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Royal Heritage

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Royal Heritage


The pieces of cloth created by Ajaan Wiratham Trakulngoenthai’s weaving workshop in Baan Tha Sawang Village display ancient royal patterns, many of which were formerly only printed or painted onto silk due to intricacies that could not be captured by looms. Produced and circulated in small quantities due to sumptuary laws restricting their use outside of the court, these patterns were rarely seen by those who did not have access to the royal textile collection or related textile research. Wiratham developed his loom of 1,000 shafts (see the photo and information in the “Looms” section) to preserve and transmit these patterns that he fears will soon disappear. The high prices of Wiratham’s textiles, however, serve to restrict their accessibility to a very small segment of the population, raising questions about whether or not ancient sumptuary laws and their resulting hierarchies are in fact being reinforced and reconfigured in new ways.