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Mon 27 Mar 2017
Thai Silk Weaving
Written by Wadee Kheourai   
Friday, 09 February 2007 02:04

Thailand's shimmering hand - woven silk is among its most famous products.

Silk manufacture is an ancient craft but until recently it was never a major item of trade for production was too limited in older times. This was always the labour of village women who spun, dyed and wove the fabrics only when their work in field and home allowed time. Nor was silk for everyday wear being reserved for such festive occasions as marriages and other important ceremonies.

Nowadays there are factories making Thai silk on a larger scale, but the finest qualities are still produced on hand looms in villages where old skill are lovingly passed from one generation to the next. Most regions of Thailand have their own typical silks which are especially prized. Of all these the "Mud - Mee" tie - dyed design and "Phumriang" brocades are considered outstanding.

Phumriang is a village in Surat Thani province where an old lady named Mrs. Riam Wanmukda was renowned for exquisite weaving. Originally only plant dyes were used, distilled from roots, bark and leaves, but today chemical dyes are preferred for their brighter colours. Modern designs have also joined the traditional pattern. Particular to Phumriang is the use of gold threads in the complex designs. The result is a rich brocade that is more than a handicraft, it is truly a treasure.

Besides plain and printed silks, a number of special weaves have become celebrated. One of these is called "mudmee", a specialty of the northeast. Mudmee is produced by a tie - dye process: the silk thread is wound around two poles whose length equals the width of the cloth, after which it is tied (mud) at various places according to the design. The thread is then dyed and spun on a shuttle. Other kind of Northeastern textiles include tin chok and Phrae Wa cloth.

Information from Thai Studies by Assist. Prof. Wadee Kheourai
Pictures by: Gor Daoruang