Major art book published on indigenous ‘Tai Silk’ fabrics

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2030
Silk is one of Thailand’s best-known products, especially in Northeast Thailand, however, the enchanting Thai silk story is not actually “Thai” but rather “Tai,” with a slightly silent “H” sound while the so-called “Tai” refer to indigenous people who migrated from China.

An art book showcasing silk fabrics and products created by indigenous people known as the “TAI” has been published through the collaboration of a Belgian photographer and a Thai textile collector.

Silk is one of Thailand’s best-known products, especially in Northeast Thailand. However, the enchanting Thai silk story is not actually “Thai” but rather “Tai,” with a slightly silent “H” sound. The so-called “Tai” refer to indigenous people who migrated from China.



For many centuries, they scattered across Southeast Asia and established Tai settlements that coexisted with others. Along their journey, from generation to generation, the exquisite weaving culture of the yellow-silk was cultivated.

Without the efforts of Hans Roels and Napajaree “Nim” Suanduenchai, the traditional weaving arts and textiles of the Tai people may have eventually disappeared over time. The duo spent more than 25 years capturing and portraying the story of Tai silk and the Tai people who still preserve their weaving arts.



Hans is a passionate photographer from Brussels and Nim is a Tai textile collector from Bangkok. Together, they share love and passion for Tai artistic textile designs.

The two embarked on a journey to photograph and document small groups weaving distinctive textiles, along with their fascinating cultures. This journey began in Thailand and continued into Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, South China and Assam in India. Each Tai community has its own unique patterns, colors and weaving techniques that are intertwined with their history, identities and way of life, making these magnificent works of art even more meaningful.


As a result of Hans and Nim’s lifelong work, an art book entitled “Tai, A Woven Culture” was published as a pictorial chronology with 348 pages and over 230 color photos. It was printed in Sweden and later launched at the Blue Elephant restaurant in Bangkok on April 7th, becoming the second launch after an earlier one in Brussels in March 2023. (NNT)