threads Lacquer Thrones: Lan Na Court Textiles" by Susan Conway published by River Books Co., Ltd, distributed outside Thailand and USA by Thames & Hudson 2002. ISBN 974-8225-65-8 A serious study of the topic and at the same time a 'coffee table' volume. The focus as the title suggests is on the court textiles. Some of the photos included in the two Patricia Cheesman catalogues.
"Buddhist Textiles of Laos, Lan Na and the Isan: The Iconography of Design Elements" by Fredrick W Bunce published by D.K. Printworld (P) Ltd. in 2004 ISBN 81-246-0250-6 All diagrams and photos in black and white. The text suffers from poor proof reading.
"Beyond Tradition: Lao Textiles Revisited, The handwoven textiles of Carol Cassidy" published by Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology, New York. Published in conjunction with a 1995 exhibition at the museum featuring the new Lao textiles woven under the direction of Carol Cassidy. Beautiful colour photos showing process and finished textiles.
"Lao Hill Tribes: Traditions and Patterns of Existence" by Stephen Mansfield published by Oxford University Press in 2000, 2002 2nd impression. ISBN 983-56-0061-9. Describes culture (including some costume) of the Lao hill tribes taking particular aspects across the tribes rather than tribe by tribe.
"Among the Tribes of Southern Vietnam and Laos" by Captain P. Cupet published by White Lotus in 1998 ISBN 974-8434-45-1. Reports a chapter of Franco-Siamese politics played out in 1890-91 among the independent tribes inhabiting the crossroads between French Southern Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. The author was member of the famous Pavie Mission and studied the politics as well as the ethnography and anthropology of the tribes for years. His pictorial material is outstanding and unrivalled as a record of these peoples. Introduction by Walter E.J. Tips.
"The Peoples of Laos: Rural and Ethnic Diversities" by Laurent Chazee published by White Lotus Press 1999. ISBN 974-8434-86-9 Study of rural ethnographical and agro-socio-economic diversities in rural areas of Laos (1989-1990 and 1995-1998)
"Lao Mien Embroidery, Migration and Change" by Ann Yarwood Goldman, published by White Lotus Press 1995. ISBN 974-8496-41-4. A study of the Lao Mien from North-western Laos forced out of their villages to refugee camps in Laos and Thailand and then many resettled in the 1980s in the USA, Canada and France. This book looks particular at their embroidery and how it has changed as well as much being imported overseas from relatives in Thailand, Laos and China.
"Creative Pa Ndau: A New Approach to an Ancient Art Form" by Carla J. Hassel Wallace published by Homeslead in 1984 ISBN 0-87069-390-5. Features Pa ndau reverse-applique technique of the Hmong with step-by-step instructions with many diagrams and photos.
"The Yao: The Mien and Mun Yao in China, Vietnam, Laos and Thailand" by Jess G. Pourret published by River Books Co., Ltd, distributed outside Thailand and USA by Thames & Hudson 2002. ISBN 974-8225-52-6. Full of excellent photographs and a textile collectors' dream when it comes to identification showing very many textile examples both by themselves and being worn. Colour photos from the end of the twentieth century with black and white photos from the 1920s, 1940s and 1950s - unfortunately I have yet to find to background of the earlier (very excellent) photos. The material is not grouped by country but by topic illustrating similarities regardless of geography.
"H'mong Batik, A Textile Technique from Laos" by Jane Mallinson, Nancy Donnelly, Ly Hang published by Silkworm Books, Chiang Mai 1996. ISBN 974-7100-21-5. The batik of the Blue H'mong from Laos written around migrants to the USA. Describes both cultural background and technique.
"The Hmong, A Guide to Traditional Lifestyles" by Robert Cooper published by Times Editions Pte Ltd 1998. ISBN 981-204-803-0. Provides insight into Hmong history, the establishment of house and household, lineage and clan, village life, courtship and marriage customs, economy, music codes, crafts (very little on textiles), belief in the otherworld and communication with it, propitiating the spirits, shamanism and death rituals with accompanying photos and illustrations.
"The Akha: Guardians of the forest" by Jim Goodman published by Teak House, Asia Film House Pty Ltd in 1997. ISBN 1-876437-02-2. Information on the Akha, history, culture in Thailand, Burma, Laos, Vietnam and China. Full of excellent photographs with very many showing textiles being worn.
"Textiles and the Tai Experience in Southeast Asia" by Mattiebelle Gittinger, H Leedom Lefferts Jr published by The Textile Museum, Washington 1992. ISBN 0-87405-030-8. Catalogue from 1992 exhibition at the museum. Mainly black and white photos but 23 colour plates. Detailed chapters from the authors on Tai texile forms, contexts and meanings, textiles in the service of Buddhism, in the service of Kings and in the service of self. Main focus on the Tai as majority populations in Thailand and Laos but also references to the 'strategically situated minorities' in Vietnam and Myanmar and the small minorities in China, India and Cambodia.
"Textiles of Southeast Asia: Tradition, Trade and Transformation" by Robyn Maxwell published by Periplus Editions (HK) Ltd in 2003. ISBN 0-7946-0104-9. This is a reprinted edition of the book below with new colour plates, a corrected text, and a new foreword by Mattiebelle Gittinger. There is no doubt that the switch to colour of the majority of the plates makes a huge difference to this excellent major reference work.
"Textiles of Southeast Asia: Tradition, Trade and Transformation" by Robyn Maxwell published by Oxford University Press, Australian National Gallery in 1990 and reprinted in 1994 ISBN 967-65-3060 3. Major reference work on the textiles of Southeast Asia. Central focus is the interplay between indigenous Southeast Asian traditions and the external cultural forces that have had a crucial part of the historical development and changing nature of the region's textile traditions. Needs careful (but rewarding) study as textiles from particular groups or areas appear throughout the volume illustrating different themes.
"Textiles of Southeast Asia: An Annotated & Illustrated Bibliography" by Michael C. Howard published by White Lotus Press1994. ISBN 974-8496-13-9 In depth compilation of the literature in the field. Small number of colour plates of textiles including a few from Laos. Almost 50 pages of detailed references to literature on textiles in Thailand, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia.
"Handwoven Textiles of South-east Asia" by Sylvia Fraser-Lu published by Oxford University Press 1988. ISBN 0-19-588954-1. Covers weaving in Burma, Thailand, Laos, Kampuchea, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Philippines, Indonesia.
"The Art of Asian Costume" published by University of Hawaii Art Gallery University of Hawaii in 1989. Exhibition with apparel from 20 Asian countries from the Asian Costume Collection of the Department of Human Resources at the University of Hawaii
"Sacred Threads: Ceremonial Textiles of Southeast Asia" published by Textile Friends of Singapore ISBN 981-04-5230-6. Catalogue of an exhibition in 2002 in Singapore with 4 textiles from Laos.
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this page last updated 6 August, 2005