Na Muen Si Textile
The pha to na muen si is a kind of textile made in the South of Thailand. It is hand woven, using a special weaving technique called kep tako, yok tako, or yok khao all of which means “heald lifting” or “heddle lifting.” The heald shafts are lifted to allow the insertion of extra wefts to create various motifs. The technique is similar to the khit method used by weavers in the Northeastern region of the country. In the South, any material woven by hand using the heald-lifting technique is called yok cloth. The main group of weavers using this technique live in the Na Muen Si Village, Na Yong District, Trang Province.
The original na muen si cloth falls into three categories.
1. Pha khao ma (a piece of cloth used by men as a loincloth, sash, or towel) with the rachawat motif in the middle. Stripes of different colours are woven into the areas at both ends of the cloth.
2. Pha phat ba (a shoulder scarf), is woven with the lifted heald technique to create various motifs all over the cloth: kaeo ching duang (overlapping floral), klip bua (lotus petals), ta maeo (cat’s eyes), and nok (birds) motifs.
3. Pha phan chang (a coffin cloth) is a long piece of hand woven material prepared by a weaver for his or her own funeral. The cloth will be laid out on top of the coffin with one end stretched out and rested on the footed tray holding the consecrated cotton threads. Thai scripts are used as decorative motifs that eulogises of the deceased for his or her devotion to Buddhism. After the ceremony, the coffin cloth is cut into pieces and distributed as keepsake among the children and grandchildren.
Certain motifs on the na muen si cloth point to the cultural links with the royal court of Siam and the sea trade routes; however, antique pieces are found to feature an folk colour scheme that is unique to the local communities.