Thailand remains a country of weavers and wooden looms, artisans making traditional Thai Textiles – Treasures of a Kingdom by hand in a time honoured way despite the rise of mass produced, industrially manufactured materials and fashion.
Northern Hill Tribe Textiles
Chiang Mai offers an amazing insight into Thai textiles via the ethnic dress of the Northern Thai hill tribes. Each tribe, who migrated from the Himalayan foothills to Thailand, has a unique traditional textile tradition that is in contrast with one another as much as they complement.
Silver and gold thread embroidery, seed embroidery, applique and chain stitching of animal and insect motifs are popular adornments. Women of the six most prevalent tribes; Karen, Lisu, Meo, Lahu, Yao and Akha, all go to Chiang Mai markets to sell their hand-woven textiles.
Similarly, the art of Mo Hom has advanced in recent years to meet the desires of creative consumers looking for authentic artisan products. Mo Hom is cotton fabric manipulated into various patterns using the strength of the dye and time soaked in the solution, producing stunning shades of indigo across a spectrum from dark navy to sunlight blue.
Southern Region Textiles
The textiles of Southern Thailand exhibit characteristics and influences of those from Malaysia and or Indonesia’s island of Sumatra. Pha Yok is a rare cloth woven only in Nakhon Si Thammarat and Trang provinces. It is another type of fabric that was favoured in the past by royals and people of noble birth. It is like Songket (a Malaysian cloth) and requires high-skilled weavers and complicated techniques. Gold and silver thread woven into this kind of cloth creates its lustrous texture.
Hang Karok is a technique unique to the Southern Region that uses two-coloured twisted thread before woven. Centres of production include villages around Trang and in the Songkhla Lake area.
Northeast Mudmee Magic
The diversity of the ethnic people who settled in villages on the Khorat Plateau led to an abundance of different weaving styles, producing a vast array of silk and cotton textiles. Each is unique and beautiful on its own right as every Northeastern or Isan village will have its own signature style.
Mudmee silk is a staple of the Northeast region weaving industry and H.M. Queen Sirikit is very fond of this kind of silk. Though it can be woven from cotton yarn, Mudmee is regarded as the ‘Queen of Thai Silk’ because of the Thai Queen and the textile’s intricate patterns.
It is woven in almost all provinces in the Northeast region; such as, Khon Kaen, Nakhon Ratchasima, Roi Et, Surin, Buri Ram and Si Sa Ket.
Source: Tourusm Authority of Thailand
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