On a hot and humid day in June1997, over twenty Monsoon Seasons ago, Napajaree Suanduenchai and Hans Roels began their maiden journey to explore “TAI” culture and its way of life.
From that day onwards, they would travelextensively each Monsoon Season to meet and photograph the twenty-three “TAI” subgroups spread out across Southeast Asia. Their travels took them the length and breadth of the region and as far as Assam (Eastern India).
They recorded, photographed and documented all the essentials of the TAI’s artistic and magical textile designs. They captured the details of TAI people both in art and craft and their way of life. In doing so, they discovered that the TAI are a living palette of colour, vibrant and full of life – just as unique as their textile designs. As each Monsoon Season got underway they realised that the TAI groups had undergone many changes – some had moved location, some had migrated to the cities leaving their identities behind and some no longer existed; they had disappeared along with their exquisite designs and craft. Vanished. Possibly forever. Napajaree and Hans are the last witnesses of this diverse palette of TAI silk culture…their mission, to share their observations and love for this unique tradition with the readers of this book.
TAI, a Woven Culture is the culmination of 25 years of passion, patience and an enduring love for TAI silk culture. A true labour of love dedicated to its remaining practitioners and the many generations who came before them.
They are all bound together by silk, the shimmering thread that connects the centuries gone by with the present, its longevity and beauty providing hope for its continued survival.
• a span through a 25-year research
• lively, breathtaking photographs
• delves into Tai ways of living through their textile world