11-18 August 2011, Hall of Fame, Siam Paragon, Bangkok, Thailand

Past in the Present
In 2009 and 2010, museum staff traveled to villages all over Thailand where traditional textiles are still woven. 
Past in the Present
For many years, Her Majesty the Queen visited these same villages in an effort to preserve Thailand’s textile traditions and improve villagers’ lives. She encouraged rural weavers to continue to make these distinctive textiles while introducing new colors and other changes to adapt them to modern tastes, and marketing them through Her SUPPORT Foundation 
Past in the Present
As a result, Thailand’s textile artisans now enjoy a better standard of living, and have kept their textile traditions alive.
Ban Nakhoon : Mat Mii
Na Wa district, Nakhon Phanom province, northeastern Thailand.

Her Majesty directed Her staff to develop SUPPORT's infrastructure after visiting Na Wa with H.M. The King in 1972, after a devastating flood there.

During the visit, pictured here, Her Majesty was struck by the beauty of the villagers' handwoven wrapped skirts (phaa sin) made of traditionnal silk ikat (mat mii) and concluded that guiding and supporting the development of an outside market for the fabric would help the area's long-term economic recovery and stability. The first SUPPORT centre opened in Na Wa in 1974 and is still active today.

Khao Tao: Cotton
Hua Hin district, Prajuab Kirikhan province, central Thailand. In 1963, H.M. Queen Sirikit's longstanding interest in textiles led to Her first craft initiative-a cotton-weaving project in Khao Tao intended to provide additional means of Support to the farming families there. The Historic picture shows His Mjesty the King awarding gold medals to Khao Tao weavers in honor of their hard work. Cotton cloth is still produced in Khao Tao and those who received the medals cherish them to this day.
Na pho: Mat Mii
Na Pho: Mat mii Na Pho district, Buriram province, northeastern Thailand.

Na Pho: Mat Mii
Weavers in Na pho joined SUPPORT in 1976 and led by Mrs.Prachuab Channual and her family, it became an important site of silk ikat (mat mii) production.

Along among SUPPORT centres, Na Pho grows its own mulberry trees and its own silkworms as well as processing the cocoons, spinning, bleaching, and dyeing the thread, and weaving the fabric.

Northern Thailand: Minority Textiles
Northern Thailand

In the 1970s, H.M. the King, long a promoter of agricultural developement, tried to wean tribal groups in the north of Thailand from their economic reliance on opium cultivation by substituting other crops.

At the same time, Her Majesty encourageed their traditional cotton-weaving and embroidery by providing outside markets for their textiles through the SUPPORT Foundation.

The modern photographes show Karen, Yao, and Lisu weavers and embroiderers at work

The modern photographes show Karen, Yao, and Lisu weavers and embroiderers at work.

Ban Phon: Phrae Waa
Kham Muang district, Kalasin province, northeastern Thailand.

H.M. Queen Sirikit was enchanted with with the phrae waa-distinctive silk brocade shoulder cloths- Phu Tai villagers wore when Their Majesties visited this ethnic group in Ban Phon in 1977.

Learning that phrae waa was disappering and wishing to preserve it. , She established a SUPPORT Foundation weaving group, shown meeting with Her Majesty in the historic photograph.

The success of this effort is evident in the 2010 photographs, which show modern "phrae waa" on the loom and Phu Tai villagers of all ages still proudly wearing it.

Ban Khu Bua: Chok
Meung district, Ratchaburi province, central Thailand. 

Chok, a densely patterned cotton or silk brocade often used as a skirt ( phaa sin) border, is associated with Tai Yuan people of northern Thailand; it migrated south to Ratchaburi in the 19th century.

Mrs.Thong Yoo, daughter of master chok weaver Mrs.Son Gumlangharn, was pictured here at her loom in 2010.

(Chok came to SUPPORT's attention in the late 1970s.)

Ban Nong Or: Khit
Non Wua Sor district, Udon Thani province northeastern Thailand.

Khit, a narrow cotton brocade from Nong Or traditionally used as a pillow cover was, with Her Majesty's guidance, transformed by SUPPORT weavers into a luxurious silk fress fabric.

New colors, patterns, and wider cloth were amoung the changes Her Majesty masterminded. She became so fond of one of the new versions- pictured here on the loom-that the villagers named it The Queen's Pattern (Somdej khit).

Neun Thammang: Phaa Yok
Chian Yai district, Nakhon Si Thammarat Province, southern Thailand.

Neun Thammang, on the Gulf of Thailand, often suffers from floods and the economic distress they bring.

To help, Her Majesty established a SUPPORT centre here in 19th century. which revived the gold brocade (phaa yok) weaving the province was famous for in the 19th century.

Historic textiles were used as prototypes for the modern versions. They are among the most labor-intensive of SUPPORT textiles, often requiring four or five weavers to operate each loom.

Credits: Story

The photographs in Past in the Present were taken by Thai photographer Mr. Anak Navaraj and allowed visitors a glimpse of what the museum staff saw during their visits—the villagers’ calm dignity, their absorption in their craft, and their deep contentment and gratitude towards Their Majesties.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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