Bangkok’s National Museum’s New Textile Gallery
Bangkok’s National Museum recently opened its new textile gallery as part of the Museum’s overall ongoing refurbishment. A small but exceptional range of textiles, many associated with the Courts are on display in a marvellous room. The lighting is subtle and the textiles are well displayed and protected. The room, at last, is befitting a national museum.
Thai textiles, particularly those of the court, show a lot of Indian and even Persian influence, and often are mistaken for Mughal textiles, particularly when they are woven with gold and richly decorated with sequins and couching.
Included are pha lai yang textiles – printed cotton fabrics that show thep phanom deity figures, worn as a lower garment by members of the royal family. There is a shawl known as a pha sphak that is of silk woven with gold thread and embellished with fluorescent beetle wings. This was worn around the shoulders by senior ladies of the court when attending important ceremonies. And there is a jacket heavy with couched gold thread that was presented by the King as a courtly gift.
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