Calendar Pages -- Siam Society Textile Talk - Transformation of Shan Official Costume Textile with Mr. Thweep Rittinaphakorn

October 09th, 2014

Siam Society Textile Talk - Transformation of Shan Official Costume Textile with Mr. Thweep Rittinaphakorn

In Search of Identity: The Transformation of Shan Official Costume from the Late 19th – Mid-20th Centuries.
A Talk by Thweep Rittinaphakorn


Date: Thursday, 9 October 2014
Time: 7.30 p.m.
The Siam Society, 131 Asoke Montri Rd, Sukhumvit 21
Non-members donation: B200. Siam Society members, members’ spouses and children, and all students showing valid student ID cards are admitted free of charge.
For more information, please contact Khun Arunsri or email:
Office Hours: Tuesday – Saturday 9:00am. – 5:00pm.

Shan State lies at a strategic point connecting mainland Southeast Asia and East Asia. There, different “muang Tai” (feudal autonomous towns) were historically ruled by their own princes or chieftains. Shan political autonomy remained intact until formal annexation by Burma in late ‘50s. However, since then, Shan identities have been continuously dismantled under military rule. Their loss of independence and political oppression gave rise to different Shan insurgent groups aiming to re-establish independence. The development of Shan aristocratic figures’ dress style during this period clearly reflects the changes in political power in the area, when foreign (i.e., non-Shan) influences upon the official style of dress became particularly visible. The 1960s saw a revival of Shan culture and identity that included the new “Tai national dress,” which aimed to differentiate Shans from the Burmese people.
The talk will examine historical changes in the style of elite Shan dress. It will examine the significance of Shan dress from the era of tributary towns to the era of independence under the British protectorate up to the present era, especially in light of the political struggle for independence from the Myanmar military regime. Utilizing archival photographic collections, it will compare Shan elites’ historical dress style with those of the contemporary Shan, in context with major political and cultural events. Lastly, descriptions of the dress style of different Tai-language-speaking sub-groups in the Shan state will further deepen our understanding and bring the entire picture to life.
This talk was given earlier this year (in April 2014) as part of the discussion panel “Refashioning Identities: The Politics of Dress in Early Modern Southeast Asia” at the annual conference of Association of Asian Studies in Philadelphia, USA.

Mr. Thweep Rittinaphakorn (AKE) is an independent scholar whose work focuses mainly on textiles and arts history. He is currently working as a volunteer for the Siam Society and has recently been appointed as a textiles curator of the Siam Society textiles collection. AKE is an avid antique textiles enthusiast and collector with over a decade experience. He was recently invited to give a talk on the Burmese tapestry woven textiles “Luntaya Acheiq” as part of the exhibition in Chiang Mai.

Please Note:  This is a courtesy announcement and is not a  TTS  event.