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Art & Design

Unknown artist, Bhutanese; Drukpa, Woman’s wrapped dress, 1950-1990, Elizabeth T. and Dorothy N. Casey Fund

Bhutanese; Drukpa

Woman’s wrapped dress

Unknown artist, Bhutanese; Drukpa, Bhutan
Woman’s wrapped dress
Cotton and silk plain weave with supplementary weft patterning
Length: 238.8 cm (94 inches) (overall)
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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