Weaving through the rice fields

Image 9 of 24
< Prev Next >
Naw Mu Dah, an ethnic Karen woman from Burma, who is currently living in Mae La Refugee camp in Thailand, with her grandfather's hand dyed pink tunic and mother's red sarong. She says: "I don't know my grandmother's name, but she made this tunic for her husband, my grandfather, Pu Day, in our village Ploh Kay Koh, Hlaingbwe Township, Pa-an District, Karen State, Burma. It is hand dyed, hand spun and hand woven and he wore it for the annual wrist-tying ceremony in August and divination ceremonies throughout the year - where he interpreted chicken bones, made predictions and tried to solve the villagers' problems." During the wrist-tying ceremony, villagers would bring out their best clothes and we unmarried girls wore long white tunics right down to our ankles. If any of us had grown out of our tunics and mistakenly revealed our ankles, the elders accused us of being loose. I was always worried about the length of my tunic in those days. My mother was born in 1930 and she made this sarong in the 1940s when she was a teenager. She remembers the time well, because it was during the Second-World-War, and when she was tending rice in the fields, war planes flew regularly overhead."