Tai, a Woven Culture
Tai, a Woven culture is an art book about the Tai culture, the ethnic background of over 80% of the inhabitants of Thailand. What unites all Tai people since the last migration in 1300 is their remarkable and unique weaving culture. At the heart of it is the yellow silk whose thick smooth fiber is processed manually.
The book is based on the unique Tai textile collection of Mrs Napajaree Suanduenchai from Bangkok. For more than 20 years, Mrs Suanduenchai and Mr Roels have travelled in Thailand and in neighbouring countries to look for the people who made these textiles. They photographed and documented the Tai subgroups that still maintained their weaving arts. They also came across ethnic minority groups who are not Tai. As for people living in the mountainous regions between the Tai valleys, some generations existed here long before the Tai migration. Also, these people were willing to share their own unique and fascinating cultures – and of course their distinctive textiles. The authors included their weaving arts in the book as well. Detailed photos showing the complexity of the Tai weaving arts alternate with portraits of the people behind the textiles and with landscapes showing their environment. As we know, the Tai weaving arts are dying out because the young generation no longer wants to devote themselves to it. More than 70% of the people in this book no longer weave. With this book (www.taiawovenculture.com), the authors aim to spread the story of the Tai and the ethnic minorities around the world. Tai, a Woven culture is a large-sized hardcover art book with 348 pages, printed on 3,000 copies. The book is published in English by River Books, Bangkok and distributed worldwide. In this lecture, the authors will dig deep into approaching the essence of the Tai. They will go into the cultural particularities of this specific region and reflect on the place of the Tai traditions in modern society.
About the speaker
Mr Hans Roels is a passionate photographer from Brussels, who combines creativity and craftsmanship in his prolific artwork. Always keen on exploring new cultures both in Belgium and in all parts of the world, he has been involved in various cultural and commissioned projects resulting in dazzlingly beautiful and powerful images, exhibitions and books. He is particularly interested in making group photos, in which according to his own words ‘everyone counts and is made visible’ (www.hansroels.com).
Mrs Napajaree Suanduenchai (Nim) is a textile collector from Bangkok. Coming from a family that has been trading in Tai textiles for generations, she followed in her mother’s footsteps and ran Prayer Textile Gallery in Bangkok. She also founded the ‘Tai Textile Collectors Circle’ and is one of the founders of the ‘Thai Textile Society’ in Bangkok.
Members and Students — Free of charge
Non-Members — THB 200
*The admission fee for the Thai Textile Society members who are The Siam Society members is free but those who aren’t will be charged as non-members*