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Nok Hong Kham Heritage Silk Scarves and Sinhs
In this photo you can see a potpourri of our Nok Hong Kham Heritage Silk Scarves and Sinhs. As we explain in our welcoming message on our home page we are excited to be introducing our own brand, Nok Hong Kham, with the introduction of these silk scarves and sinhs. Nok Hong Kham means Golden Hong in Lao, with the Hong being an important motif featured in Lao textiles. Hong comes from the Sanskrit "hamsa," and hamsa in classical Sanskrit literature is a go between, mediating between human and human, and thereby making connections that wouldn't ordinarily be able to be made and our lives here at Laos Essential Artistry as educators and artists are all about making connections.
We worked with a Tai Daeng weaver in designing these scarves and sinhs and decided on a simple Lao geometric motif that we feel provides an appealing contrast to the soft-hued colors of the natural-dyed silk without being overpowering. In the main pattern you will see a geometric “figure” between what looks like two X’s. That geometric figure is called a “dok khom” which is a stylized flower. Dok is the prefix used in describing all flowers in Laos, but this particular flower, dok khom, only comes to life through the weaver’s imagination. The dok khom in the scarves are especially beautiful as the weaver incorporates three different complementary colors that bestow a subtle multi-dimensional effect.
The two X’s should really be looked at as two opposing V’s and are called “Dok Khuam gab Dok Gnai.” What they represent are two flowers, one flower facing up back-to-back to a flower facing down. Again, these are not supposed to represent real flowers, but a stylized flower motif utilized by Lao weavers.
In the ikat bands framing the main pattern the design is called dok dao (star flower) which utilizes a patterning technique call sam lam, where three knots are tied in a three step pattern. When looking at the ikat on the sins and scarves, and especially the sinhs, we “see” birds flying, rather than stars. But, just like reading a good novel, there are many interpretations and a good weaver will “purposely conceal the motifs used through the use of closely related colors or contain one motif within others in the belief that hiding figures gives them greater [protective] power.” From “Patterns and Motifs” in the catalog Weaving Tradition: Carol Cassidy and Woven Silks of Laos.
And bordering the ikat band and main patterning are a row of vertical lines connected to what looks like small x’s and diamond shapes. This pattern is called soi sa and represents coconut fronds.
We are very excited to be offering this new Nok Hong Kham Heritage design in these silk scarves and sins and look forward to introducing more new designs in the future.