Reflecting a People’s Tradition and Change
PART II – Lao Traditional Textiles
The production of woven and embroidered textiles is without doubt the most pro- lific of all traditional crafts in Laos. Almost all regions of the country are suitable for the farming of cotton and mulberry trees, which are often planted on co- operative land with a view to providing raw materials for the wider community. Produced in many different styles and dyed in a range of colours according to the geographical origin and ethnicity of the weavers, silk, cotton and hemp cloth is hand-woven on wooden frame looms, and weaving techniques are handed down from one generation to the next. In recent years, many provincial weaving fami- lies have come to Vientiane for employment and are now part of new and modern style textile weavers that include both regional and international designs. Traditional textiles all over the world develop from particular materials grown in the area, which, using specific techniques, essentially serve the purpose to protect the body from cold and heat in form of wrappings and clothes. Combined with habitual customs, social values and the influence of climate and lifestyle, a com- munity’s textiles develop distinctive traditional characteristics that mark a sense of identity and belonging. In many places young girls have spent a major part of their youth with weaving, stitching, or sewing their dowry for the day they begin a new life in their own home as a married woman. Devoted mothers embroider for their children carriers and caps with sparkling adornments; they weave shawls for their...
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