From the Tai Lue people in Muang Lai Chau in northwest Vietnam, near the Chinese Yunnan border, these textiles have been recently collected in large quantities by runners who covered this previously remote region. From these inventories we have had the opportunity to select the very best pieces for our collection. We have even found a nicely detailed old jacket to complete a costume.
Typical of Tai Lue textiles, these tubeskirts have two side seams; they are woven with the main design in the weft, and then cut and seamed so that when worn it is oriented horizontally, as woven. (Most other tubeskirts from this region are formed using one seam, along the ends of a length of woven cloth, and with the pattern in the weft appearing vertically when worn.)
Comprising two panels, the top has a portion of dark red, striped cotton, followed by a wide band of masterful supplementary weft weaving rich in traditional Tai motifs most often seen in textiles from Laos. (These people migrated from Laos and China.) The lower panels are typically dark indigo, or black, cotton and are usually embellished with applied bands of commercial fabric, as well as finely woven cotton ribbon. We’re not sure of the age of these pieces, as the top panels appear to be relatively recent, but the commercial cloth on the lower panels appears to be older; based on dates given in the second book below, perhaps they are from 20-30 years ago.
For more information please see:
Lan Na Textiles: Yuan Lue Lao by Soangsak Prangwatanakun and Patricia Naenna; 1996
Cultural Heritage of Tai Lue Textiles by Soangsak Prangwatanakun; 2008
Textiles of the Daic Peoples of Vietnam by Michael C. & Kim Be Howard; 2002