found this and thought it was worth sharing. very interesting stuff about khmer textile.
Different Kinds of Cambodian Textile and its Producing Districts
by Mr. In Siyonda, Department of Plastic Arts and Handicraft, Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts, Director
The Contradictions of Khmer Textile Art and Products in Different Areas
Khmer textiles is a form of Khmer art and part of Khmer consciousness for one thousand years. It is an important part of Cambodian cultural identity. During the civil war and Khmer Rouge regime, our culture and also both of cultural sense and identity were destroyed. We lost a lot of artists and tools of national culture. In order to prevent further loss, it is important to revitalize our cultural traditions and pass it down to the next generations.
In 1993, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts made efforts to inspire Khmer artists to use their skills to restore the destroyed art form of silk weaving. Khmer artists showed traditional silk fabrics at a national exhibition in 2000. The last five years of Khmer silk weaving progress has been on the upgrade both in quantity an quality of production. Nowadays, Khmer silk weaving is revitalized in many places such as Kandal province Srok Phonialeu (Koh Dach, Prek Thaong, Kampong Leung, etc) where known as abounding Phamuong (‘Phamuong Leat’ , ‘Phamuong Bontok’ ,‘Phamoung Chorchung’ ), ‘Chou Robab’, ‘Sarong Sot’ and ‘Kroma Sot’, ‘Hol ‘ produces in Takeo province (Srok Bati, Srok Prei Kabas, etc), both modern and ancient Ikat methods are required according to people’s predilections. A different style of Sampot Hol from other provonces is produced in Kampong Cham province (It is famous for its motifs and colors). Artistic weaving of Hol, Sarong and silk Kroma is famous in Prek Chong Kran district.
In Banteay Meanchey province in western Cambodia, people follow weaving techniques of their forefathers. Here they produce Phamung leat, Labuk and Kroma. This region is very suitable for sericulture of high quality silk yarn. They also sell silk yarn to other local regions in Cambodia. The weavers along the Lake can produce their own raw materials and don’t need to import raw silk from other countries. Silk weaving of Kampong Speu province is perfected one step at a time. People are wanted to buy Labouk in this district, which is an original style of silk weaving derived from ancient times.
For nearly three years, silk weaving efforts have been supported by national and/or international organizations in Siem Reap province. Siem Reap is the main place where they want to secure and spread all kind of Cambodian arts, especially with the rise of tourism and increasing tourists.
Cambodia silk fabrics have survived more than a thousand years of history. The high quality motis and designs are still the same. Now, they use fabrics for different purposes and they refer to age, a festival celebration, or rank in society. The King and queen mostly use fabrics made from gold and silver metal threads. At present, the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts make efforts to preserve this traditional art form and show the meaning and use of Khmer textiles such as Sampot Labauk, Paeleap, Onlunh, Sarong Sot, Choro Bab, Hol and Phamung.
Explanation of terms
Labauk: This fabric is made of gold/metal yarn. It has a small flower and a bird figure on the foreground. The fabric is mainly woven in Phnom Srok and Kampong Speu.
Prae Leap: This fabric has a white color but sometimes they dye a black color by the Makleu tree. The fabric has a flower design and it is mainly worn by rural women.
Onlunh: This fabric has many stripes and colors but no motif. Old women mostly wear white or black fabrics with a traditional shirt (Aov Bompong Vaeng) during weddings, festivals or funerals. It is mainly worn by rich women who are already married.
Sarong Sot: This sarong has many colours such as red, yellow, black, blue and white. Now they call them Sarong Por and Sarong Sor. Mostly rich women but sometimes also men wear it in their daily life. One can also find Sarong Sot at traditional dances such as Robam Kon Saeng Sae (love handkerchief dance or better known as the ‘Cham dance’), Robam Kangok Pailen (Peacok dance in Pailen), Robam Poe Tav dance (a woodcutters ritual) and a Miss World competition.
-Sa Robarb, Chor Robarb: This fabric is woven with metal, gold or silver threads. The king and queen wear it at festivals or celebrations. One can also find it in the Preah Reach Trop dance, Apsara, Mony and Makala dance. Sometimes it is also worn at weddings.
-Sung: This fabric has a silver color motif on the edge. One can see this fabric at the Robam Ka Ngkok Pailen (the peacock dance in Pailen) and Robam Ken (Ken dance) along the Prek Lung channel.
- Hol: This Ikat has many kinds of designs. It is a difficult technique and it takes a lot of time to produce a Hol. One can divide Hol in three ways;
Hol for man: This Ikat is decorated by large pictures and designs such as Naga, Kom Pich, Angkor, Sovan Mayura, Reach Sei and Horng.
Hol for women: This fabric is decorated by small motifs such as ‘Pha Krochab’, ‘Phka Phtom’ and ‘Hol Pha Chung’. Some hol is worn both by men and women such as ‘hol Phka Mates’ and ‘Phka Takol’.
Hol is used for religious ceremonies and a decoration for ceilings in Buddhist temples. One can find designs such as a bird, a temple, a buddha, a boat. A Hol can also cover the Kom Pie (buddhist books in ancient times) such as ‘Hol Phka Takol’, ‘Phka Rung’ and ‘Phkay Pruk’.
Phamung: In contemporary Cambodia people use Phamung instead of Hol at weddings or other ceremonies. Phamung comes from Siam language (Pha=Kronat, Mung=violet color). Khmer weaving however, is not a copy from Siam, because Cambodia already had a weaving culture before the Klung civilization. At this time, we still do not know what the word Phamung meant in that time. Phamung contains more than thirty colors such as red, blue, green, dark red, etc. These colors refer to certain days in the week: Sunday is red, Monday is dark yellow, Tuesday is violet, Wednesday is green, Thursday is light green, Friday is blue and Saturday is dark red.
Note: This article was translated from Khmer language into English. Please excuse any change of meaning or misrepresentation that may have occurred in what the author originally wanted to explain.