| home | site map | bibliographies | country | forum | links | studies | what's new | photogalleries | about us |


powered by FreeFind

Thailand: textile collections

This information is very much a moving target with content quickly becoming out of date. Please directly contact any of the collections mentioned below before attempting to visit. Exhibits on display may be undergoing change resulting in temporary closure. Switch of buildings, closure of access or even dispersal of collections may also occur.

In January 2015 I visited Chiang Mai for the 5th ASEAN Traditional Textile Symposium and was able to obtain an up-date on some of the textile resources there which I am incorporating herein. It has also prompted me to review, amend and delete the previous information compiled over a decade earlier.

During 2003 several items of interesting information on textile collections in Thailand were posted on the www.tribaltextiles.info/community forum. In October 2003 I was able to squeeze in a long weekend in Chiang Mai during a business trip to Japan and Thailand. Thanks to forum member Susan Stem, who is based in Chiang Mai, I was able to cram into three days a feast of textiles which included exhibits from two fine collections as well as other textiles in the Chiang Mai area.  Before leaving Bangkok for home I managed to check out another textile collection highlighted on the forum and subsequently an excellent and very well researched book has been published on this collection.

I was agreeably surprised by the wealth of fine quality textiles which is accessible, generally attractively displayed and accompanied by useful information. These are resources to delight and inform enthusiasts and collectors of traditional textiles. The main focus of the collections is on Thai textiles although not limited to the current geography of Thailand. The exhibits on display included textiles from Thailand, Laos, Burma (Myanmar), Cambodia, southern China, Vietnam as well as some from a broader southeast Asia. Generally the focus is on, but not limited to, Tai groups.

Set out below is some information and general comments on the exhibits which I hope will prove helpful to fellow textile enthusiasts. I have also included below some other textile opportunities and these should read in conjuction with my Thailand - Textile Collections Diary 2003 and Thailand Shops.

I would welcome feed-back if you have the chance to visit any of the textile resources detailed below or if you have information on additional accessible collections in Thailand (or other countries). Please post to Museums, Exhibitions, Events, Galleries and Websites on the www.tribaltextiles.info/community forum or contact me directly.

I would like to thank the owners of these textile collections who, as well as preserving and protecting them, are making them available to a wider audience. This is not only a joy to enthusiasts but it can only help develop a wider appreciation of the fine technical skills and creativity of those who made the textiles.

Check out the website of the Thai Textile Society for details of current textile related events happening in Thailand.

Chiang Mai
 Bank of Thailand Museum

Bank of Thailand Museum, Northern Regional Office, 68/3 Chotana Road, Muang District, Chiang Mai Province. Tel: (0)53 931 182-3, Fax: (0)53 224 168, email Open Monday to Friday except Bank Holidays 09.00 - 12.00 a.m. and 13:00 -  16:00 p.m.

The exhibition starts with an exhibit of history of coinage in a couple of rooms and then leads on to permanent exhibition from the very fine Museum collection. In addition the Museum has a room in which it is able to stage special exhibtions.

It is essential to contact the Museum in advance as it may be closed between exhibits or setting up a new one.

Hilltribe Museum

The Hilltribe Museum has moved since I visited it so any comments I had then are now out-of-date. 'One Stop Chiang Mai' says of it: Established in 1965 and recently moved to new premises in the pretty Ratchamankla Park, this museum documents the lives and cultures of Northern Thailand's unique hill-tribes, including the Hmong, Karen, Akkha, Lisu, Lahu and Mien. An impressive range of colourful costumes, unusual accessories and jewelry, tools, utensils, musical instruments and general rural paraphernalia is on display and the story of each of these ethnic minorities is well told. Unique and certainly worth visiting." This was not my impression of the collection in its old quarters so I hope that the move has prompted some care to be lavished on the exhibits and care taken in their display.

The Hilltribe Museum has been closed but may now be open again - from posts on Tripadvisor it was open in June and October 2014.

Entrance: free; open 9am - 4pm Mon -Fri; slide show 10am, 2pm daily; tel (053) 210 872; Ratchamankla park, Mae Rim rd/Chan Phuak rd.

Darapirom Palace Museum

Darapirom Palace Museum, located in the Dara Rasamee Military Camp, Mae Rim Rd. Open Tues-Sun, 09:00 a.m. - 17:00 p.m. Tel. (0)53 299 175. 

The renovated former home of Phra Raja Jaya Chao Dara Rasimi (Dararasmi), a daughter of the last King of the northern monarchy of Chiang Mai and consort of King Chulalongkorn (Rama V). The palace had been restored in the late 1990s/early 2000. It was a very pleasant and peaceful place set on land owned by the army. Chulalongkorn University cooperated with members of the Royal Lanna family to collect various things that Jao Dara Rasamee used in her life. Working together, they were able to recover some 270 pieces of furniture, decorative items, and personal effects - including textiles - of the princess which had previously adorned the original palace. These items are now on display showing the typical palace decor at the time of her life.

 Sbun Nga

Sadly the previous Sbun Nga Textile Museum is closed. However, in January 2015 there was an excellent Sbun Nga exhibition of 'Textiles of Mae Chaem' in the Promenada Mall, Building B, upstairs opposite the MIX restaurant. Open 10:00-22:00 (Mall hours).

The dedicated collector behind the Sbun Nga collection (Khun Pom - Mr Akadet Nakkabunlung) clearly loves to show and share his collection. He said in Jan 2015 that he hoped to open a museum again. It would be excellent if this can happen! He has a fantastic collection of regional Thai textiles of the northern part of Thailand, Laos, Vietnam, Burma and China focusing on ethnic Thai textiles and a wide range of textiles for royal use. The collection also includes some quite ordinary textiles, many items of living and several photos - from royal to ordinary - to set the textiles in context.


Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection

Tilleke & Gibbins is a leading Southeast Asian regional law firm with over 120 lawyers and consultants practicing in Bangkok, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Jakarta, Vientiane, and Yangon

Tilleke & Gibbins’ Textile Collection consists of museum-quality textiles representing the diverse cultures of mainland Southeast Asia. With over 2,000 textiles, the mission of the Textile Collection is to collect, display, and preserve the textiles, in proximity to the geographical area in which they were created. See the collection's website for further information. If you want to visit the collection do contact the curator Ms Wipawee Tiyawes in advance to make sure that she is available to show it to you and to indicate any particular areas of interest from the items in storage. T: +66 2653 5577 Email.

In 2013 the excellent book Art of Southeast Asian Textiles: The Tilleke & Gibbins Collection was published. Written by Dr. Linda S. McIntosh and published by Serindia Publications, this beautifully illustrated book highlights the museum-quality textiles that compose the Tilleke & Gibbins Textile Collection. See forum thread about the publication.

| home | site map | bibliographies | country | forum | links | studies | what's new | photogalleries | about us |

Copyright © 2012 Pamela A Cross. The contents of this site, including all images and text, are for personal, educational, non-commercial use only and may not be reproduced in any form without the express permission of Pamela A Cross.
If you have any comments on the tribaltextiles.info website please send them to us. If you have any general tribal textile comments or questions go to the tribaltextiles.info/community forum to share your thoughts and questions with an international community of enthusiasts.
this page last updated 20 February, 2015