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Akha Weaving

Akha Weaving and Looms

Traditional Akha weaving is still common in China, Myanmar and Laos. The Akha weave a roll of cloth that they use ingeniously to make different Akha outfits from dresses called a "peeh deeh" to jackets, shirts, handbags and men's trousers.

Akha weaving and dying is still strong in Keng Tung, Myanmar, where the women of the village are very skillful in growing the two plants used for the "black" dying. Dye paste is mixed carefully, and a good piece of Akha cloth may be dipped as many as 30 or 40 times.

Dye comes from two plants, one of which is propegated by cuttings and the other by seeds.

All good Akha cloth starts out with the Akha spindle of course and a harvest of cotton. There is only one known village in Thailand that still grows cotton, down by Ban Song in the direction of Ngao and Phrae. As this village is near a proposed dam, they may be moved to a new location.

In Thailand there is little weaving, where traditional Akha village life has been substantially disturbed by government land grabbing policy, the "drugification" of villages and US missionaries.

An Lanten woman in Laos weaves traditional cloth similar to what the Akha use.

Copyright 1991 The Akha Heritage Foundation