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Siho and Naga – Lao Textiles

Reflecting a People’s Tradition and Change

Edeltraud Tagwerker

Siho and Naga are the most powerful mythological figures in Lao tradition manifested in their textiles. This book focuses on the history and culture of the creators of exquisitely hand woven fabrics that have attracted textile connoisseurs all over the world. The study leads not only to rare weaving techniques, patterns and natural dyes, but also to a vast ethnic diversity of people who used to live self sufficiently of their natural environment in rural areas or under royal patronage in ancient cities. Textiles have always been an integral part of the social and spiritual life of Lao people who now, after a devastating war, are challenged to come to terms with tourism, cash, and global market strategies. Siho and Naga shall raise awareness for urgent educational reform countrywide and encourage local and international preservers of Lao culture to continue their efforts to the benefit of Lao’s young generation, who eventually will grasp the value of their own textiles in order to set them against cheap imports.

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P 1: MAP OF LAOS ........................................................................................................................... 13 P 2: PRINCIPAL ETHNIC GROUPS OF LAOS ........................................................................................ 14 P 3: THE YOUNG LAO GENERATION IN VILLAGE SCHOOLS. .............................................................. 33 P 4: KMHMU’ VILLAGE WITH TABOO SIGN IN XIENG KHOUANG PROVINCE; KMHMU’ WITH TRADITIONAL COSTUMES AND BAMBOO PIPES AT THE NEW YEAR’S PROCESSION............................ 44 P 5: THE HMONG AT HOME IN THEIR MOUNTAIN VILLAGE; A HMONG TEXTILE SHOP; HMONG DRESSED UP FOR THE NEW YEAR’S PROCESSION IN LOUANG PRABANG IN 2007. ............... 48 P 6: MAP OF HANI/AKHA REGION.................................................................................................... 50 P 7: AKHA OR KO PEOPLE FROM PHONGSALI IN 2007 (PHOTOS FROM BERNARD AUBERT) .............. 51 P 8: LAO WEAVERS IN CAROL CASSIDY’S STUDIO WEAVING EXQUISITE IKAT PATTERNS, TAPESTRY TEXTILES, AND SILK BROCADES. ..................................................................................... 59 P 9: THE NANTHAVONGDOUANGSY SISTERS IN THEIR SHOWROOM, LAO WOMEN AT THE LOOM IN THEIR FACTORY, SOME OF THEIR TRADITIONAL AND MODERN SILK PRODUCTS............................ 61 P 10: MAICOME GALLERY - JANCOME IN HER FACTORY IN BAN SOKPALUANG, IN VIENTIANE. ....... 62 P 11: TAI DAENG CEREMONIAL SKIRT OF HOUAPHAN FROM LAO TEXTILE MUSEUM ...................... 67 P 12: LAO WOMEN OF ALL AGES WEARING THEIR SINH FOR WORK, TEMPLE, AND FESTIVITIES......... 68 P 13: THE WHITE TIIN TAM NAE’ HEM PIECE FOR SCHOOL UNIFORMS. .............................................. 69 P 14: TRADITIONAL HMONG SKIRTS AND IMPORTED SYNTHETIC PLISSÉ IN LOUANG PRABANG. PHOTOS FROM ORIGINAL SKIRTS ARE FROM © PAMELA A CROSS.................................................... 71 P 15: LAO GARMENTS, COSTUMES OF PU NHEU AND NHA NHEU OF LOUANG PRABANG.................. 74 P 16: BOUAVANH PHOUMINH SHOWS MANUSCRIPTS STORED IN MANUSCRIPT WRAPPING CLOTH. . 81 P 17: SILK...

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