Laos is famous for weaving, many women will have a loom and be trained in weaving skills. Traditionally they will weave cloth for their dowry. Luang Prabhang is a famous weaving centre in the middle of Laos and it was to Luang Prabhang that we went to search for old and new weavings.
Follow the links on this page to see more about wallhangings from Laos.
We spent time with different weavers around Luang Prabhang and met the wonderful people at Op Pop Tok. It was there that we commissioned the beautiful Flame Red and Indigo silk duvet covers shown above, all handwoven and dyed with local vegetable dyes.
Laos is a Buddhist country and most families will weave a new prayer flag like the one in the photo, Pha Tung, for the New Year festivals. Although many women in Laos have a loom, some families will commission a Pha Tung from a specialist weaver. This is a true cottage industry with almost all the activities from feeding the silkworms (on mulberry leaves), harvesting and spinning the silk, dyeing (using vegetable dyes made from local plants, leaves and roots) taking place in the garden.
Women usually weave fabric for clothes and bedding for their dowry and good weaving skills are highly regarded. Most of the Pha Tung that we collected are woven by named weavers whose photos are on the labels.
Some of the geometric patterns are highly stylised but contain images such as Nagas - mythical water snakes seen throughout Lao culture, bringers of good fortune.