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New!!! Antique and Shamanic Textiles
Over the last ten years we have collected some older textiles and we've decided to list them here. We're not in a rush to sell them, but if we're offered the right price we might. We're currently working on getting our English translation of Sinxay, one of the three masterpieces of Lao language published by May 2013, and we would use this money to invest in our Sinxay project.
We've spent a lot of time with shamans in Sam Tai over the last five years so we've had the opportunity to acquire some amazing pieces. If you're interested in a particular textile, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The prices we've listed are primarily there so the textile can be listed, but we think they are a good starting point.
Again, if you see a an item you would like to order you need to contact us first at email@example.com as we have disabled the ability to order textiles in this section.
We also want to give credit to Patricia Cheesman's book Lao - Tai Textiles: The Textiles of Xam Nuea and Muang Phuan which we have used in describing most of the textiles in this section. The following she wrote about shamanic textiles, which represent most of the textiles found in this section.
"Shamanism is not only concerned with the phenomena of death and the after world but is also a way of life and healing. The shamanic Lao-Tai groups see the world through the eyes of their ancestors. The shamans, who travel to the other worlds in trance and communicate with the ancestors, describe this unique vision to the living. The ancestors give advice on healing methods through the shaman as well as explain the reasons for natural disasters or sickness due to menacing strangers' spirits or ancestors that are angry or dissatisfied. The after world is believed to be as complex as the physical world, with muang hierarchies, overlords, cites and villages in different realms occupied by ancestors that require attention from this world. If the ancestors are hungry or feel abandoned they can cause sickness and unusual events in the physical world of their families. Strange dreams or events alert peopple to impending doom. On such occasions they consult the shaman who travels to the other worlds in trance to find the cause. The shaman then passes this information on to the family that might have to arrange further rituals to appease the ancestors, those which usually take the form of feeding and gift-giving to the ancestors through the shaman. The shaman is a healers, magician, ecstatic and guardian of the ancient knowledge of the ancestors."
The importance of the Shaman's vision and his journey into the afterworlds, is reflected in the textile seen highlighting this section. We purchased this textile from a funeral shaman who used it as an alter cloth and on the textile the shaman in the form of a "spirit figure" can be seen riding on a boat and on an elephant over water and land, representing the journey he must take in leading the deceased's spirit back to heaven, beginning from where he died, a journey that for the shaman, through his chanting, can take several days.
This textile is listed below as a Tai Daeng Shaman's Altar Cloth.