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Hol II

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Hol II


The pattern to the right of this photograph is known generally today as hol, but it is also called hol saraei (โฮลแสร็ย), and the pattern to the left is named hol phroh (โฮลปร็อฮ). Hol proh is a mat mee pattern with wide borders that was historically woven by Khmer weavers to send to the Siamese court, and, as the name literally means “men’s hol,” sumptuary laws dictated that pieces of silk with this pattern could only be worn by male nobles within the court. When these laws eventually relaxed, men in Surin began wearing the pattern, and soon, women wanted to wear it too, but they did not dare to face the social reprecussions of donning a men’s pattern. Surin locals claim that weavers devised a clever trick to allow women to wear a similar pattern; they took elements of the hol proh pattern and arranged them among long vertical stripes, thereby hiding the pattern within a new pattern, which came to be known as hol saraei, or “women’s hol.”