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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 5:17 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 5:45 pm
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Location: Washington State
I am preparing to return to Northen Laos in December 0f 2005 and want to do some research on some textiles I got up there in 2003. As far as I can determine from what I have read and experienced first hand, these cloths are used as "sheets" as well as blankets. I have enclosed a photo of one of a set of weavings I purchased at The Boat Landing in Luang Nam Tha. I also have a single piece that served as my own mattress cover when we stayed in our boatman's village on the way up the Nam Tha river. All of our party of six had similar weavings covering our mattresses and the family was willing to sell me the one I used. Some had geometric designs like the one in the photo and some had bands of figures at the top and bottom. I would like more information on these before I go and I hope to gather more when I am there. I have Mary Connors book as well as the Textile Journal article, Patricia Cheesman's book and the Gittinger-Lefferts book. Can anyone supply me with more sources?


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 05, 2005 6:02 pm 
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Joined: Sun Jun 29, 2003 1:42 pm
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Location: Canterbury, UK
Shelley

I have had a look in some of my books but they don't say much more than you already know. There is 'Thai Textiles' by Susan Conway. She has a chapter on Ceremonial and Household Textiles. Pages 125-128 are on the household textiles with a bit on 'Bed sheets' and another on 'Blankets'.
Quote:

"Bed sheets
When the mattress is laid out for the night it is covered with a bed sheet, called a pha lop. Bedsheets are woven in plain-weave cotton with a decorative suplementary-weft pattern, either in a border or extending throughout the length. They are woven in two bands, sewn together at the selvage. When a girl marries, a decorated sheet containing supplementary-weft patterns with multicoloured yarns in the borders is woven for the marriage bed. There is evidence in the mural paintings that members of the royal family slept on patterned sheets edged with gold thread.

Blankets
Thailand has a tropical climate and at night, in most parts of the coutnry, only a lightweight cotton blanket, called a pha hom, is required to keep warm. However, in the highlands, during the cool season, the temperature can drop to freezing-point and then a thicker blanket is needed to keep warm during the day and at night. Regular lightweight blankets are woven in two lengths and sewn together along the selvage; they are made to cover a Thai-style mattress with an overlap. For the cool season the blanket is woven double the nromal length and folded to give two layers, or an extra cotton lining is added to the regular lightweight blanket. Blankets are woven in plain- or float-weave patterns in plaids and stripes. Some have supplementary-weft patterns in geometric designs, woven in red, black or blue cotton. Traditionally the cotton was home-grown and hand-spun; indigo plants, shellac and ebon berries were used to make the dyes. In recent years these have been replaced by aniline dyes, and the cotton yarn is purchased in skeins from local village markets. However, in some regions in north-east Thailand and Nan province, north Thailand, some women continue to make blankets using hand-spun, indigenous cotton."

I think that it would be very similar in Laos to Susan Conway's description for Thailand above.

There is one (b&w) photo of an ordinary bed sheet but it focuses on the supplementary weft at one end. The caption says:
Quote:
"Detail of a cotton bed-sheet, Nan province. Plain-weave cottong for two-thirds of the length, then decorated with a red cotton supplementary-weft of hooks, diamonds and floral patterns and a freize of black cotton horses."

The other photos of sheets are details of the multicoloured supplementary-weft on two bridal 2 bed sheets. Both have a plain cotton warp and weft with supplementary weft in various colours and a range of motifs.

The blankets are quite different with all over designs. I think that the example that you show is a sheet rather than a blanket.

If I come across anything else which gives more info I will let you know.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 12:27 am 
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Joined: Thu Feb 05, 2004 12:27 am
Posts: 124
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Shelley- Any chance you could put up a closeup of the supplimental weft portion. Thanks,

Bill Hornaday


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 Post subject: more photos
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2005 3:49 pm 
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Joined: Thu Dec 18, 2003 5:45 pm
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Location: Washington State
Bill
I will try to get a closer photo of the curtain as well as post a photo of the other piece that I bought in the village.

Shelley Muzzy


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