Cambodia is famous for its hand-loomed silk and we celebrate that at Kravan House. Cambodia has a long impressive history of both silk production and high skilled weaving. Silk clothing was an important part of life and ceremonies. Many people still have looms in the area underneath their raised wooden houses and work from there.
Around a decade ago weavers were introduced to weaving ikat with cotton. Cotton thread is more affordable to buy and cotton products are also more widely bought. At Kravan House
Ikat is a technique where bundles of thread are bound tightly together in a complicated resist-dye technique. These bundles may be tied and dyed at multiple intervals and in various colours, they finally weave the threads at the end of this process, matching each strand to the complex design dyed into each thread. Khmer Ikat is a weft Ikat woven using a multi-shaft loom. It has an uneven twill weave meaning the weft threads are more visible on the front side of the fabric. The most complex Khmer Ikat is that of the Pidan.
The Pidan is a fabric traditionally woven as a wall hanging for religious ceremonies. The most refined of which show no repetition at all and are a true testament to the skill of a Khmer weaver. They show various motifs, typically with Buddhist connotations such as temples, asparas, buddas, elephants, lions and nagas.Ikat silks are worn by men and women, the men wearing the Sampot Hol Kaban and the women the Sampot Hol, Sampot meaning wrapping skirt and Hol meaning Ikat. It has been said that the Sampot hols can have more than 200 motifs all memorised from the hand. Source: Institute of Khmer Traditional Textiles.
We are delighted to stock ‘Golden Silk’ textiles created from the fibres of the native Cambodian silk worm. The native silk breed thrived in Cambodia before the importation of the cheaper, white silk, used widely across the world. Golden Silk is known for its strength and lustrous fibre, however, traditional sericulture had almost died out as a consequence of the periods of disruption caused by war and the Khmer Rouge time.
Cambodia imported the white variety of silk from China and Japan, due to the worm’s higher productivity. The cycle of a golden silkworm lasts for 45 days, so silk can be produced throughout the year, compared to the white variety that only produces silk twice a year. However there is a big difference between the amount of silk they produce, golden silkworms produce enough for 300 meters from one cocoon, whereas the white variety produces 1400 meters. Source: Institute of Khmer Traditional Textiles
Jacquard weaves are available in silk and cotton. These are intricately patterned and very subtle.
Ask our staff
There is so much more we could tell you about traditional textile crafts from Cambodia. Staff can explain the different weights and provenance of the silk fabrics we stock. We source textiles from artisans working in a number of different provinces using imported and locally grown white silk and golden silk.