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Handwoven Fabrics

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In the past, weaving was a most important skill for Thai women. Plain designs were for daily use, while those woven for rituals or ceremonies were elaborate. In the north, cotton was woven by the Tai Yuan and Tai Leu, and silk was woven by the Lao. Thus silk usually had to be imported some distance and only high ranking families could afford it. Nowadays silk production is well established in the valley.

Women can demonstrate their weaving skills on the tube skirt, known as pha sin. In the north the main parts of everyday pha sin are patterned with horizontal stripes and have separate waistbands and hem pieces sown on.

Ritual pha sin have much more detailed decoration and vary according to group.

Geography and ethnic origin determined the style because the women weavers stayed close to their place of birth. Young women produced the most complex pieces to show their skills to potential husbands.

In the Chiang Mai valley, the favored colors are red, green and yellow, with red and black being used in the waistband and hem pieces. The decoration is put in the hem piece in a style of weaving known as tin chok which creates b diamond shaped patterns.

Last Updated: 01 Oct 2007