Tai Lue/Tai Lao Ceremonial Mat
This fine old textile is probably from the Tai Lue in Thailand or Tai Lao in Laos. It is a small version of a ‘phaa laep’ or sleeping cloth- probably what is called a ‘phaa lo’ and made for use in a wedding ceremony. Small pompoms on one end suggest that it may have been hung vertically as a decoration. The indigo and red colors of the supplementary weft designs in the body appear to be derived from natural sources and the cotton threads are handspun; the red outer border is fine commercial cotton. White silk is used as warp and weft in the foundation, except in the solid white bands at the top and bottom where a textured weft is made with thick cotton; additional subtle weft accents are in orange and white silk. These fine details evidence the care and skill of the weaver. Probably from the early-mid 20th century, it is in very good condition, with no holes; fading is evident when the front and back are compared (see Detail 3 showing the front on left and back folded over, on the right), but not surprising in a piece of this vintage. This is a beautiful older piece and rarely found these days. (Cultural Heritage of Tai Lue Textiles by Soangsak Prangwatanakun, p.138 talks about ‘pha lo’.)
Size: 19.25 in. x 44.75 in.