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Art & Design

Bhutanese; Drukpa

Woman’s wrapped dress

Unknown artist, Bhutanese; Drukpa, Bhutan
Woman’s wrapped dress, 1950-1990
Cotton and silk plain weave with supplementary weft patterning
238.8 cm (94 inches) (length) overall length
Elizabeth T. and Dorothy N. Casey Fund 2001.1.1

  • The handwoven textiles produced in Bhutan are among the most beautiful and technically sophisticated of South Asia. Women working at home on body-tensioned looms weave textiles of silk, cotton, or wool, often intricately patterned with supplementary warp or weft yarns. These textiles are made into the traditional dress of the Drukpa, a major Bhutanese ethnic group. The woman’s wrapped dress (kira) and the man’s robe (go) are, by law, national dress for all. Kira with a dark-blue ground such as the RISD example are called ngosham. Two loom-weaving techniques produced the colorful supplementary weft patterning: sapma, interlacing that looks like satin-stitch embroidery, and thrima, a wrapping method that resembles chain-stitch embroidery. Each yarn color is carried on individual bobbins that are interworked with the ground warp row by row.

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