Jim Thompson Life & Legend Thai House & Museum Visitor Information Bangkok's Leading Host Special Events
The Jim Thompson Art Center is delighted to announce a colorful new exhibition, Weaving Paradise: Southeast Asian Textiles and their Creators. Opening on 3 November 2007, the show by Curator Linda S. McIntosh will highlight woven creations from Tai (including Thai and Lao), Khmer, Cham, Burmese, and Malay cultures. All of the twenty-eight exquisite pieces in the exhibition sponsored by The James H.W. Thompson Foundation will be on loan from the Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection, one of Bangkok’s finest private collections of Southeast Asian textiles.

Weaving Paradise focuses on the common thread that links the diverse cultures of Southeast Asia, where women are the primary producers of cloth. The exhibition celebrates women’s creativity and their traditional social roles. Metaphorical references of women and weaving found in the exhibition illustrate ideal female characteristics and women’s dedication to the present and the future: making cloth as gifts and offerings and as conduits to reach a better world after death. Women weave affection, hope, time, space, ritual, and, lastly, paradise into cloth’s warp and weft, weaving the fabric of society.

Visually striking in their composition, design, materials, and color Southeast Asian textiles are highly regarded for their beauty. Traditional societies value weavers for their advanced technical skills and devotion required for textile production. Numerous literary forms refer to weaving skills to assess a “good” woman, especially a nurturing wife and mother, but they also describe women’s intentions to create cloth as symbols of love for their parents, husbands, children, and members of their community.

The exhibit begins with a selection of elaborately decorated skirts from different Tai groups. For the shamanic Tai, a joyous reunion with ancestors occurs at death in a Land of Golden Mangoes. Weavers decorate their clothing with images of lanterns, offerings, and trees of life that assist in the journey to the afterworld. Examples of Khmer artistry are found in the crimson red silks, composing pictorial hangings with Buddhist content, which exemplify laywomen’s devotion to Buddhism. Mothers also make elaborately designed fabrics, symbolizing their love and pride for their sons’ sacrifice when they give up the material world to become monks.

As well as belonging to the same language family, the Malay and Cham peoples, whose early maritime trade kingdoms upheld Hinduism before adopting Islam, share numerous characteristics. Their fabrics abound with metaphorical references to adat, a traditional code of conduct. The wavy patterns embody water but also the Naga serpent deity, an important creature in all Southeast Asian cultures. The Naga also symbolizes the rainbow, and both serve as ladders between earth and heaven. Water is a recurring theme in the undulating lines of Burmese tapestries that signify the Irawaddy River.

Works of Thai artist Wattana Wattanaphun and Thai poet Paiwarin Khao-ngam accompany the exhibit, highlighting women as the producers of cloth embedded with meaning. Performances by international artists, Anna Voronoff and Dr. Zulkifli Mohamad, will complement the exhibit. Dr. Mohamad will give a presentation on Malay textiles, and SEA WRITE and Fukuoka Art and Culture Laureate Douangdueane Bounyavong will lecture on textiles and Lao women.

LECTURE: “The Textiles of Malay cultures”
January 11, 2008 at 4:00 p.m.
At the William Warren Library (4th floor, Henry B. Thompson Building)
Admission is free.
Please click to view

January 12, 2008 at 2:00 p.m.
At the Exhibition Hall, the Jim Thompson Art Center
Admission is free.
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LECTURE: “Traditional Lao Culture and Hand-woven Textiles”
January 14, 2008 at 2.30 p.m.
At the William Warren Library (4th floor, Henry B. Thompson Building)
Admission is free.
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January 26, 2008 at 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
At the William Warren Library (4th floor, Henry B. Thompson Building)
Admission is free.
Please click to view

For further information please contact
Khun Penwadee, Exhibition Coordinator
Tel: 084-709-3440
E-mail: penwadee@jimthompsonhouse.com

Khun Somsuda, Education Program Coordinator
Tel: 081-409-7680
E-mail: somsuda@jimthompsonhouse.com

The Jim Thompson Art Center
(2nd floor, The Jim Thompson House compound)
Office Hours: 9 – 5 pm. Daily

The Jim Thompson Art Center office
(4th floor, Henry B. Thompson building, behind the Jim Thompson House’s parking area)
Tel: 02-612-6741
Tel/Fax: 02-219-2911
E-mail: artcenter@jimthompsonhouse.com
Office Hours: 11:00 a.m. - 8 p.m. daily

Address & Access:
6 Soi Kasemsan 2, Rama I Rd., Wangmai, Pathumwan, Bangkok 10330
(BTS: National Stadium Station)

Exhibition period: November 3, 2007 – February 24, 2008
Venue: The Jim Thompson Art Center
Opening ceremony: Friday, November 2, 2007 from 18:30 p.m. onwards
(Admission free of charge)

Curator: Linda McIntosh
Artists in the exhibition: Wattana Wattanapun, Paiwarin Khao-ngam
Textiles in the exhibition: Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection
Exhibition designer: Pachara Pitipanich

Linda McIntosh

Please click to view CV

Pachara Pitipanich
Exhibition Designer

Please click to view CV