Cambodian weaving

Cambodia's rich weaving tradition suffered tremendously during the war years — the magnitude of loss of skilled artisans and knowledge was staggering. Silk weaving and sericulture is slowly being rebuilt, in part due to the efforts of non-governmental and aid organizations who view it as a way of reducing poverty and improving livelihoods, especially among women.

Weaving at the household and village level is done on large wooden frame looms, often under stilt houses. Intricate Cambodian ikats (hol) are world renowned. Ikat (derived from the Malay word mengikat, meaning to tie or to bind) is the method of creating patterns by dying hanks of thread tied with fiber resists. It can take up to several days to produce one meter of an intricate ikat pattern. Ikat patterns were traditionally passed from generation to generation by memory; prior to the war, more than 200 different patterns were known to be in existence, but it is unclear how many have survived.

map of Cambodia
ikat fabric Spinning thread Cambodian Weaving
Skeins of silk ikat thread Wooden spindle for spinning yarn Ikat weaving