Lao Song-Tai Dam Woman’s Tunic
This rare old tunic is especially unusual because both inside and outside were used: the dark, undecorated inside was worn for ceremonial use, along with a skirt; the decorated outside was only intended to be exposed for use on the owner’s coffin. This example is made of fine handspun cotton dyed in very dark indigo as the background; small geometric pieces of silk, along with mirrors, have been appliqued to form a lively design on the front, collar and lower hem. Embellished more than any other we’ve seen, the sleeves are extended with fine cotton in dark indigo. Condition is excellent, with no holes. We rarely see these, and never in such perfect condition- it really is museum-quality. The Lao Song people are mostly members of the Tai Dam ethnic group and are unusual because, tho they were forcibly relocated from Laos to several central Thai provinces, they have preserved their language, traditional dress and culture. Originally animistic, most have converted to Theravada Buddhism, but still adhere to elements of their previous beliefs. (Please see p.78 in Textiles and the Tai Experience in Southeast Asia.)
Size: 37.5 in. h x 49 in. across sleeves x 34.5 in. across bottom.