Friends of mine who like to wear sarongs and shared their love for sarongs with me took me recently to a place where they make and sell sarongs since a long long time.
I initially intended to find a nice sarong for myself, and maybe sell with a few of our traditional handcrafted item products.
But, way beyond my expectations, to my surprise I found so many beautiful sarongs that I couldn't even make a choice anymore!
As pleasant was the chance I had to talk with Mother Chansom and have a look around her small weaving mill in the basement of her house.
She also told me her life story and she explained to me how many types of sarongs there are.
Sarongs such as Sinka, Sinmarn and a lot more! I would have never imagined this big a variety in sarongs ever before.
Mother Chansom described how to check which part is top or bottom of the sarong and how to check the texture of them, like Jok Yok Lue, Nam lai (means water flow), Karn and many more.
All this terminology overflowed my mind not to about even thinking of weaving it myself.
I will tell a bit more about this later on.
After this interesting but for me a bit confusing, or overwhelming conversation, I started to dig and delve myself in all showcases she has, ( and yes it really literally was digging and delving (giggle)), I found several more treasures hiden in many corners besides the sarongs!
She also has a collection of handmade beautiful shawls, amazingly crafted table covers and runners, and to me the most stunning item was the hand woven Tung!
I had never before seen a Tung woven with all this detail in neatly work both the front and back side.
When I mentioned this to Mother Chansom, she immediately replied explaining the Tung Chai is mostly used in the leading of sacred ceremonial parades.
Tung have been woven in the textures of Nam Ton (water container or ewer); Ton Dok; Hongses; and elephants.
Nam Ton is one of high ranking nobel emblems from our former time, containing secret water for those holy ceremonies.
Ton Dok is the flowers added on wooden sticks for the participants to hold in the parades.
Hongse, the holy bird with huge wings who announce the merits we made in heaven above.
And last but certainly not least the Elephants, the auspicious animal of the city from ancient history.
I was totally impressed by all the details and hidden secrets subtly woven into these fabrics!
These craftmen have to arrange each yarn of cotton one by one, adding different colors below and then pull it back in fine matching order with extremely studious skills to accomplish this wonderful piece of art!
After doing even some more research, I also was as pleased as amazed by the detail:
9 rows of Tung texture divided into 9 bamboo sticks representing the 9 states of enlightenment.
Wow! What an amazing combination!!
Thus, Tung Chai has been used as victory over Mara; the great obstacle in Buddhism.
What a profound!
The dhamma has been interpolated in their handcraft. Many people said that Tung is an expression of belief!