Rug and Textile Appreciation Morning: Textiles in Burman Culture

Couple in Burman dress


Researcher Sylvia Fraser-Lu discusses her new book on the evolution of Burmese textiles, including examples of the country's most iconic pieces, as well as lesser known textiles from the remote areas of the Burman heartland.

About the Book

Sylvia Fraser-Lu's new book, Textiles in Burman Culture, gives an overview of the history and evolution of textiles made and used by the Burman (Bama) people. This ethnic majority group comprises approximately 70 percent of the present-day population of Burma (Myanmar). The book describes and illustrates textiles made for royalty, religious leaders, and commoners—with information on fibers, dyes, and weaving techniques. Fraser-Lu also explores the importance of cloth in the life cycle, literature, and in trade relations with neighboring states.

Colorful photographs feature some of Burma's most iconic textiles: wave-patterned tapestry-weave lun-taya acheik, embroidered wall hangings (kalaga), and intricately patterned Buddhist manuscript binding ribbons (sa-zi-gyo) made on a card loom. In addition to visiting the major textile centers, Fraser-Lu also ventured into the more remote areas of the Burman heartland to find new information on important lesser known textiles from Rakhine, Yaw, Shwebo, Pyay, and Shan State that have been made for sale in the Burman market.

About Sylvia Fraser-Lu

Sylvia Fraser-Lu spent many years as an educator in East and Southeast Asia. Her interest in Asian arts and crafts led to a writing career beginning with articles and reviews for Arts of Asia and Oriental Art. She has authored books including Handwoven Textiles of South-East Asia (1988), Burmese Crafts: Past and Present (1993), and Splendour in Wood: The Buddhist Monasteries of Burma, (2001). Fraser-Lu also co-curated an exhibition and catalogue on the Buddhist Art of Myanmar in 2015 for the Asia Society in New York. 

How to Participate

You can register for this program online. After you register, we will email you a link and instructions for joining our program online via Zoom. Simply follow that link at the time the event starts (11 a.m. EST). When you register, you can also ask to receive a reminder email one day before the program with the link included.  

About Rug and Textile Appreciation Mornings

Collectors and experts discuss textile topics and display examples from their personal holdings. You are invited to submit related pieces to share during the program. This series is named in honor of late Textile Museum trustee emeritus, Harold M. Keshishian. Browse upcoming programs