“Chibori or Nham Kanun” (Jackfruit thorn-like fabrics) is a tie-dyed textile originating from Japan and India. It features a pattern resembling the thorns of a jackfruit and was traditionally worn as a sash around the waist by lords or nobles. To create this fabric, a piece of thin satin, silk, or similar material is tied with string and a pointed object, and in some instances, it is heated to create raised buttons. Besides the tying technique, the fabric is also dyed with various colors, resulting in a thorn-like appearance reminiscent of jackfruit thorns, hence the name. Some patterns are crafted using the “Shibori technique,” which involves sewing and folding the dyed fabric. This delicate and intricate work often incorporates embroidery as well.
In addition to the simplicity of jackfruit thorn or grid patterns, the weavers demonstrate their skill by crafting more intricate designs. These include patterns featuring leaves, flowers, waves, fish scales, diamonds, and various other patterns that showcase the weaver’s artistry and expertise.
Jackfruit thorn-like fabrics imported from Japan are known for their intricate detailing, whereas those from India feature larger patterns. These fabrics were imported from abroad and were subject to a trade monopoly by the “Royal Court of Siam.” They were primarily intended for distribution among courtiers and were available for purchase by affluent individuals. Besides their use as sashes, these fabrics served versatile purposes, including as blankets and covers.
In the Royal Court of Siam, the style of the waist sash was typically worn over the “Jong Kraben,” one of the traditional Siamese clothing styles, on the outside of the shirt. This was often done, possibly with the addition of a belt buckle for aesthetic purposes.
In ancient times, Jackfruit thorn-like fabrics served as waistbands for kings, the Royal Court, nobles, and novice monks. This practice was prevalent from the late Ayutthaya period through the early Rattanakosin period. However, the introduction of Western-style clothing during the reigns of King Rama IV and V led to the decline and eventual disappearance of this tradition. Jackfruit thorn-like fabrics were also presented as royal gifts by the King to nobles and city governors. Today, these fabrics are rare and highly valued, commanding a high price in the market.
An author assistant Nonthawat Ningjaiyen
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