In the Northeastern part of Thailand or Isan, people in the lowlands sustain their life through farming. After finishing their work, while waiting for the crops to grow, people pass their free time by raising silkworms, growing mulberry trees, and weaving silk threads into beautiful cloth. The simplicity of this way of life has been passed down for many generations. As time passed, this work became the main job that has generated income for many families. Local silk weaving has turned into SMEs that are well-known by the prominent patterns that are carefully designed by the weavers through each thread of silk, showing the delicacy of the Isan textiles.
The local silk industry at Ban Tha Sawang, Surin province, is also one of those Isan textiles in which the villagers have gained world recognition by enhancing their skills and quality of their local arts to the level of a royal gold brocade or Pha Yok Thong. Supported by Her Majesty Queen Sirikit in 2003, in collaboration with Achan Weeratham Taragoonngernthai, this high-class silk weaving, which was once widely used in the Thai royal court, has been brought back to life and acknowledged at the global level.
Until the royal cremation for the late King Bhumibol in 2017, Tha Sawang’s gold brocade has brought the highest honour to these people again when their arts was used for the funeral mask dance’s costume or Khon Na Fai. From the local weaving to the royal textiles, this journey of development has generated jobs and revenue for the people of Tha Sawang and also raised the quality of their life.
This ‘Weaving of Life’ short documentary is part of TAT Newsroom’s seven-part travel documentary series, titled ‘Insight Thainess’, to promote Thai values through the country’s unique way of life.