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The Characteristics and Patterns of Thai Hilltribe Fabric

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Thailand is a land of cultural and artistic diversity. Visitors to the country may have encountered the term “Thai hilltribes” before when traveling through rural areas or when buying traditional handicrafts. In actuality, “Thai hilltribes” are not a homogenous group, but consist rather of diverse groups of people who inhabit the country’s mountainous regions. Each group boasts its own culture, language, and way of life.


In the world of artistry and craftsmanship, Thai hilltribes are known internationally for their artistic creations, particularly their jewelry and textile. The beauty of Thai hilltribe hand-stitched or handwoven fabric comes from the hilltribe women’s artistic expertise, which has been passed down from generation to generation. Thai hilltribe handwoven fabric symbolizes the culture, traditions, and distinct characteristics of each tribe, as evident in the patterns and colors, as well as the stitching, sewing and decorating, using a variety of raw materials.  They reflect the respect and close relationship the communities have with their natural surrounding, allowing them to create magnificent works of art from natural resources and inspirations. The fabric also exudes harmonious blend of ancient and newly innovated patterns, reflecting the openness and creativity of the weaver. A close study of the patterns will help interested buyers identify which tribe the weaver belongs to.


“Characteristics and Patterns of Hilltribe Fabric” explores the textile traditions of 6 hilltribes, namely the Karen, Hmong, Yao, Akha, Lahu, and Lisu. The information in this book is a useful for those researching, buying, or collecting Thai hilltribe textiles. Readers will learn about the different patterns of each hilltribe group, as well as the techniques they use to create their works of art.



The Sustainable Arts and Crafts Institute of Thailand (SACIT) is a public organization that preserves, promotes, and supports the development of Thai arts and crafts.



The Thailand Foundation has been granted permission by The Sustainable Arts and Crafts Institute of Thailand (SACIT) to disseminate this book through our channels.

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