Textile Use in Ritual Amongst the Tai of the Border Areas of Northeast Laos and Vietnam

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Celebrating a 'baci' ceremony at Muang Giong in north-east Laos.

Textile Use in Ritual Amongst the Tai of the Border Areas of Northeast Laos and Vietnam

The Tai groups who live in the mountainous region of northeastern Laos and the adjoining areas of Vietnam weave with locally grown and processed silk and cotton. In addition to making clothing and cloth for household use, some groups make special highly-decorated pieces of cloth for use in religious and life-style ceremonies; it is these textiles and their use that are the subject of this talk.

Traditional Tai religious beliefs based on the existence of spirits, principally the spirits of ancestors, are widespread in the region; many rituals amongst both the Buddhist and non-Buddhist Tai revolve around these beliefs, and shamans remain active as intermediaries with the spirit world. Textiles used in these ceremonies often feature complex designs incorporating stylized animals in a variety of bright colours, and stand out from the normal run of tribal textiles found in the region.

Russell Howard trained as a geologist, but now works in the financial services industry. He has collected Lao textiles since 1988 and first visited Laos in 1993 after it opened to tourists. He has since returned to both Laos and the Vietnamese side of the border on a regular basis to trace the source of these textiles and learn their use.

How to Book: By email to Jillian Kennedy: taasabookings@gmail.com or phone Jillian Kennedy 02 9958 7378. Bookings and payment in advance essential. No refunds.

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Account Name: The Asian Arts Society of Australia

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3 July, 2017
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm AEST
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