Praewa textile fabric: the queen of Thai textiles
The Basics: What is Praewa Silk?
Praewa silk is one kind of Thai silk textile fabric that has a specific meaning as the scarf which the Isaan people, the people who live in northeastern Thailand use to cover their shoulders on special occasions such as festivals, traditions, or religious ceremonies
Praewa silk is originally woven by women of the Phu Thai who migrated from Vietnam to Kalasin, the province in northeast Thailand about 200 years ago. In ancient, the Phu Thai only wove this kind of silk for women’s scarves or for men’s sashes around the waist. The originally woven color of Praewa is bright red. The weaving technique expertise was transferred from generation to generation.
In fact, “Praewa” is a compound wording from the Thai language. It comes from two clauses as follows:
- The first wording is “Prae” which means a piece of fabric that is not made into a dress. It means only for the fabric in material piece form.
- The second wording is “Wa” which refers to a kind of Thai traditional measurement. A “Wa” is 1 arm long or approximately 2 meters in length
Therefore, almost textile fabric stores in the Bangkok of Thailand usually sell 1 arm’s length per piece of Praewa. That attracts many travelers who are craft lovers for their unique appearance decoration.
Issan people, the northeastern people of Thailand, utilized the Praewa woven fabric. They call the fabric which has many Wa a “Hook” which refers to a traditional Thai measurement too. The length of each Hook is up to the main thread.
After the completed weaving, the weaver will cut this fabric into pieces. Isaan people use this fabric for various special occasions as a blanket, or a Sa-Bai, for wrapping them over the left shoulder. This is 1 Wa length size per piece, thus it is called “Praewa fabric”
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A Specific technique for Praewa textile fabric
Traditional artisans usually weave Praewa fabric manually by loom. There are various patterns between Khid and Jok technique in one piece which make its feature outstanding.
The meaning of Khid and Jok from Thai textile organization describes as follows:
- The Khid is a continuous supplementary weft yarns technique. It is lifting the warp yarns by hand or with a wooden stick to accommodate the special weft pattern. Khid is an heirloom technique from the Phu Thai people. This is a common technique used in the Northeastern, North, and Central Regions of Thailand.
- The Jok discontinuous supplementary weft yarns technique makes disconnected blocks of motifs created by lifting sections of thread using hands, sticks, or porcupine needles to create colorful patterns. This technique is one that has also been passed down through generations of the Phu Thai peoples in Isaan. It is known locally as “Pha Sinh Teen Jok”
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Produce Process of Praewa
The produce-processing steps of Praewa start from raising silkworms to attract their filaments, spinning their fiber to being threads, dying color, bleaching color, twisting the threads, enamel, etc. After finishing all these steps, we will get silk threads ready for weaving, then the local artisan will manually weave it in the loom to become fabrics the width and length are different depending on the utilization proposed requirement.
The art behind Thai textile fabric is various patterns up to personal techniques of Thai local artisans. Like the Praewa origin from the northeast of Thailand, created by the Khid and Jok technique, the combination of both continuous and discontinuous supplementary weft. This Praewa silk is famous to wear in special ceremonies as it is titled the queen of Thai silk.
To appreciate another pattern of Thai textile fabric, we recommend you read more blogs titled Thai silk fabric Mudmee unique heritage art civilization of Thailand which is the story of Mudmee fabric which is one of the famous Thai textiles as this Praewa fabric.