Thursday, August 27, 2009

Clothing Ornamentation of LAHU

If at New Year time one could visit in wequence lahu Nyi, Lahu Sheh Leh, Lahu Na, and Lahu Shi villages, one would experience the full impact of the diversity of these groups, and yet recognize a common Lahuness. Some Lahu have discarded the use of traditional clothing except at festival times. Lahu Nyi and Sheh Leh, however, still generally wear their own style of clothing, as do the lahu Shi recently arrived from Laos. Lahu Shi Christians had completely abandoned the use of traditional dress until the coming of their kinsmen from Laos. Now some are beginning to wear Lahu Shi clothing for special occasions. Most Lahu Na in Thailand dress like their lowland neighbors for daily wear, but on festive occasions many of them wear traditional clothing.
Formerly Lahu wove their own cloth on foot-treadle looms. Most of them have lost that art, but a few lahu Na women still weave cloth. The women of all Lahu sub-tribes use the back-strap loom to weave shoulder bags, or at least straps for their bags.

All the groups embroider, but have distinct techniques. Lahu Na and Lahu Shi do patch-work applique, and all groups use bands of cloth for decorative purposes - the Sheh Leh being masters of that art.

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