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December 23, 2011

Textile Collection: Visit to Tai Yuan Weavers in Ratchaburi

Dr. Linda S. McIntosh, consulting curator of the Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection, will lead a study trip to Ratchaburi Province on January 15, 2012. The excursion will provide participants with an opportunity to learn more about Tai Yuan textiles of Central Thailand by visiting a museum and weaving centers.

Located 100 kilometers west of Bangkok, Ratchaburi Province is home to several ethnic groups that continue to produce hand-woven textiles. The Tai Yuan is one of the groups preserving cultural heritage by weaving traditional forms originating from northern Thailand while creating distinctive styles to symbolize their geographic locale. The ancestors of the Tai Yuan residing in central Thailand were from the former polity of Chiang Saen in present-day Chiang Rai Province. In the first decade of the 19th century, the citizens of Chiang Saen and surrounding areas were resettled in other parts of the kingdom, including Ratchaburi. This region was under the control of the Burmese kingdom for two centuries prior. In the late 18th century, Taksin and his general, who later became Rama I, rid the region from Burmese suzerainty. To prevent the return of Burmese control, the region was depleted of its citizens, and Chiang Saen was razed.

One of the main ethnic groups populating Chiang Saen (Muang Ngoen Yang) was the Tai Yuan. (The city was the first recognized polity of the Tai Yuan.) Many soldiers cooperated with the armies of Siam, and their families were brought to central Thailand to settle in areas near Bangkok. Tai Yuan women continued to weave traditional textiles in their new homes, and, over time, weavers began to create distinctive styles representing their village locale. Today, several styles exist in Ratchburi and include Khu Bua and Daun Rae styles. On this one-day excursion, the group will visit weaving centers in Khu Bua and Daun Rae and a private museum devoted to the textile heritage of Ratchaburi.  

The fee of THB 2000 covers, transportation, lunch, tips, and contributions to the museum, weaving centers, and weavers. The leader, Dr. Linda S. McIntosh, and the tour agency, CDM, reserve the right to change the schedule or postpone the outing as required. For more information or join the tour, please email: [email protected].