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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2007 8:38 am 

Joined: Mon Jun 30, 2003 6:34 pm
Posts: 393
Location: Chiang Mai, Thailand
A recent viewing of an incredible, local collection brought up the point that there are so many variables in identifying textiles, and that names are not always what we assume. In this case, the collection was mostly 'phaa sin', or tubeskirts, by the people known as 'Lao Khrang'. However, Patricia Cheesman (and I have been told this by Michael Howard as well) told us that actually the people are from Laos and are 'Tai Khang'. It seems that in the 19th century they were captured by the Siamese, resettled in Thailand, and called themselves 'Lao Khang' or 'Tai Khang' after their original home in the district of Muang Khang. The Thais altered it to 'Lao Khrang' because of their prevalent use of bright red hembands, with 'khrang' being the Thai word for the natural source of the red color, ie lac.

It's also interesting to note that their tubeskirts are made with two side seams, unlike most, which are oriented with the weft worn in a vertical direction and with one seam (from the two ends being stitched together to form the tube). The Tai Lue are the only other group that come to mind for using this particular orientation. It means that the pattern in the main body of the skirt appears horizontal in the finished skirt (first and second photos). In these examples, the pattern is achieved using the technique known as 'chok', or discontinuous supplementary weft, and the technique of 'khit', or continuous supplementary weft (one color usually). The exception to the two seams is if the skirt body is weft ikat ('mut mee'), as is the example in the third photo.

I just thought it interesting that even the best efforts to seek attribution are often thwarted by the vagaries of history and language.

Happy Holidaze All!

Mail-Lao-Khrang-Tai-Khang.jpg [ 65.45 KiB | Viewed 3798 times ]
Mail-TAT238_Side_1.jpg [ 60.4 KiB | Viewed 3798 times ]
Mail-Lao-KhrangTAL161_Side_.jpg [ 59 KiB | Viewed 3798 times ]

Susan Stem
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