Tag Archives: Issan

Travel Thailand… The Ancient Art of Weaving…Thai Silk…

The Ancient Art of weaving

Since moving from sunny Phuket to Northern Thailand, I am discovering a wealth of cultures. It is both fascinating and makes me in awe of what I am discovering. I am both surprised and delighted to see a lot of the ancient arts such as weaving are still being preserved and passed down through the generations.

Over the next few months, I will be bringing to you other ancient arts which are still being widely practised here in rural Thailand. It is really lovely to see age-old skills being passed down to the young and quite often you will see the very old their daughters and their children all playing their part in keeping these traditions going.

Weaving is one of Northern Thailand’s oldest and precious arts:

The skill which is learnt from a very young age at their mother’s knee.

There are many designs woven into the cloth, flowers, birds, animals, simple geometry and some of the most intricate flowing water designs which are for the very experienced weavers.

The cloth when it is made is fashioned into many things, beautiful bags, traditional Thai wrap around skirts, jackets and wall hangings to name but a few.

The silk-making process from beginning to end:

This video shows a silk village in Thailand and how the silk made from start to finish.

The weavers originally migrated from the Sipsong Panna region in Southern China where the practice of breeding silkworms goes back at least 5,000 years.

In Northern Thailand, they are known as the Lue people.

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Devoted Buddhists who live a simple life and always have a ready smile for strangers like me. As you drive around the small country roads you will still see many of the looms underneath the wooden stilted Thai family homes where mum and the old nan still weave beautiful fabric to make a living.

My pictures show one such woman who very kindly allowed us to take pictures of her weaving under her home.

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The looms handmade of bamboo wood and once known as the universal loom in Southeast, Asia is now called the Lao hand-loom from North Eastern Thailand the area is also known by locals as Esarn, Isaan or maybe something completely different so many different spellings and no one seems to know the correct one.

As we say TIT( This is Thailand)

Did you know ??? The very famous Lao, Thai Khmer silks were woven on the very same looms for many centuries.

Where does the silk thread come from?

The silkworm.

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What is the silken thread made from?

It is made from the threads that the larvae of the mulberry silkworm Bombyx mori. The process is known as sericulture the silkworm feeds on white mulberry leaves although they will eat other species of mulberry and have also been known to feed on Osage orange leaves.

Jim Thompson is a name which is synonymous with the production of silk production in Thailand and very highly sought after. On the Jim Thompson Farm in Nakhon Ratchasima, visitors can see the entire silk-making process. However, the farm is only open for a few weeks during the cold season. If you are ever travelling around Northern Thailand then I hope you get the opportunity to see the traditional art of weaving and silk making for yourself.

I hope you enjoyed this article on the Thai tradition of weaving those beautiful silks if you did I am happy for you to share with your friends and if you do …Thank you 🙂

 

 

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Wat Baan Waeng or Heaven and Hell.

50 km’s north of Udon Thani where we now live is Wat Baan Waeng or Pho Chai Sri as it is also known.

It is home to larger than life statues and sculptures which depict the heaven and hell side of Buddhism. So in other words if you stray from the path of the five precepts of Buddhism then “Hell” is what awaits you.

It shows the fate or karma of these individuals and the gory fates that await them for their sins.

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Initially when we pulled into the temple we were met with the scene of monks sitting, children playing and stalls selling trinkets, spiritual items and a well. The water level of which is always very high so if you do want to peer down into the blackness then first remove your shoes before you step onto the plinth. The well according to local folktales just appeared!

Such tranquility that we  thought we had chanced upon the wrong temple(wat).

But no, if you follow the path lined with Buddhas statues you will be led through beautiful gardens, music playing, good food and drink everything that heaven is meant to be.

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Happy smiles and music playing.

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All plaques and writing are in Thai so it will enhance your visit if you have someone with you who can read Thai.

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The tree of life depicting the man or king at the top surrounded by ladies. Showing as flowers hanging from the tree of life.

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Do not be fooled!

You are now entering hell.

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You will then come upon statues showing the horrific torture that you would suffer if you went to hell. Depending on your sin your punishment would fit the crime. A liar would have his tongue removed and a thief his hands.

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Forced to climb the thorny tree or be eaten by the waiting dogs. It looks like he wasn’t quite quick enough.

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A liar…Off with your tongue!

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Boiling liquid!

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Cruelty to animals will not be tolerated.

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Karma reigns!  What goes around comes around as the saying goes.

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A fruitless gesture, begging for mercy I don’t think any mercy was going to be granted here.

I hope you enjoyed this trip through heaven and hell, it will be on my to visit again list as there is a temple being built in the middle of the lake there which promises to be a lovely tranquil place to sit and read or write.

I hope you enjoy!